1962 Post-Revolution Cuba
Angela Alvarez checks her travel documents for the third time and draws a deep breath, mustering the courage to approach the military police officer at Havana Jose Martí airport, her four young children huddled nervously behind her as he motions for her to hand over the documents. He casts a cursory look at them, and shakes his head. A panic grips Angela, and she braces herself for what is to come. “Only the children can leave.” Pleading, reasoning, appealing to his sense of humanity are a waste of time. She is torn between keeping her family together at the risk of losing her children to the regime, or letting her children flee to safety, fearing that she may never see them again. Devastated, she watches her children go…
Angela escaped years later to the United States, forced to leave her husband and beloved island behind. Displaced in a foreign land, and struggling to make ends meet, she worked long hours to rebuild her life and reclaim her children.
As a young girl in 1930’s Cuba with a musical gift, she had developed a burning desire to become a professional composer and singer, only to have it all crushed by her father’s traditional views. Undaunted, Angela kept writing her songs, a journal of her rich and tumultuous life. What once started as a dream, soon became a way of coping with the intolerable tragedies of life. Sadly, once her life settled, Angela would face the untimely loss of her beloved husband and daughter to the ravages of cancer.
Her music laments the pain of loss with a delicate intimacy and a fiery defiance, while celebrating love, family and the joys of life. Her heartfelt songs and enchanting voice were to remain forever hidden, but for the passion and determination of her grandson - film composer Carlos José Alvarez, who urgently felt the importance to preserve Angela’s legacy before it was too late. Inspired by his grandmother’s dream to share her music with the world, Carlos assembled a world-class lineup of Grammy-winning musicians who came together to record her music for all the world to hear.
Now, in her 90th year, Angela Alvarez has finally fulfilled a lifelong ambition. What you are about to hear is nothing less than...the soundtrack to an incredible life.