HISTORY is hugely important to the Creole Choir of Cuba - a group of musicians starting a UK tour.
Members are descended from Haitians who fled slavery to start a new life on the neighbouring island of Cuba.
Last week, the Solihull News had chance to put some questions to choir director Emilia Diaz Chavez.
“Some of the songs hark back to African rhythms, then we have the Haitian influence and the Cuban drums,” she says.
“It’s a real fusion of three different countries. We hope the songs will give an understanding of a culture so far away from here.”
And the choir’s music tells a story stretching back over 200 years.
“History is very important,” explains Emilia. “It’s a very unique history, Haiti was one of the first republics in the world.
“They overturned the slavery, though it wasn’t an easy road - they didn’t get absolute freedom immediately.
“Over the years there was a lot of sacrifice and struggle, but it created a very artistic culture.”
The musicians maintain close links with the Caribbean and returned to Haiti following last year’s earthquake.
In the wake of the disaster, they slept in the streets with doctors and held music workshops at the refugee camps.
Having toured around Europe, the group have arrived in the UK and are performing in Birmingham this month.
“We’ve had an incredible reaction around Europe,” adds Emilia. “Even if people don’t understand the lyrics, they understand the message.”
The choir are at the Town Hall on February 14. Tickets are available on 0121 780 3333.