Queens of Havana : the amazing adventures of Anacaona, Cuba's legendary all-girl dance band

by Castro, Alicia, 1920-

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction ML421.A465 C313 2007bx
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  ML421.A465 C313 2007bx
The 1930s saw Havana undergoing a seismic cultural renaissance. At night in the aires libres (open air cafes), tourists and foreign investors rubbed shoulders with the likes of Ernest Hemingway as they sipped cocktails, cavorted with Cuban beauties, and listened to suggestive melodies from Havana's unmatched musical community. It was rare for women to attend, and unheard of for them to perform. But when greengrocer Matias Castro, father of thirteen, goes bankrupt, his eldest daughter has the idea of starting an all-girl band with her sisters--an outrageous idea in macho Cuba, but a surefire money maker. Every evening, as the rum began to flow, Anacaona took to the stage to let rip--jazz, mambo, rumba, and cha-cha--their infectious rhythms, cheeky lyrics, and sheer sex appeal conquer their audiences' hearts. In this evocative memoir, saxophonist Alicia Castro, now in her eighties, looks back on the Havana of yesterday and the dazzling career of the dance band, from concerts in Paris and New York, to appearances with Dizzy Gillespie, Celia Cruz, DukeEllington, and Cab Calloway. Spirited and conversational, Queens of Havana is a touching piece of hidden history guaranteed to set your heart racing and get your toes tapping!
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In the 1930s, Havana, though famous for its infectious music, wasn't a city in which one saw many women at its open-air nightclubs. Yet Castro and her nine sisters, wanting to help out the family's finances after her father's grocery went under, were soon one of the hottest acts around, the band called Anacaona. Formed when the dictator Machado was tyrannizing the people with a bloody fist, but when Havana was still a major tourist draw, Anacaona counted such contemporary musical celebrities as George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Nat King Cole among its fans, and it shared stages with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Cab Calloway. Before long, Anacaona was touring beyond Cuba during a career that lasted into the 1980s. Indeed, the surviving members still gather to make music. Castro's abundantly and eye-catchingly illustrated memoir evokes a colorful time when rum and torrid rhythms brought boatloads of free-spending tourists to Cuba.--Tribby, Mike Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This evocative memoir is a joyous, rhythmic history of the 11 sisters who formed the fabled Cuban orquesta Anacaona. Forced to abandon her studies after political events prompted university closings in 1932, Cuchito Castro got six of her younger sisters together to play son, a blend of African rhythms and Spanish melodies, even though women were thought incapable of mastering the complex style. The band attracted attention on the radio and at night in Havana's open-air cafes. As Cuchito's other sisters grew into their teens, they joined Anacaona, and the group soared to international fame with recordings, films, TV, appearances with jazz greats and triumphant European tours, as seen in the 140 ads, menus, photos and posters scattered throughout the text. Saxophonist Alicia, now 87, regales her niece Ingrid with tales of the sisters' romantic escapades, Havana nightlife and sensual melodic midnights. The Castro sisters' story reverberates with exotic echoes of a fabulous long-ago era. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Castro, Alicia, -- 1920-
Anacaona (Musical group) -- History.
Women musicians -- Cuba -- Biography.
Big bands -- Cuba.
Publisher New York : [Berkeley, Calif.] :Grove Press ;2007
Distributed by Publishers Group West,
Edition 1st American ed.
Other Titles Anacaona.
Contributors Kummels, Ingrid.
Scha╠łfer, Manfred.
Language English
Description 393 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (page 391).
ISBN 9780802118561
Other Classic View