Desert Island Jazz
Claudia Acuña (2011)

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Born in Santiago, Chile, vocalist Claudia Acuña grew up in Concepción. But culturally rich though Santiago might be, and prevalent though music in South American homes might be—a guitar was always around the house, and everybody plays and sings—there is no guarantee of parental support for a child wishing to make a career in music: music was only a hobby, not a career.

But teachers and friends who heard Claudia singing with school choirs and folk groups encouraged her. She turned to jazz and American popular after hearing Frank Sinatra, Errol Garner and Sarah Vaughan.

At about age 20, Claudia moved back to the capital and got work recording jingles and voices for cartoons. Five years later she decided to move to New York City, where initially she took some odd jobs and began just showing up wherever she could at clubs, jam sessions and venues, just to sing.

Based at Smalls in Greenwich Village, she met many now well known musicians, including keyboardist Jason Lindner, who became her music director. She and bassist Avishai Cohen sent a demo to Verve records, and that got her a contract for her first recording. Four very successful recordings later, she's made that singing dream a reality.

In 2009, Claudia was named co-curator of a Chilean music festival, and she is the spokesperson for World Vision Chile, an International relief organization that specializes in child-focused development programs.

The late Abbey Lincoln said of Claudia "She sings in the tradition of the great ones. Her sound is her own."
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Abbey Lincoln A Turtle's Dream Throw It Away Verve
# 2 The Beatles The Beatles I Will Capitol
# 3 Keith Jarrett My Song My Song ECM
# 4 The Isley Brothers Harvest for the World Harvest for the World Sony
# 5 Michael Jackson Off the Wall Don't Stop Till You Get Enough Sony
# 6 Paul Simon So Beautiful or So What Dazzling Blue Hear Music
# 7 Radio Tarifa Ruma Argelina Ruma Argelina Atlantic
# 8 Rubén Blades Caminando Caminando Discos CBS
# 9 Stevie Wonder Journey through the Secret Life of Plants Power Flower Motown
# 10 Claudia Acuña En Esto Momento Tulum Marsalis Music
Book The comic book "Mafalda", and a selection of poems by Pablo Neruda
Luxury Item A Swiss Army knife
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
John Stowell
08 Apr
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Danielle Wertz
27 May