By Ashin Mettacara
Eliana Cuevas is a multiple award-winning singer and songwriter,
originally from Venezuela. Her quintet has toured in festivals all over
Canada, and she has performed at all the best clubs in Toronto,
including Lula Lounge, the Distillery District and the world famous
Top O' The Senator. Eliana supports the THE FREE BURMA CONCERT @ Lula Lounge, on Dec 2nd, in support of freedom and democracy in Burma.
Recently Trinidadian singer/songwriter David Rudder, Canadian producer/musician Jeremy Ledbetter and Eliana Cuevas have teamed up to raise funds for Nargis victims.
Being a curious Burmese monk I contacted Canadian Musician Jeremy, and Eliana.
Metta: Eliana, What is your full name?
Eliana: Eliana Inés Cuevas Jiménez
Metta: Where were you born and what is your citizenship?
Eliana: I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and I now live in Toronto.
I'm both a Venezuelan and a Canadian citizen.
Metta: What is your band's name and when did you start your singing?
Eliana: My band is simply called the 'Eliana Cuevas Quintet'. Even though I've been singing my whole life, I started to sing professionaly when I was a teenager, a dozen years ago and then I put together my own group five years ago.
Metta: Did you receive any awards?
Eliana: I have received the 'Latin American Achievement Award' for 'Vocal Artist' of the year as well as the 'Toronto Independent Music Award' for 'World Music Artist. One of my songs received an 'Ontario Council of Folk Festivals From the Heart Music Award'.
Metta: Do you have any plans to be a woman activist such as Jane Birkin, Nazanin and Mia Farrow?
Eliana: I'm a musician and a composer and as such I feel that I have a responsability towards my audience. With my music I want to help our society to move towards a better and more peaceful world. I'm not sure that makes me a woman activist but I'm definitely someone who cares about the world we live in.
Metta: When did you become interested in Burma and what projects have you done for the people of Burma?
Eliana: Jeremy, my partner, introduced me in a direct way to the people of Burma. He spent some time there last year and shared many stories with me about the wonderful people he encountered there. He made several Burmese friends, including monks. So after the monks' protest last year we decided to write a song for them. A song that could also help raise awareness in this part of the world about the situation that Burma is facing. I also took part as a performer in a few of the fundraising campaigns that Jeremy organized here in Toronto (Canada). We managed to put together some really wonderful shows where people donated and volunteered their time to help. The end result was that we raised a generous amount of funds which was sent to monks in Burma, whom Jeremy keeps contact with. These funds were given to Burmese people in need. I will help as much as I can. I really hope I get a chance to visit Burma in the near future.
Metta: Hoho! I'm boring you with so many questions!
Eliana: I'm never bored by questions such as these! I hope my answers aren't boring either! (smile)
Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!