Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time

Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time is a bittersweet documentary about the Cuban band Los Zafiros, meaning The Sapphires. Rising to fame in the 60s, their popularity endures to this day.

Los Zafiros starts with very humble beginnings. A bunch of kids in Havana got together to sing and play guitar. There wasn’t much of a plan to it, other than they enjoyed making music and were delighted when they started to get paid for it.

As their popularity grew, and record deals loomed, they settled on the name Los Zafiros. They became huge in Cuba, and soon their fame spread abroad, doing tours of Europe, the Soviet Union, and all over. They got caught up in the lifestyle of fast-living, heavy drinking, and women.

Although they broke up in the 70s, the music of Los Zafiros had a lasting legacy in Cuba. It was iconic for combining Latin styles like calypso and rumba, with African rhythms, and the doo-wop style of the US. The combination was seen to convey a distinctly Cuban identity.

Alas, the band hadn’t long split up when singer Ignatio died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage, only in his 30s. Then bandmate Kike died swiftly of an illness of the liver. In the 90s, El Chino also passed, and the remaining members live in Florida in the States.

But although time takes its toll, their music is still played and appreciated by generations of Cubans to this day. A great legacy to leave as part of the country’s cultural fabric.

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