In 1962, 11-year-old Carlos Eire was one of thousands of children airlifted out of Cuba and sent to Florida to escape Fidel Castro's regime. His parents thought he'd return when Castro was deposed — but he never went home again. Eire recounts the experience in a new memoir.
Cuban-born saxophonist and composer, Paquito D'Rivera. D'RIivera defected to the United States in 1980 during a concert tour. Like his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, D'RIVERA is a tireless performer and purveyor of Latin jazz. His "Reunion" album (Messidor), recorded with trumpeter Arturo Sandoval was called a "high speed tour of the Pan-American musical map." For his newest record D'RIVERA gathered 23 of the top Cuban musicians from around the world: "Paquito D'Rivera Presents 40 Years of Cuban Jam Session"
Sayles' films include Return of the Secaucus Seven, Brother From Another Planet, Matewan, and Eight Men Out. He has just written a novel, called Los Gusanos, about Cuban Americans living in Miami. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the difference between moviemaking and creative writing.
Cuban-born poet Heberto Padilla (air-BARE-toe puh-DEE-uh). He was a friend of Castro and an early supporter of the revolution in Cuba. But later he became disillusioned and was imprisoned by Castro as a counter-revolutionary in 1971. He left Cuba in 1980 and has been living and teaching in the U.S. He has a new memoir, "Self Portrait of the Other," published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
World Music critic Milo Miles takes a look at the music of two Latin American singers who live as ex-patriots: Celia Cruz and La Lupe. And he considers how being an ex-patriot can influence a singer's work.
Writer Oscar Hijuelos. His new novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, is the story of Cuban immigrant brothers who work by day at grimy, exhausting jobs in a meat-packing house, but by night, in silk suits and lace ties, play the mambo, the vibrant, footloose music of Cuba. Surrounded by musicians wearing vests decorated with sequined palm trees, the Castillo brothers try to secure their own version of the American Dream. Their lives climax when they appear on the "I Love Lucy Show,".
Writer Joan Didion. Known for her self-reflective essays and reporting, Didion is one of America's most important writers. Her books include A Book of Common Prayer, Slouching Toward Bethlehem and Salvador. With her husband John Gregory Dunne, she co-wrote the screenplay for "True Confessions." Her new book is titled Miami.