It seems like every female artist who has a husky voice is compared to Tina Turner. It is a convenient comparison, however it undermines the individual. When I first heard Eva Ayllón’s voice, I managed a clothing factory in Miami where Peruvian seamstresses sewed dresses to the sensual and complex rhythms of Afro-Peruvian and indigenous Quechua music. One day, I heard something magical, extraordinary. “Who is that?” I asked.  “Allyón,” they said. “Mi Perú Negro!” And she did not sound anything like Tina Turner.

Peru Negro photo courtesy of artist management

On Feb. 4, 2011, the Arsht Center presents Festejo, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Peru Negro with Eva Allyón. Called Peru’s “Ambassadors of Peruvian Culture,” the Lima-based, Peru Negro “honors the musical legacy of the African diaspora combined with the heritage of Peru with celebratory dances and vibrant live music that turns every stage into a festejo.” The ensemble is sure to tear up the Arsht Center (in a good way) with more than 30 musicians, dancers and the irreplaceable Eva Allyón.

Eva Allyón photo by Valeria Figallo

Best known for her renditions of Afro-Peruvian music, which emerged simultaneously with the black pride movement in 1950s Peru, Allyón is the master of the lando, an elegant dance with a powerful, seductive undertow. Her 30-year career includes 20 albums and worldwide performances. In celebration of Black History Month, Peru Negro & Eva Allyón will be in Miami for one night only.

Information: Festejo: Peru Nego & Eva Allyón, Feb. 4, 2011, Knight Concert Hall, Tickets: $30 -$65, Box Office, 305.949.6722, or visit www.arshtcenter.org.

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