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Infectious Caribbean spirit is magical; PREVIEW: The Creole Choir of Cuba, various venues.

PASSIONATE melodies, wild harmonies and richly textured arrangements will be brought to Wales next month by The Creole Choir of Cuba.

The choir is made up of 10 vocalists. Desandann, the choir's Cuban name, literally means "descendents" and with the songs on their album, Tande-La, (Listen), they tell the stories of their Haitian ancestors who were brought to Cuba to work in near slave conditions in the sugar and coffee plantations.

The Creole Choir of Cuba will perform the tracks during their first UK tour, which includes two performances in Wales - Aberystwyth and Swansea.

Their mesmerising sound, jubilant dancing and deep spirit first made them a hit in this country at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival. The producer of BBC Two's Later... with Jools Holland saw the choir and was so impressed he asked them to appear on the show.

Their appearance was aired in May last year, when they performed the uplifting and emotional Chen Nan Ren - a song denouncing neo-colonialism and colonialism while conveying the celebratory feeling of resistance that harks back to the freedom songs of the '60s circa Martin Luther King and the struggle for racial equality in the USA.

Interviews and sessions followed, including a BBC Radio 2 session with Mark Lamarr.

The choir performed at the Wilton's Music Hall in London and went on to stage a sell-out four-date residency at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, as part of the 2010 London Jazz Festival.

In addition to Spanish and French, the choir mainly sing in Creole, Cuba's second language, spoken by almost a million people - a fusion of African, French and other languages.

It's the language of a people twice exiled: first to Haiti from Africa through the iniquitous slave trade; then from Haiti to Cuba, tricked into second slavery by their French masters after the Haitian Revolution of 1790.

The choir - six women and four men, aged 27 to 61 - come from Camaguey, Cuba's third city, designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008.

The Creole Choir of Cuba perform at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on February 2 and Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea on February 3
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:5CUBA
Date:Jan 22, 2011
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