"WE ARE VERY DIFFERENT PEOPLE, BUT WE HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON AND THAT'S MUSIC"
Winners of the 2016 CUBADISCO Award for best vocal group, the Vocal Vidas are a female a cappella quartet from Santiago de Cuba - the cradle of Afro-Cuban music. Their infectious spirit, precise vocal harmonies, and melting pot of references embody the sounds of Cuba. In April 2017, the Vocal Vidas launched their first album on the Egrem label in Cuba. They are elated to be making their first visit to the United States to perform in Los Angeles. In 2016, they were the subject of award winning short documentary, Soy Cubana.
The Vocals Vidas have had extensive musical training in Cuba. In a country in which artistic training and support is available to those who have potential, where individuals with talent are able to achieve in their field, the Vidas are able to work as full time musicians. The government provides housing, health care and a monthly income. At the same time, difficulties of life in Cuba, from shortages of material goods to scarcity consistent internet and even electricity, inform their daily lives.
Ana Hernández Rosillo, soprano, is the general manager of the group. As she is married to a foreigner (German conductor, Michael Elvermann), Ana is the only member of the Vocal Vidas to have internet access. She functions as the group’s promoter and books the group's gigs. She maintains its communication with the outside world through its website and Facebook page. She is now actively engaged in the promotion and selling of the group’s new album.
For a quartet, there has to be a unity, something that is difficult to achieve. Maryoris Mena Faez, basso contralto, functions as the group's musical director. She was very reluctant to take on the position but, encouraged By Ana, she conducts the group during practice sessions, working on their performance techniques and harmonies. Married to a Bulgarian citizen, Maryoris has had the resources to update her kitchen which is important since she loves to cook. In the morning before to going off to perform, she cooks for her family as well as for the Vidas who love her cuisine.
Annia Del Toro Leyva, contralto, is married to Oscar Cruz Perez, a writer and poet. Together they juggle family life and careers. They have a young daughter, Amanda. Oscar is very involved in the care of Amanda when Annia is traveling or working. But sometimes they rely on Annia’s parents who live nearby and are very involved. It truly takes a village and in Cuba this is the norm.
Koset Muñoa Columbíe, mezzo soprano, is a single mother of an 18 year old son, Alessandro. They share a small apartment that was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Five years later, she continues to wait for repairs. She is a proud Cuban and Vocal Vida as reflected in her statement: “We want to distinguish ourselves in Cuba, there is no other group like us.”