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
Steve Adams
30 May
Cheryl Bentyne
17 Oct
Will Bernard
11 Apr
Barbara Borden
21 Mar
Jim Butler
13 Jun
Ian Carey
21 Feb
Judy Chaikin
17 Jan
Mike Clark
10 Oct
Freddy Cole
21 Nov
Beth Custer
01 Aug
Harry Duncan
03 Oct
Kai Eckhardt
03 Jan
Lisa Engelken
26 Sep
Don Friedman
07 Nov
Roger Glenn
05 Dec
Kimberly Gordon
28 Mar
Marty Grosz
29 Aug
Alex Hahn
08 Aug
Bill Holman
28 Feb
Tommy Igoe
07 Mar
Namita Kapoor
22 Aug
27 Jun
Lisa Mezzacappa
24 Oct
25 Jul
Glenn Richman
15 Aug
Alfredo Rodriguez
25 Apr
Dan Sabanovich
02 May
Grant Stewart
12 Dec
Judy Wexler
04 Apr