Browse By

Who is Ángela Álvarez? She is the first nonagenarian to win a Latin Grammy

“Music is the language of the soul, we can understand so many things through music.” With these words, Cuban singer-songwriter Ángela Álvarez collected the award for best new artist that she received last morning on Friday, November 18. An award that has made her, at 95 years oldin the longest-running music that has ever won a Latin Grammy.

Ángela Álvarez receiving the Latin Grammy for best new artist.

Steve Marcus


Alvarez He shared the award with the Mexican Silvana Estrada, 25 years old. The generational difference between the two shows that it is never too late to make your dreams come true. “She represents the beginning and I represent the end,” the Cuban joked during the awards ceremony.

“An inexplicable feeling.” Those three words were chosen by the Cuban singer-songwriter to express what winning the Latin Grammy means to her. That and “tremendous joy.”

“When I felt something that moved me, I started to compose. Especially when I left Cuba. I lived in Puerto Rico, which has the same climate as Cuba, and when I was on the roads and saw things that reminded me of Cuba, I composed there. In Mexico I also composed. Wherever I went and liked, I felt the desire to say what I was feeling“, he recalls on the British network.

All those feelings ended up being part of Álvarez’s now tattered notebooks. And those notebooks are where the 15 songs that make up her first album came from.

With Cuba in the heart

But the story of this nonagenarian is full of lights and shadows. In May 1962 He had to watch his four children leave Cuba alone for Miami (USA). She should have flown with them, but an airport official prevented him from boarding her flight.

Several months later, Álvarez managed to travel to the United States, but his children continued to be part of the ‘Operation Peter Pan’, which sheltered thousands of unaccompanied Cuban minors for several years. To get ‘the papers’ and a minimum income that would give her back guardianship of her children, the singer-songwriter went through all kinds of unskilled jobs, the only ones she could access without speaking English.

He worked picking tomatoes in the fields or cleaning offices until the social services of his host country found him a job and formal housing in Pueblo (Colorado), where his children lived.

Family reunification, according to BBC Mundo, would come several years later thanks to a Mexican program aimed at removing Cubans from the island. “I told him that my husband was an engineer and worked in the sugar industry and that he was not going to be Mexico’s burden. So, They took him out of Cuba with a job at a mill in the state of Veracruz. There they gave him a house and then he claimed me and I went with the children to Mexico,” Álvarez explains to the British public channel.

Now, the singer confesses that “her Cuba” is still in her heart.

Follow the topics that interest you