Cuban born with French, Spanish, African and Chinese heritage, CuCu Diamantes came to New York with music in mind. After finishing ‘fine arts’ studies in Havana and Rome, CuCu felt the pull of the Manhattan’s unique rhythm and has been a devotee and contributor ever since.
Shortly after landing on her new “Island”, CuCu teamed with producer and musician Andres Levin. Instant chemistry ensued and the two artists began a writing / creative collaboration which led to the development and inception of the band “Yerba Buena”.
With Yerba Buena, Diamantes was instrumental in the creation of a unique and critically hailed new sound fusing African Rhythm, the Latin/tropical sound of the Caribbean and the urban grit of New York. Boasting a previously unimagined blend of Afro-Cuban funk, hip-hop, salsa, nuyorican boogaloo and so much more, Interview Magazine called Yerba Buena “the future sound of Afro-Latin Urban America”, while VIBE declared “Yerba Buena is one of the most exciting bands to hit the Latin music scene in years” and the New York Times hailed the group as “a musicologist's dream… a joyful, ever-evolving, border-hopping groove.” With Diamantes functioning as one of the group’s primary vocalists and songwriters, Yerba Buena went on to garner a GRAMMY nomination and perform by request alongside artists ranging from The Dave Matthews to Juanes, and Ray Charles to Celia Cruz (in her last ever-New York concert).
Now, with the release of the caberet inspired CUCULAND, Diamantes display the full-range of her unique and intoxicating multi-cultural mix of old-school Cuban glamour and rhythm fused with a distinct element of New York downtown style. The songs of CUCULAND find Diamantes merging the beloved sound of Yerba Buena with much more lyrically personal tracks tackling the challenges and triumphs of personal relationships. A combination of non-stop, rhythmic Latin energy and feminine strength, CUCULAND has already received a Latin Grammy nomination and won a wealth of critical praise:
“music [that] hopscotches across hemispheres, jubilantly fusing every idiom in its path... And for every nod to a vintage style there’s a border-crossing or simply surreal twist.”- New York Times
“We're cuckoo for CuCu Diamantes… "Cuculand," doesn't disappoint. A sizzling mix of salsa, trip-hop and other hip-shaking sounds, the CD is as worldly as the sultry woman behind it” – New York Post
“Cucu Diamantes' debut album is as dramatic as her life story…On Cuculand she's [an] independent, flamboyant woman charging through life, as extravagant in her emotions as she is in her style.”-Miami Herald
“CUCULAND is at once a breath of fresh air and a nostalgic whiff of a more glamorous time. It shimmers with the glitz and glamour of an era when catching a show meant dinner jackets and hair tonic, evening gowns and diamonds. But it also bares its teeth & bites down on the modern sounds of New York streets” – Miami New Times
“…Cucu [is] fast talking and hyper-sexy... sassy, classy party music, with more trip-hop and cumbia, a touch or two of Latin balladeering, and a dose of high energy…pure pop -- Latin pop, that is.” - Washington Post
“We heart Cucu Diamantes…She's fabulous! …[Alguien] is candela. Sizzling hot!!!!!!! Even if you don't understand Spanish, you will love love love this song. Listen to Alguien and be dazzled” – Perez Hilton
“The captivating Cucu Diamantes [is] the sultry-voiced co-founder of Grammy-nominated Latin fusion outfit Yerba Buena… her solo debut, "Cuculand" [is] a melange of salsa, tango, surf guitar, trip-hop and other shimmy-inducing sounds… Diamantes [is a] standout, with her sassily sweet voice sailing over a savory concoction built for hot summer nights.” – Los Angeles Times
“[a]captivating and seductive album… CUCULAND is pure rhythm with deep and reflective lyrics, and you will not want to skip a single track… Cucu Diamantes’ album might very well be one of the most pleasing musical surprises of of 2009” -Houston Chronicle/ LA Voz
After CuCu’s Praised Performance For An Audience of 1.2 Million People At The Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) Concert In Havana last fall, she has delved into writing for a new album and a series of remixes. Her recent collaboration with Bimbo Jones will be released at the 2010 winter music conference
Between her collaborative work with Levin & Yerba Buena, participation on the fundraising albums Red Hot + Latin and Red Hot + Riot, and now a string of recent guest appearances as a solo artist, CuCu Diamantes has worked closely with artists such as Fatboy Slim, Orishas, D’Angello, Carlinhos Brown, MeShell NdegeOcello, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Beto Cuevas, Dead Prez, Diego El Cigala, and many more. Most recently, Diamantes has made special appearances on Voltio’s “Cristina”, with Los tucanes de Tijuana on the film soundtrack for “Ladron que roba Ladron,” collaborated with Vico C and Praz on “Pa la Calle” for the “Feel the Noise” film/soundtrack and had a song included on the soundtrack album for NBC’s hit show “Heroes” – joining a track listing that included David Bowie, The Chemical Brothers, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and more. Diamantes’ simultaneous ability as an actress has also found her in front of the camera for cameo appearances in the films “El Cantante” and “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”, as well as the TV series “Third Watch” and a recent MTV Latin America short-film tribute to The Cure.