Luna Manzanares, Born to Sing

Luna Manzanares, Born to Sing


By: Shirley Moreira / Photos: Courtesy of Norlys Pérez

Interviewing Luna Manzanares proved to be more than just a journalistic task, it was an opportunity to discover the woman behind the singer who not only welcomed us into her home but entertained us with her fascinating voice. Yes, Luna sang for Cubaplus.

Luna Manzanares, Born to SingFrom her armchair, smiling, without airs, Luna does not fit the stereotype of the contemporary prima donna. A good conversationalist, she does not avoid questiona and takes every one seriously. She also doesn't sing for the sake of singing, but for love of the art.

“As a child I imagined being all sorts of things when I grew up, but never an artist”, says Luna, whose parents both worked in the theater, one as a director and one as a designer. It was her grandmother, however, who influenced her with music.

Elodia Bacallao did not sing traditional lullabies to her granddaughter. She sang classic trova such as Perla Marina and Saint Cecilia. Luna would sing them with childish theatrics and a bit of feeling. She was without a doubt an unconventional girl, who decided to become a cellist because she thought her father would like it.

As odd things happen in life sometimes, one music school rejected her alleging that she did not have musical memory. It may now seem like a joke but back then it was a hard blow, one which made her want it more and fight harder to get in until she finally did. She combined her musical education at home with music classes and, among other things, discovered jazz.

Luna Manzanares, Born to Sing“Perhaps this will sound like a cliché, but my first idols were Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan,” Luna told us. She has a love of good Russian literature thanks to an intellectual environment that inspired it and provided her with unusual heroes as an adolescent, such as Sabina, Spinetta, and Sindo as well as the Beatles.

But Luna's tastes do not make her an elitist by any stretch. “Every artist makes concessions in search of balance or success. I have done it too, but in a responsible way,” she says. For example, she understands and knows how to reach her generation without falling into fads.

“I want to approach people with a message, with meaning. I believe that I have that responsibility as an artist, to always be inclusive and never alienate. I don't only think about the audience I have already but that one that has yet to discover. I am feeling more and more responsible,” affirms Luna, whose first record was produced by Descemer Bueno, and is bold, contemporary, sensual and always respectful in its arrangements.

Luna has the voice to sing anything, yet she is selective with her repertoire. She usually falls in love with her songs and then interprets them with a process worthy of Stanislavsky, creating from her own experiences, making the song her own.

Luna is a fan of Brazilian and African music, and is taken with impressionism. She says she listens to all types of music. She would have liked to meet Michael Jackson, a personality that intrigues her. She is not interested in composing because her main love has always been and will always be singing.

Listening to her sing Jobin's Por Tuda Meu Vida gives a powerful sense of this love. It is hard to tire of listening to her.