Born: January 20 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Cuban vocalist Estrella Acosta, who now lives in Europe, has proven herself on various continents as one of the most versatile singers in Latin music. Though she has never stopped singing the folk songs of her motherland, she is equally at home with Brazilian and jazz styles. With her relaxed phrasing and warm, earthy voice she brings a fresh, innovative approach to her music.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in cultural anthropology, she studied voice technique and started her first band playing a blend of jazz, Brazilian and Cuban music. She lived in Mexico City, New York, and Rio de Janeiro and finally settled in Amsterdam, where she now lives. Estrella has performed with many of the world's great musicians including Toninho Horta, Craig Handy, Edy Martinez, Mauricio Einhorn, Claudio Roditi, Ramon Valle and Jovino Santos Neto.
In 1996 she released her first cd, 'Navegando de La Habana a Rio', (eStar cd 131), featuring her lyrics and compositions by participating musicians, Brazilian pianist Luizão Paiva and Uruguayan guitarist Leonardo Amuedo. This recording received enthusiastic reviews from the Dutch and international press.
On her second cd, 'Alma Guajira' (eStar cd 132), nominated for an Edison (Dutch Grammy), Estrella takes you on a trip through the Cuban countryside with her fresh take on traditional songs, played with all the flavor and spontaneity that is so typical of this music, la música guajira. The recording is a tribute to her motherland and to her family from San José de los Ramos in the province of Matanzas, where she spent much of her youth. Together with her team of the best Cuban musicians in Europe, Estrella presents a new outlook on the música guajira.
Her festival appearances include the Brussels Viva Brasil Festival, the Curaçao Jazz Festival, the Heineken Jazz Festival, the Dunya Multicultural Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. She also performs at renowned clubs like the BIMhuis (Amsterdam), SOB's (New York City), Ronnie Scott's (London), and at all major venues in the Netherlands.
In 2007, Estrella appeared on the VPRO Dutch television program Vrije Geluiden where she performed with her full band and also in duo with Cuban guitarist/tresero Carlos Irarragorri. Later that year, Estrella's Guajira band toured the USA and Canada playing at renowned festivals such as the Madison World Music Festival, World Music Chicago 2007 and Small World Music Festival in Toronto. More recently in 2008, Estrella has been one of the featured artists in bandoneon- player Carel Kraayenhof's project Memorias de Cuba which included a cd recording (Universal Records), and live concerts at Amsterdam's prestigious Concertgebouw as well as in Eindhoven's Muziekcentrum Frits Philips with the Metropole Orchestra.
In the fall of 2008, Estrella toured in the USA (Alaska, Washington and Texas). Since 2009, she has toured with a project 'Canto de Cuba' in the Dutch theaters and festivals. In 2012 she performed in the USA with Brazilian guitarist Gabriel Santiago.
She continues to perform and tour with her bands, 'Estrella's Guajira' and 'Esquina 25', not only the music of her native land, but music of Brazil and other Latin American countries.
- “...a happy transatlantic party that takes off and soars!” - Latin Beat Magazine, USA, Luis Tamargo
- Exciting hours with Estrella Acosta ... her group was captivating and exciting ... she has a straightsounding voice but with all the warmth and emotionality one could wish for... - Leeuwarder Courant
Acosta has a warm voice and a sunny and relaxed stage presence. She masters the vocal aspects of both latin- and jazz music. - JazzPodium.nl
- Shining as the center of the group is Cuban singer Estrella ... with her vocal technique she can do a lot ... exciting tropical sounds raised the temperature to unheardof levels ... The power of the group lays not only in the exciting rhythms; the solo contributions are of a very, high class... - Ton Ouwehand, Dagblad Tubantia, Enschede
- ... excellent music that is fun to listen and dance to, where the traditional and the contemporary are very well combined and balanced. Congratulations! -Juanito Marquez: composer /arranger for Omara Portuondo & Gloria Estefan
- Swinging fireworks, because of the extroverted, inspiring playing ... her voice is full and has a lot of sparkle... - De Gelderlander, Arnhem
- ...Music that is hard to resist ... the band is a coherent unit, mending the components of their music into an effervescent whole ... Estrella is at her best when passion gets the upper hand. - Haagsche Courant, the Hague, Astrid de Ruiter