Yanela Brooks may be one of Cuba’s most renowned artists on the current scene, but in Marbella we see her as one of our own. For the glamorous chanteusse, Marbella is indeed home base; the haven she returns to after her many sojourns to Cuba, Russia, Asia, and other lands. She recently released her fifth album, Yanela Brooks Feat Top of Cuba – and it is causing quite a sensation in her land of birth.

This time, Yanela is not alone; she is joined by some of the biggest names in Cuban music of the 20th and 21st centuries, including the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba, Elito Revé y su Charangón, Adalberto Álvarez y Su Son, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Orquesta Aragón y José Luis Cortés, Don Dinero, Septeto Santiaguero, Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco, Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera, Formell y Los Van Van, Ronald y su Explosión Rumbera, Osain del Monte and more.

If you are into Cuban music, then you know that many of these artists have changed the shape of music as we know it, having invented genres such as the cha-cha-cha, so well-loved in the four corners of the globe and such a popular choice for the world’s top dancers. “Never before have so many of Cuba’s most important orchestras worked on one LP together.

This work is a homage to them,” says Yanela, who produced the album, composed each song, and arranged the musical pieces herself. It was number one in Cuba this summer and the song Será, which “fuses gospel, soul, and Cuban music” as many of Yanela’s songs do, was also the number one hit in Colombia. “We held the album launch at the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, as I had performed for many years at the Kempinski Hotel Bahía Beach Club in Estepona and they invited me to hold the premiere at their sister hotel in Cuba.” The Kempinski La Habana is arguably the city’s swishest hotel; a fitting place indeed to host so many stars of the Cuban music world.

Gathering so many great musicians to work on one defining album may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but not for Yanela, who tells me that many of them have been her mentors and “have watched me grow and develop.” Indeed, Yanela’s family has always been deeply steeped in music. Her grandfather was a famous jazz trumpet player and her grandmother a professional singer. As a child, she achieved a highly coveted spot at the Escuela Nacional de Art in Cuba, where she studied violin and piano, specialising in choral conducting.

When she was in her teens, she formed the band Yanela y Las Chicas del Sabor under the auspices of Horacio González, director of the emblematic Cuban cabaret, Tropicana, and an Orchestra Professor. Throughout her childhood, she came across many of the artists who today are proud to form part of her latest project.

The album took various years to put together, and one of the reasons was the fact that “we didn’t use machines at all… every single song features top-level instrumentalists.” While working on the songs, Yanela (always a visionary when it comes to creative pursuits) decided to film a documentary, which will soon be available for viewing. The documentary has significant historical value, since viewing so many legends working alongside an artist from a younger generation. Yanela is delighted by the album’s success, but is also making the most of Marbella’s many top spas and clinics, “to relax and rebuild energy.” She has worked non-stop promoting her album, travelling to perform in the Maldives, as well as in Russia and China. She also colaborates with the LVHM Group (Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton), the largest multinational luxury goods conglomerate in the world. LVHM hosts numerous parties and events for royalty, dignitaries and members of the jet set, all of whom delight in catching the lioness herself, Yanela Brooks, in person.

It is a joy to be celebrating Yanela Brooks’ success. The chanteuse has shown her love for Marbella in lots of ways, performing at a multitude of fundraising events, including our own Awards ceremony at Puente Romano, and lighting up the red carpet of many a star-studded show. Her latest album is the fruition of all her training, experience, and of course, of the synergy she has with some of Cuba’s best-known maestros. It is available on Amazon so if Latino beats with touches of soul are your thing, it will undoubtedly be a cherished part of your music collection.