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Anacaona’s Yolanda Castro and Graciela, RIP

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, By Berta Jottar, greater Cuba, music, obituary 5 Comments »

Within a couple of days, two lead members of the historical all-women Anacaona Orchestra have passed away: first Yolanda Castro, founding member of the band, who passed in Havana on April 4th, and then Graciela Pérez-Gutiérrez (also known as Graciela Grillo), two days later. Graciela had left Cuba in the early 40s and sang with Mario Bauza’s orchestra, becoming a fixture of the New York Latin music scene. Unlike Castro’s, Graciela’s obituary has been published all over the U.S. press, including the New York Times. You can read about Yolanda Castro’s passing on the Cuba-based Cubarte’s page.

Friend and colleague Berta Jottar interviewed Graciela in New York in 2003. along with her students of the course “Sound and Movement in the Afro-Latin Diaspora” (Williams College). I persuaded her to upload the videos and share them with us, and here they are:

(Thanks to Berta Jottar and David Cantrell for their assistance)


Journals, obituary 2 Comments »

Eugene was a dear friend, who used to work at Radio Habana Cuba and came often to the United States.  He was a scholar of Afro-Cuban culture and music.

For more information see http://afrocubaweb.com/eugenegodfried/eugenegodfried.htm

Eugène Godfried Presilia
10/23/1952 – 3/29/2009
community organizer, music producer,
and radio journalist
Director, Caribbean Division, Radio Havana
Director, Radio Eugene Godfried International

Eugène Godfried Presilia passed on to the ancestors Sunday morning, March 29, 2009, in Willemstad, Curaçao, after suffering a grave stroke March 21st. He is survived by two daughters in Curaçao, Yomini and Nohraya Godfried, a daughter in Oriente, Krisjocelyn Godfried , as well as his aunt Crisma Merien-Presilia in Curaçao who raised him, his father Alwin Godfried, his sisters Alwina and Nathaly, his brothers Egbert, Alwin Jr., and Nathaniel, and his cousins, including Rutger Merien. Services are tentatively planned for Saturday, April 4th, with people coming in from around the Caribbean. The family is planning an exhibit to accompany the services and is appealing to those who have images, videos, or writings to send them along to nohrayagodfried_AT_afrocubaweb.com.

Eugène Godfried was a community organizer, music producer, ethnomusicologist, and radio journalist. For the past 30 years, he worked with Caribbean nations to promote ideas and actions regarding popular culture and Caribbean identity. He dedicated his life to articulating and interpreting cultures of the Caribbean and to fostering Afro-Caribbean pride.

Born in the nation of Curaçao Dutch Antilles, Mr. Godfried began his education in Catholic primary schools of his homeland and took his higher degree in Holland in social services with an emphasis on culture and community organizing.

Mr. Godfried served a four year term as president of the farmers’ cooperative of Curaçao, a subject matter he came back to in the last year of his life, when he diligently promoted agrarian reform as the Coordinator of the Plataforma Agrario Nashonal (PAN). . He worked with local Caribbean communities as an organizer and with labor unions throughout the region. He was directly responsible for organizing the recognition and celebration of the first rebellion in 1795 of enslaved Africans in Curaçao.  MORE.  For complete article, goto  http://afrocubaweb.com/eugenegodfried/eugenegodfried.htm

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