In the Life Lnxx podcast episode 75, Peter Pan Stole Cuba’s Children, there is painful recount of childhood trauma and healing from the soulful, Afro Latina music.
María Marqués shares her personal experience of being sent away from everything she knew in Cuba to live in the U.S. Mari was only 7 years old, traveling with her 10 year old cousin, alone, with no parents, in the early 60’s.
Why, you ask? Because the U.S. created the Peter Pan program as propaganda to scare Cuban residents of Russia’s communist threat. The U.S. and the Catholic Church aimed their Peter Pan propaganda at middle class families, convincing parents that their children were in danger.
Painfully, Mari speaks to the horrors that some of the 14,000 Peter Pan children faced upon arrival in the U.S. Many were placed in orphanages and foster homes, even her own brother! Yet, the children had all come from loving families in Cuba. It all sounds too familiar to recents immigrant experiences.
Thankfully, Mari’s parents arrived soon after her. And, although they could not locate her brother for years, the family flourished. Her pápa, as Mari lovingly calls her father, had learned English in Cuba by listening to records of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day. He played Cuban and American Jazz albums on the little player at his bedside. Peter Pan didn’t steal this child’s soul.
Healing Music of Bobi Céspedes
All the while, Mari was listening and her love of Cuba remained deeply rooted in her. Through her days in Minnesota as a child, Yale as a graduate student and Bay Area as a successful career woman, Mari leaned on her visceral connection to home through the music of Benny Moré and Trio Matamoros. She shared her love of music with everyone she met, teaching them salsa dancing and Lukumí traditions, a religious practice of the Yoruba descendents in Cuba.
Ultimately, Mari discovered her dream job as manager of Bobi Céspedes’ band. The two are comadres, sisters and business women. Bobi’s music is based on the Lukumí traditions and chants to the Orishas, divine avatars of the Universe. As a priestess, Bobi’s music is transcendent. Before there was rock, salsa or jazz, there were the rhythms of the Lukumí.
In this episode, you hear clips from her current album, Mujer y Cantante. The soulful sound of this Afro Latina singer and songwriter brings more than joy. Bobi’s music heals from deep within, something that Mari resonates with. So much so, that she created Bobi’s song classes online during Covid when most people were suffering. Anyone can participate in these classes through Bobi’s website at BobiCespedes.com.
Refill your soul, fuel your spirit with the healing music of Bobi Céspedes, priestess, singer and songwriter who intertwines all her roles into one life of value and alignment.