Havana born, US raised, Cuban-American singer/composer HAVANA CARBO received her MFA in Music Theatre composition from TSOA/M/T at NYU (‘93) and is a Yip Harburg Fellow. A former Soul Note recording artist (Street Cries, ’91), and more recently a CAP recording artist (Luna de Varadero’05; So I’ll Dream You Again ’97, Carbo celebrates the ‘07 release of “Through a Window, Like a Dream” on MODL, her own label.
In his liner notes, Richard Peaslee writes: “Havana Carbo draws us into a delicious world of nostalgia, tristesse and exotic locales. With her fluent command of Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English, and her warm intimate delivery, Carbo can evoke the atmosphere of a smoky back alley bar as easily as that of a sophisticated club on the Lido. A master of musical understatement and subtlety, she becomes one with the impeccable musicianship of the ensemble of prominent musicians with whom she performs.”
At age 3 she took to the piano and at 8 began formal lessons in Havana, where she was raised in an environment that celebrated music but viewed “nightclub” performing as inappropriate for a young lady. Jazz established residence in her soul during her NY High School years, but a budding career was cut short by marriage to a Cuban Economics major she met while a student at pre-Castro’s Villanova University in Havana.
...But twenty-odd years, three marriages and four fabulous children later, with life’s experiences as a bonus, Havana finally went home to her passion - music. In 1984, Carbo created “Havana Midnight”, a latin/jazz group devoted to her arrangements of Latin American classics from her past, and the group met with instant success in the Berkshires where she resided. She produced an EP (Another Summer), which led to being signed by Soul Note in 1987 to record her first solo CD, “Street Cries”. It featured Gene Bertoncini, Michael Moore, Marvin Stamm and John Sauer.
In ‘89 she was awarded a Mass Arts Grant.
CARBO has recorded/performed with such greats as Michael Moore, Jimmy Giuffre, Gene Bertoncini, Dario Eskenazi, Nilson Matta, Vince Cherico, John Benitez, Café, Chocolate Armenteros, Oriente Lopez, Helio Alves, Sean Smith, Diego Urcola, Edsel Gomez, Aaron Goldberg, John Di Martino, “El Negro”Hernandez, Café, LeoTraversa, the late Edson Machado, and a two-month run as vocalist with the legendary Chico O’Farrill Band. Since moving to NY she has appeared in major clubs from NY to the Caribbean, South Beach and Paris; venues as varied as Birdland, 55BAR, Lenox Lounge, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smith College, Aaron Davis Hall, B.Smith’s, Lenox Lounge, Helsinki, the Barbados and Jamaica Jazz Festivals. Carbo has been featured guest on radio including WNYC, WFCR, WFDU, WBGO, WDNA Miami, XM Satellite Radio, WLUZ San Juan, and KLAS Jamaica. In the West Indies, the drink "Havana Carbo" was created in her honor at Kingston’s Redbones Blues Café.
Glowing reviews come from as far as Braga Portugal to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Arnaldo Desouteiro, La Tribuna wrote “ ... her voice travels with a voice of singularly warm timbre and her phrasing has extraordinary and stirring expressiveness... ...destined to develop a cult”. Her penultimate CD "So I'll Dream You Again" was one of the top 10 in Jazz for 1997 in Brazil and in 2004 she was selected #1 Female Jazz vocalist of the year with her "Luna de Vardero" release.
Joanna Rudnick, Artful Mind, Mass. wrote “...her velvet voice parades throughout your body...her music subtly reminds the listener that she has lived in every lyric and every note...also writes bone-shattering poetry.”
Havana continues to write poetry, music, and working on “LIVING BY EAR”, a One-Woman Show based on her adventurous life. She has found her home in a community of extraordinary musicians with whom she is proud to work, and is nourished by love of music, family and friends. She lives in constant awe of the gift that is music, fully aware of the responsibility that comes with the gift, always striving to keep her dream alive and uncompromised.