Telmary Diaz (March 10, 1977), better known as simply Telmary, is a Toronto-based Cuban rapper, musician, and spoken-word artist.
Although now hailed by many as the most authentic rapper in Cuba, Telmary began life quite differently. Born in Cuba to a journalist mother and sociologist father, Telmary initially aspired to follow her mother into journalism. However, everything changed the day she accepted a friend’s invitation to check out a spoken word freestyle event. After her first time on stage, Telmary decided on another direction, seeking music, poetry, and singing as a more fulfilling form of communication.
Telmary has also studied English language and literature, screenwriting, and theatre in addition to journalism. She cites her main goal in any of her endeavors as working towards better communication with her audience.
Cuban music’s hallmark is its ability to draw from disparate parts of a range of musical styles to create a distinctly new whole, and Telmary’s music seeks to honor that tradition. Telmary’s music is indicative of Cuba Contemporary Fusion in that it not only fuses Afro-Cuban and Latin beats, but also modernizes it with hints of funk, jazz, hip-hop, and urban slam poetry. She has developed and honed her style by collaborating with a bevy of other talented musicians. Her unique personal style is known by critics and audiences alike for its deft maneuvering between rapid-fire powerfully spoken verses to soft jazz-inspired crooning and back again. Her work is also known for its very personal and socially conscious content, and its gender-defying success at a traditionally male musical medium.
In 1999 Telmary formed her first band, Free Hole Negro, where she experimented in on-stage mixing and incorporating audiovisuals into live performance. She then joined Interactivo in 2002. Formed by Roberto Carcassés, the band incorporated as many as 14 performers at one time and focused on collaboration and fusion between rock, jazz, and popular Cuban music. She has also collaborated with many other artists, including Cuban artists Pío Leyva (Buena Vista Social Club), Los Van Van, Kelvis Ochoa,Yusa, Kumar, Arturo Sandoval,Descemer Bueno,and international artists Afrika Bambaataa (United States), XIS,DJ Kassim (Brazil), Quadrasonic (Canada),Jane Bunnett (Canada),Rafael Sebbag(Japan),Ojos de Brujo(Spain),Andres Cepeda(Colombia),Dr John,Roy Hargrove and Terence Blanchard(United States)
In 2007 she released her first solo album A Diario to rave reviews, culminating to her winning a Cubadisco Award for Best Hip Hop Album.
Telmary is also attracted to film-related projects. She made her film debut in “Todas las noches terminan en el Malecon” by Cecilia Araujo (Brazil 2001), and her feature debut in the documentary film “Música Cubana” by German Krall (2004). She has also worked to the 2005 Spanish film “Habana Blues” by Benito Zambrano, and contributed the soundtrack of the 2002 Italian film “MalaHabana” by Guido Giansoldati.You can see her acting at the Colombian film "Alborada carmesi"and opening "Chico and Rita" by Fernando Rojas".
Telmary is constantly writing, performing, and touring, most recently with the Second Annual Havana Cultura Tour in Toronto.
In May 2016, Telmary joined forces with famous North Carolina Artist Felix Semper for her single "Love Art Revolution". Felix was not only featured on the single, but also designed the single cover. The single precedes Felix's documentary of the same title which should be available on media outlets before the year's end 2016.
- 2001 “Todas las noches terminan en el Malecon” – Cecilia Araujo, Brazil
- 2002 “MalaHabana” – Guido Giansoldati, Italy
- 2004 “Musica Cubana” - German Krall, Germany
- 2005 “Habana Blues” – Benito Zambrano, Spain
- 2005 “Sonlar” – René de Cárdenas, Cuba
- A Diarìo (2007)
- Afrikando (2013)
- Unspoken, Vol.1 (2013)
- Libre (2014)
- Love Art Revolution (2016)
Awards and distinctions
- 2005 Cubadisco Award Winner, Cubadisco Big Prize,Best Debut Album & Best Fusion (with group Interactivo)
- 2007 Cubadisco Award Winner, Best Hip-Hop Album for A Diario
- 2007 NOW Magazine’s “Best of Toronto” Awards – Best Latin Artist
- 2008 Juno Award Winning "Best contemporary Album for "Embracing Voices"by Jane Bunnett
- 2014 Cubadisco Award Winner,Best Hip-Hop Album for Libre
- Write-up in Havana Cultura (in Spanish)