It was about science for Zule Guerra (Havana, 1988), at first. However, while studying a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, her attachment for art and music grew so much that when she graduated she had no doubts it was her passion laid with music and she wanted to be a singer more than anything.
Zule is a lover, a worshiper one may say, of jazz. She is drawn to its flexibility, spontaneity and multiple styles, which is why she began to pursue it in festivals, nightclubs and concerts. She studied its history, roots and evolution. Zule created her band Blues de Habana in 2012 and, with it, she opened herself up to improvisation and experimentation. From that moment on, her voice would become the most important instrument within her creations.
Just a year later, Zule Guerra and her band would win the Interpretation Award of the Cuban JoJazz contest, for young talents, in the senior category. It was a turning point in her career: they started booking her at festivals and prestigious jazz clubs where opening up its doors for her.
Her first official concert —in the theater of the National Museum of Fine Arts— would rise up her first album Blues de Habana (Egrem, 2015), which won the Cubadisco Prize in the New Artist category and had the collaborations of multi-instrumentalist Bobby Carcassés, trumpeter Yasek Manzano and rapper Alexei El Tipo Este.
Her signature style, permeated by filin, bossa nova and rythm & blues, has organically followed the path of experimentation and vocal performance. Her way of assuming scat does not pursue classical forms, but rather plays with nuances, natural diction of her mother tongue and the melodic lines of the songs within the harmonic context. For her, the resources are infinite: she does not classify, but explores and exploits every creative and emotional moment she lives and translate it into songs.
In 2015, the Cuerda Viva Festival would award her for A contra tiempo (Best Song), and she would receive other important recognitions for her career, such as the Gold Award at the Baltic Stage International Arts Festival in Jurmula, Latvia.
In 2016 she offered a concert at the Raquel Revuelta Hall in Havana under the name Huella de Vitrola, a beautiful tribute to filin through a selection of pieces by the Latin American songbook that stood out during the 1940s and 1950s, with her arrangements within the aesthetics of contemporary jazz. Inspired by that concert, in January of the following year she would record her second production, the DVD Sesiones de Vitrola (2018) in which she had luxury guests such as saxophonist César López, trombonist Eduardo Sandoval and singers Vania Borges and Anaís Abreu.
On her performance at the Cuban Arts Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to which she was invited in 2018, Down Beat magazine published: “(…) highlights included singer Zule Guerra and her Quinteto Blues de Habana. Possessing a lustrous alto and lithe phrasing, Guerra recalled the sunny musicianship of Nnenna Freelon and Charenee Wade (…)”
In 2019 she received the title of Master of Music Contemporary Performance and Production by the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
With her most recent record production, El Viaje (Egrem, 2020), Zule launches a conceptual speech from her music that aligns with her most sincere image as an artist. Produced by Ernán López-Nussa, it is an album that speaks, in different ways, of her experiences, roots, idiosyncrasy, achievements, defeats and family, an important pillar in her life
Zule Guerra has shared the stage with important Cuban artists such as the pianist Frank Fernández, the composer and orchestra conductor Joaquín Betancourt, the prestigious music director and producer Patrice Rushen, the flute player Orlando Valle (Maraca), the pianist Rolando Luna, the trumpeter Alberto Lescay, The Revé Orchestra, the composer Ben Barson, the saxophonist Jane Bunnett, among other collaborations.
“… highlights included singer Zule Guerra and her Quinteto Blues de Habana. Possessing a lustrous alto and lithe phrasing, Guerra recalled the sunny musicianship of Nnenna Freelon and Charenee Wade…”