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Frailan Moran Mendive

Programme 1: 6 January 2008
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Bob Kelly travels to Cuba to meet the family of Frailan Moran Mendive, a professional drummer, who left behind Latin roots and rhythms for an Irish wife, Audrey Bridgeman, whom he taught drumming to in Havana.

Frailan is truly Cuban, despite his Irish sounding second name. Bob travels back to Havana to meet up with Frailan's old friends, who are involved in the local music scene. Frailan himself taught and played at the Cuban National School of Music in Havana, where he met and fell in love with Audrey Bridgeman, herself from a famous Irish drumming family.

Eventually, Audrey persuaded him to leave Cuba and move to North Dublin. After enjoying the heady sights and sounds of Havana, Bob travels west to Pinar Del Rio, where he witnesses a Santeria ceremony and eats a home cooked meal and drinks rum with Frailan's Dad. Finally, Bob meets Frailan's grandmother of 101, who has witnessed a whole century of change and who is an avid fan of Fidel Castro.


Factfile on Cuba


11.2 million




Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic ocean


47% Catholic, 4% Protestant, 2% Santería (many Catholics also practice Santería)


Cuba is the last remaining western country with a communist government. Almost 50 years after the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro remains Head of State and leader of the Communist Party. Raul Castro is Fidel's chosen successor.

Main industries:

Tourism, sugar, nickel, tobacco and agriculture

Famous Cubans:

Fidel Castro: Revolutionary and unchallenged leader

Che Guevara: Although born in Argentina, he came to represent the revolutionary spirit of Cuba

Buenos Vista Social Club: Members included Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo and Ruben Gonzalez

Bob Kelly in Cuba
Bob Kelly in Cuba
Bob Kelly with Frailan's Dad
Bob Kelly with Frailan's Dad
Bob Kelly in Cuba
Bob Kelly in Cuba
Bob Kelly in Cuba
Bob Kelly in Cuba