“La Dame Blanche is a pan-Caribbean powerhouse.” – New York Times
With her explosive mix of hip hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae, the Cuban singer, flautist and percussionist Yaite Ramos Rodriguez, aka La Dame Blanche delivers a powerful and compelling sound which summons the spirits.
Before unfurling her costume Yaite has travelled a long and sometimes hard road. Everything starts in Cuba where she was born, in the heart of an awe inspiring musical cauldron on which reigns the figure of her father, Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos, an exceptional trombonist who is also the artistic director of the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. Family parties are gatherings of extraordinary musicians, the cream of Cuban music, to the sounds of thousands of songs and drums.
As soon as you hear Yaité Ramos talk about her journey, from developing as a classical musician in the famed Escuela Nacional de Arte in Cuba, to finding her voice as a hip-hop artist in the streets of Paris, it’s evident that she’s a warrior—battle-tested and not afraid of the unknown. Artistically, she identifies herself as La Dame Blanche, a nod to the scary yet benevolent ghost at the center of a French opera of the same name, but also a picaresque wink at her status as a santera and a black woman. She’s a raconteur. With the flute as her chosen weapon, and Marc Babylotion Damblé of the Orisha’s providing the beats, she marches on-stage and raps about the characters, hardships, joys and lived experiences between the two places she calls home—France and Cuba.
On 2014’s Piratas and 2016’s 2, her spitfire rapping and strong delivery are underscored by bass-heavy staccato beats, turntable scratching, and a sophisticated mixture of cumbia rhythms intermingled with dancehall, Cuban rumba and son. In the midst of this fusion is Ramos’ flute, is sweet, bucolic melodies rounding out her signature sound and giving her music an emotional breadth that reveals the heart underneath the combativeness.
Produced and Presented in collaboration with RATIOnation