Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Famous Residents of Cuba

Author: Emma Lelliott

Whatever your views on Cuba, everyone agrees that the island has been home to some of the most colourful and passionate people in history. Cuba seems to lend itself to free spirited and wonderful figures, many of whom take holidays to Cuba, find themselves under her spell and decide to stay.

The Buena Vista Social Club
More of an institution or group than single inhabitant, The Buena Vista Social Club is the umbrella name for a series of Jazz musicians and singers. The name itself comes from a club in Havana which was popular in the 1940s and 1950s with Jazz musicians. A fraternal club where black musicians would go to hang out and jam, the venue became a focal point for Cuban music. Famous artists would gravitate to the club, which gained what would today be called cult fame with international black musicians. Many planned holidays to Cuba specifically to go to the club and jam with the band.
The club was closed down after the revolution as it was seen as a part of Havana’s hedonistic lifestyle, and it wasn’t until 1997 when the club’s musical style was revived. An album recording by producer Nick Gold went wrong when some of his musicians couldn’t get to Cuba, so Gold filled in with local artists. Most had been members of the club, and the album took on the flavour of the club and its name as a title. The musicians themselves gained international renown – Juan de Marcos González, Compay Segundo, Rubén González, and Ibrahim Ferrer became known as Los Superabuelos (or “The Super Grandfathers”). The album sold more than five million copies, and the club itself took on legendary status; so much so that searching for it while on holiday to Cuba is a wild goose chase – even residents who lived nearby at the time can’t agree on where the club actually was!

Ernesto Che Guevara
Wherever you are in the world, you can’t escape images of “Che”. In student bedrooms, revolutionary enclaves and art galleries, Che Guevara is iconic, and he was one of Cuba’s most famous residents. This is even more obvious on holidays to Cuba, where he is a hero of the revolution. His image is everywhere, not least in famous murals and sculptures in Havana.
Originally from Argentina, Che was a key figure in the Cuban revolution under Fidel Castro. He literally wrote the book on guerrilla warfare, rising to command in some of the major battles of the revolution. Committed to his Marxist beliefs, he was a fierce fighter and revolutionary and became a high ranking international negotiator and political appointee in Castro’s government.
Though he spent much of his time in Cuba, his beliefs lead him to aid other revolutions with anti capitalist sympathies. He travelled to many countries on state sanctioned and personal missions, eventually being caught and killed while attempting to foster a revolution in Bolivia. However, his fame and fervour were such that he is still hailed as a countercultural symbol worldwide.

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was a world famous journalist and writer, and spent almost half his life on holiday, working or living in Cuba. He was involved in the First World War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, and produced a huge body of short stories, longer prose pieces and articles including classics such as “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “The Old Man and The Sea” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.
Hemingway created his own writing style that became influential for a whole series of later journalists and authors. He is one of Cuba’s most famous inhabitants, and people on holidays to Cuba visit the Hemingway Museum housed in his villa, which includes his boat and preserved examples of his writing.

Author Resource:- Emma Lelliott is the general manager of Captivating Cuba, an independent Cuba holiday specialist. With offices in Havana and the UK, Captivating Cuba are experts in putting together the very best holidays to Cuba (http:// http://www.captivatingcuba.com).

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