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Merceditas Valdés, The Little Aché of Cuba

Mary Janes Valdes

Mercedita Valdes, born the same day that the Virgen de las Mercedes and the great Obatala, and perhaps that is why his life was always linked to the Yoruba tradition and Afro-Cuban culture.

Her songs said so, she was a strong woman like the Orishas, which he celebrated with his art and talent.

Was born Mercedes valdes, on September 24, 1928, in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Havana, a place famous for its great musical traditions. So his life was quickly linked to singing and the Yoruba religion. He soon learned to sing Yoruba and Palo Monte.

Merceditas Valdés and her spiritual songs

Being very young, Mercedita Valdes he attended the processions of the Cabildo de Regla, chaired by Susana Cantero and gained recognition with the works Babalú, by Margarita Lecuona, La negra Merced, by Ernesto Lecuona, and El churrero.

On Radio Cadena Suaritos he made the first Yoruba music program broadcast by a radio station, so Fernando Ortiz, hired her to work with him as an illustrator for his lectures and research. With her he made a tour throughout the country, illustrating his lectures.

Then she dedicated herself to her art and was a very Cuban expression of the guaguancó, the guaracha, the proclamation, the cradle songs and, above all, the songs of African origin, about which she herself expressed:

«The songs have their meaning and message. When I evoke… (beronia Abegbeb Oshún…), I do it slowly, slowly, because in the legend she enters with sensuality and beauty, moving a fan. »

Don Fernando Ortiz himself called her "The Little Aché of Cuba“, and it is that Merceditas with her religiosity and love for the Orishas gave us a beautiful legacy for Afro-Cuban culture and music.

His songs are a prayer of love and faith, he invokes the deities with his voice naturally and with great spirituality.

Merceditas, Yoruba art transformed into song

"Let's start the day invoking good spirits", say the Cuban spiritual songs of the great Mercedita Valdes, the one that sang A Babalú Ayé, Obatalá and the entire Yoruba pantheon.

The multi-award-winning artist also acted in the film Yamba-O, directed by Indio Fernández, and in the musical short Zamba, being admired by the whole world as the greatest exponent of truly Cuban women.

Documentary Merceditas Valdés

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