At the Jose Marti Airport in Havana, Angela Alvarez double-checks her travel credentials a third time, takes a deep breath, and gathers the courage to approach the gendarmerie. He motioned for her to hand over the papers while her four small children scurried behind her in a tense swarm. Shaking his head, he gave her a quick glance. As Angela got ready for what was to come, panic overcame her. Only kids are able to walk. It was a waste of time to beg, contend, and invoke his compassion. She must decide whether to keep the family together and run the chance of the children being abducted by the dictatorship, or whether to let the kids run away since she worries she might never see them again. She saw the kids go in tears.
Years later, Angela left her husband and the island she cherished and came to America. She tries to survive after being pushed into a distant country. She put in a lot of effort to mend her life and win her children back.
She had a tremendous desire to become a professional composer and vocalist as a young, musically talented girl in Cuba in the 1930s, but was constrained by her father’s conventional beliefs. Angela persisted in creating songs that chronicled her full and challenging life despite the obstacles. What begins as a dream rapidly develops into a means of overcoming the unimaginable traumas of life. Sadly, after her life had calmed down, Angela had to deal with the tragic cancer deaths of her loving husband and daughter.
Her music celebrates love, family, and the pleasures of life while lamenting the anguish of loss with gentle intimacy and tenacious defiance. Save for the dedication and tenacity of her grandson, film composer Carlos José Alvarez, who felt obligated to preserve Angela’s legacy before it was too late, her heartbreaking melodies and enchanting voice will remain unheard forever. Carlos put together a stellar lineup of Grammy-winning musicians who got together to record their music for the benefit of the globe, inspired by his grandmother’s desire to share her music with the world.
Angela Alvarez, who is now in her 90s, is at last achieving a lifelong ambition. The soundtrack of an extraordinary life is all that you are about to hear.
If it weren’t enough… Miss Angela, a documentary about Angela’s extraordinary life, was created by filmmakers Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton when they discovered the beauty in her tale and singing.