New Book—“Bebo de Cuba: Bebo Valdés and His World”


CIDIHCA and Educa Vision Inc. have just announced their latest release, Mats Lundahl’s Bebo de Cuba: Bebo Valdés and His World (CIDIHCA 2015, 672pp; contains color and black and white images, includes a CD) a detailed portrait the iconic Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés.

Description: After almost forty years of anonymity in Stockholm, working as a piano player in restaurants and hotels, in 1994, at the age of seventy-six, Bebo Valdés received a call to participate in a recording session. This was the beginning of the meteoric rise of this piano genius, one of the central figures of the golden age of Cuban music, to an international fame that would not reach its peak until after Bebo’s eighty-fifth birthday.

Bebo Valdés was born in Cuba in 1918. His conservatory studies in Havana, his stints with local bands, his job as an arranger for a radio station, his jazz influence, his short but decisive stay in Haiti, his sojourn at the mythical Tropicana with the stars of the epoch, his forced exile in 1960 after the Cuban revolution, his journey to Sweden and his departure from the music scene, his recording of Bebo Rides Again, his meeting with Fernando Trueba, his collaboration with Diego El Cigala in Lágrimas negras, his supreme triumph in Spain together with his son Chucho and El Cigala, his never-ending concerts and tours, his triumphant return to Stockholm, his platinum records, his nine Grammys… turned him into a legend during his own lifetime.

Bebo de Cuba: Bebo Valdés and His World, the portrait of the man, not only covers his work and records all the way until his death in 2013, but, with a luxury of details, it also transmits the history of Cuban popular music from the nineteenth century until today.

Mats Lundahl is Professor Emeritus of Development Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. He has published a large number of books and articles on Haiti and the Dominican Republic, including Issa El Saieh: Maëstro and Legend. A Portrait of My Pal, His Times and His Music (with Louis Carl Saint Jean), CIDIHCA, 2012. He was a close personal friend of Bebo Valdés’ from 1991. This is his sixtieth book.

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