Why Mavericks' Raul Malo Is Excited About Cuban Band Sweet Lizzy Project

May 13, 2018
Originally published on May 14, 2018 8:26 am
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LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

We heard the story and wanted to learn more about the man who brought the Sweet Lizzy Project to the U.S., Raul Malo. Malo said he and the band first connected when he traveled to Cuba to film the PBS documentary "Havana Time Machine" all about the island's musical history.

RAUL MALO: They resonated with me immensely the fact that there are rock 'n' roll bands out of Cuba. And I relate to that because in Miami, when The Mavericks started, people thought, oh, my gosh, you know, what, he's starting a country band? It was almost the same thing like you're completely turning into something else or you're assimilating. And so I relate on that level. But also, honestly, I didn't want to see another group of great musicians languishing in obscurity on the island anymore. And so in many ways, their story is my story. It's all our story.

SINGH: And since it's Mother's Day, we had to ask him about his mom, who made all these musical stories possible.

MALO: Certainly my mom played a big role in my love for music. She had a great taste in music. I loved hearing all the Sinatra and Tony Bennett and Patsy Cline. And Elvis was probably my favorite. And when she made the connection for me and played me "O Sole Mio" that it was taken from an Italian aria, Well, that just made all kinds of connections for me - musical, spiritual. That was an earth-shattering moment. And so yeah, my mom played a big role in that.

SINGH: That's Raul Malo of The Mavericks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT'S NOW OR NEVER ")

ELVIS: (Singing) It's now or never. Come hold me tight. Kiss me, my darling. Be mine tonight. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.