Anacaona The Amazing Adventures of Cuba's First All-Girl Dance Band by Alicia Castro

    Atlantic Books

    Havana, 1932, and greengrocer Matias Castro, father of 13 children, is bankrupt. Cuchito, his eldest daughter, has the idea of starting an all-girl orchestra to bring in some cash. Jazz, mambo, rumba, cha-cha-cha, Latin jazz - 'Anacaona' perform every evening in local street cafes. In no time at all they conquer their audiences' hearts with their infectious music and cheeky lyrics. Alicia Castro, the author of this extraordinary memoir, played saxophone and later led the orchestra. Now in her 80s, Alicia looks back on the scintillating world that she and her sisters inhabited: their international breakthrough, concerts in Paris, New York and appearances with all the jazz greats.

    "A beautifully written first-person account of the birth of Latin music; a glimpse into the complex and fascinating Havana of another era; and the tale of a remarkable family of women who brushed off Latin machismo with back of a graceful hand." Joe Boyd

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