Built in 1720 by a sea captain, Windsong House is a beautiful Bermudian family home wrapped by an ocean inlet. Boasting 8 bedrooms, the estate also offers a magnificent cedar library, multiple gallery spaces, an outdoor swimming pool and a manicured garden overlooking Riddell’s Bay. Nearby amenities include The new Carolina Bay Marina (future home of the Ritz Carlton Reserve), Fairmont Southampton Resort & Spa, and exquisite restaurants serving the catch of the day.
Born in Havana, Cuba with roots reaching to Africa, Asia, and even Spain, Cañizares grew up in Vedado (“forbidden” in Spanish), a large neighbourhood a few miles west of Old Havana and the epicentre of the city’s arts movement. As a child, her grandfather serenaded her on guitar, and her mother sang as she accompanied herself on piano.
So, at the age of three, Cañizares began singing and at age seven begin learning the piano herself. But after hearing the violin, describing it as “closer to the human voice” — she fell in love with the instrument. At age seven, she won a place at the prestigious Manuel Saumell Music Academy to study. But this was the austerity-hit 1990s, Cuba’s so-called ‘Special Period’— a euphemism for a period of economic crisis that was at its most severe in the early to mid-1990s. “It was tough getting musical equipment, getting anything,” remembers Cañizares.
But the complicated times only fuelled her creative spirit. Cañizares won the National Violin Contest of Cuba four times and in 1997, she was offered a scholarship to study in Caracas, Venezuela. Two years later, a masterclass with a visiting Swiss-based teacher changed her life. “He told me I was gifted and encouraged me.” Soon after, Cañizares found herself in Switzerland, studying at the Fribourg/Freiburg conservatory.
Eventually, Cañizares’ journey took a new direction. “I was inspired by [French jazz violinist] Stéphane Grappelli,” she says. He was a French violinist, and called “the grandfather of jazz violinists”. And at the end of her studies, Cañizares started the band Ochumare, with musicians from Germany, Venezuela, Switzerland, and Cuba. f Singing in Spanish, French, and Yoruba while playing the violin at the same time, Cañizares’ self-produced Ochumare was released in 2013. Invocacion, her latest release, is an homage to Cañizares’ family, Cuban women, her spirituality, but also pays tribute to icons such as French chanteuse Edith Piaf, Venezuelan composer Simón Diaz, and Cuban poet Luis Carbonell.
This tradition and reverence is mirrored in Cañizares’ live performances. Candles are lit, prayers are said, and offerings made. As the house lights dim, she’ll lean down and touch the stage floor. “It allows the music and the ancestors to flow through me,” says Cañizares, “to give to the audience all the love and all the passion I carry with me.”
It is who I am: a woman. A Cuban. A musician. A citizen of the world.”