A major accomplishment for the Cab Calloway Foundation was bringing the Cuban all-female guitar group, Vocal Clave de Sol de Cuba, to perform at the LadyBug Festival, an annual all-female music event held in Wilmington, Delaware. Clave de Sol is an after school musical program founded by two sisters in an old, abandoned fish market in Havana, Cuba. They created a learning method to teach children to play the guitar by the feel on the frets, while also understanding music theory and composition; all in a safe haven that fosters both a sense of history and self-esteem.

Joining the program requires a guitar. The Foundation sought to foster cultural awareness and ethnic diversity by bringing Clave to the US, and by providing students with guitars, the one requirement (difficult in Cuba) for joining. With contributions from donors added to Foundation funding, and significant help from the Cuban and American embassies, visas were obtained to enable Cuba and the US to have a strong, healthy, cultural exchange.

Clave stayed first at Blair Academy, in New Jersey and visited the Martin Guitar factory in Pennsylvania where they made a Cuban Tres from pieces provided by Dick Boak, Martin’s lead guitar
designer. After performing at Blair and Martin they travelled to Delaware to stay with families there.

In Wilmington, they performed at the LadyBug Festival and at a private fundraiser in West Chester, PA. Finally they went on to New York City to perform at Drom in the East Village. The organization of this event was very
difficult because of so many moving parts.

Visas, air travel, accommodations, food, travel to events. While we started months in advance, right up to the deadline we did not know if the US would grant the visas.

The Cab Calloway Foundation and its fund-raising friends funded expenses for the trip. This included six Martin guitars that returned to Cuba with the group.

We are hoping to bring a Cuban student to experience the environment of a US Arts school while staying with a Spanish speaking family. We are partnering with the Red Clay Consolidated School district on this project.