Fred in Cuba, Age 9
1962, Operation Pedro Pan
CUBA BC - THE SONG THAT IS FRED'S TRUE LIFE STORY
Fred "Fernando" Beato was born in 1952 and raised in Cuba where his father played violin in a well known symphony orchestra. Sadly his father passed away when Fred was young, then when Fidel Castro came to power and turned the idyllic Cuban island paradise into an oppressed Communist country, his widowed mother Corey selflessly sent Fred to Miami at age 10, alone, during Operation Pedro Pan (Peter Pan- sending kids to Neverland) to give him the chance for a better life.
Fred had to adapt to American culture and schools all while living with relatives in Miami, then he moved to Southern California. It was over 7 years before his mother was able to escape Cuba and reunite with Fred.
He could never forget the beauty of Cuba prior to Castro regime so as a grown man he had custom California license plate made that said “Cuba BC” inspired by Gloria Estefan’s t-shirt he once saw while she did a disaster relief concert on TV.
David got the initial idea for the song from that license plate displayed so boldly on Fred's red T-bird, and recorded a quick song sketch and filed it away. A few years later when this album was started in earnest, David was deeply inspired by Fred’s life story and learning more about Cuba BC (Before Castro), so he showed Fred the song sketch which became the basis for what is now the central song on the entire project “Cuba BC (Hello America Goodbye Cuba BC)”
Pack’s compositional music bed fuses traditional Cuban rhythms and melodic elements with a distinctly American, almost Paul Simon-like song sensibility as if it were part of a Broadway theatrical production.
When it came time to set the story to lyrics, David recalls, "I asked Fred to start from the beginning and walk me through his journey. As he did I wrote and sang lyric lines on the spot. Then he started almost rapping words in Spanish-- and we quickly recorded Fred's memories of his beloved Cuba, the original home he so loved."
He continues, "This song evolved like a mini-miracle. It became our anthem song. And I realized it's not just Fred's story, it's every Cuban refugee's story, and every immigrant's story. Fred loves America with a passion. He is a complete patriot, so grateful to be 'in the land of the free' as he speaks in the beginning of the song."
Fred explained that the attitude behind Cuba BC was further inspired by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and their incredible life story as fellow Cuban immigrants.
Fred and David traveled together to Miami in 2012, for Fred’s significant birthday, to meet with Emilio and play him Cuba BC. He absolutely loved it. And he loved that Paquito, who played the famous piano lines on "Conga" with Miami Sound Machine, also played piano on Cuba BC. We could have never known that sadly, less than a year later, we would lose Paquito.
Emilio also reinforced the idea that a video should be made of Cuba BC - something David and Fred had planned from the beginning. That video is now in the process of being made, so stay tuned for news on that release.
On the track, David plays piano, guitar, and sings the song, and Fred raps/talks, and plays the drums (Fred envisioned another drummer playing on the song, but David convinced him to play the track himself – and no one could have done it better!) Also appearing are Paquito on piano, Rafael Padilla (Gloria Estefan, Shakira) on percussion, Alex Al (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder) on bass, and the Pancho Sanchez horn section (Francisco Torres, Ron Blake, Scott Martin) adding their authentic brass accents.