HAVANA CARBO BIO © 2010 • “Your singing is truly exquisite! Bravo!!!” Gabriel Yared, January 2010
Havana born, US raised, Cuban-American singer/composer HAVANA CARBO, née Gladys Lourdes Margarita Carbo Ramiro Garcia y de la Torre, received her MFA in Music Theatre composition from TSOA/M/T at NYU (‘93) and is a Yip Harburg Fellow. Formerly recorded on Soul Note, later CAP. Carbo now records on MODLmusic, her own label since 1985. At 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 parental scrutiny prevailed, and a brief marriage to a Cuban Economics major she met while at Villanova University in pre-Castro Havana dealt the final blow to her musical pursuits. Twenty odd years, a revolution, three marriages, several moves and four fabulous children later, with life’s experiences as bonus, she created “Havana Midnight”, a successful latin/jazz group in the Berkshires devoted to her arrangements of Latin American classics from her past. A self-produced EP (Another Summer) led to a Soul Note contract, “Street Cries” (1991) with Gene Bertoncini, Michael Moore, Marvin Stamm and John Sauer. Acceptance at NYU’s prestigious Music Theatre Masters program allowed her two wonderful creative years followed by an unsolicited divorce that coincided with her Masters degree. The divorce turned out to be an invaluable gift and the defining moment that prompted her permanent move to New York City to pursue her passion. Her introduction to American popular song and jazz came via Chet Baker, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman, Frank Sinatra, June Christy, Mel Tormé, and later Shirley Horn, Maysa, Elis Regina, João Gilberto, Edu Lobo, Ivan Lins and Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim. Fascinated by the directness of Brazilian lyrics, incomparable melodies and harmonies, Carbo taught herself Portuguese to better understand the culture, and to do justice to the song. As luck would have it, while searching for lyrics to a song she heard sung by Gilberto called, “Retrato em Branco e Preto,” she was put in contact with its composer, the legendary Jobim, who gave generously of his time on the telephone by clarifying, translating, and answering her questions. Carbo believes that greatness inspires acts of great generosity, most recently displayed by the Oscar winning composer Gabriel Yared, when, as his huge fan she sent him a simple note thanking him for his extraordinary music.