Raquel Cepeda’s “Passion” embodies that concept

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Many would-be performers are told “Keep your day job.” Singer Raquel Cepeda kept both her art and her day job. A geologic engineer by day, the vocalist found a way to build her musical career. Her latest release, “Passion” is a startling project that excites and captivates in unexpected ways.

Cepeda’s voice is unexpected. She shines on all 13 tracks. Especially good use of her voice is made on the classic “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” “Passion” was released October 2019. The album is her second as a leader.

About Raquel Cepeda

A native of Venezuela, Cepeda was born into a musical family. Even while studying to become a geological engineer in the oil industry, Cepeda found opportunities to perform music. She performed on campus, and in 1995, won first place at the prestigious Ucevista Voice Festival. But it wasn’t until 2015 that Cepeda walked away from the corporate world for good and began earnest following the path she felt the universe had for her.

Cepeda’s first recording was made in 2001, when she was part of the “Juegos de Playa” in 2001. She debuted as a leader in 2013, with the recording “I’m Confessin.'”

“It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)/Quimbara” by Raquel Cepeda

Cepeda slows down the tempo on the jazz classic. The singing is unadorned by instrumentation. Cepeda leaves out the scatting. She does however, use Latin drums to move from the jazz classic to the Latin American song with Spanish lyrics. Cepeda takes listeners from the early days of jazz to perhaps more contemporary Latin American sound and style explorations. Her voice is a crisp whip that lashes out each syllable. Her delivery plus the sound is exciting. On this track Cepeda does not over-do anything. But she exudes energy and a willful desire to be here and to do exactly what she felt compelled to by the universe. From the way she sings on “Passion” listeners can tell. A must-hear to appreciate.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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