Ladies in White
For clarinet, violoncello & piano
Composed by Paquito D’Rivera
In the early hours of March 18th of 2003, after a cruel and violent crackdown, the Cuban political police incarcerated a group of 75 independent journalists, pacific dissidents and human rights activists. They were sentenced to serve from 2 to 28 years in prison, just for the “crime” of writing, informing, or even speaking their minds openly. These sad events are known as “The Cuban Black Spring”, and ever since, wearing all white clothes and carrying gladiolus flowers in their hands, in spite of the threats, beatings and harassments against them, a group of mothers, wives and sisters of these prisoners of conscience, calling themselves Las Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White, march regularly on the streets of the city of La Habana, claming for amnesty for their unjustly incarcerated relatives.
The present chamber work “Ladies in White”, commissioned by the Graduate Center of CUNY (City University of New York), and premiered at the same spot by the author on clarinet, Alex Brown on piano and cellist Dana Leong in May of 2010, is a tribute to those brave women and their families.