Maria Bacardi, Nee Pessino, Reinvents Herself

March 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Arts-&-Living-Press_Page_1 Hamptons Life

Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

By Michelle Trauring   Jan 8, 2013

Maria Bacardi does not remember fleeing to Spain from Cuba in 1961 as a political exile. She was just 4 years old.

But what came after that, she described as if it had happened yesterday. On Friday and Saturday nights, hordes of family friends poured into her living room, escaping the cold Madrid air. They opened a bottle of rum and her mother, Elena Gomez del Campo Bacardi, pulled out her guitar. And then they began to sing.

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They sang songs of love. They sang songs of loss. They sang songs of pain. They sang songs of their homeland—a country they yearned for, a place they would never see again.

“My mother didn’t sing them to me directly, I caught them in the air,” Ms. Bacardi recalled during a telephone interview last week. “They sang to all hours of the morning, crying desperately for their return to Cuba. Crying desperately. I didn’t realize I was living their trauma. I realized, many years later, it became the core of my artistry and my passion and my devotion for art and beauty.”