Bola de Nieve

While most attention will understandably be focussed on that other anniversary today, it also marks 100 years since Cuban jazz singer Bola de Nieve (“snowball”, or Ignacio Jacinto Villa Fernandez, to give him his real name) was born.

Bola de Nieve was sophisticated, gay, well-connected and, like La Lupe, a follower of Santería; in short, there was much about him designed to antagonise Castro’s revolutionaries. But he came to an accommodation with the new regime and stayed in Cuba until his death in 1971.

Since then Pedro Almodóvar’s use of Bola de Nieve’s music in his films Law of Desire and The Flower of My Secret and a 2003 documentary on the singer have brought him to a wider audience.

More on Bola de Nieve here, while this documentary (in Spanish) contains some great performances.

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