Bola De Nieve
His name may have been Ignacio Villa, but among Cubans, this Afro-Cuban Jazz legend was affectionately known as "Snowball" for his large shaved head. A talented pianist and prolific composer, his voice bellowed startlingly in a rhythmic cadence that showed his African roots. As a Cuban piano man, he performed in cabarets and hotels, but he maintained artistic integrity by playing his own original material in a distinctly mannered style. With a background in classical music, he integrated jazz and, most importantly, Afro-Cuban rhythms and song into his lyrical, yet explosive form. His vocal delivery was more spoken than sung, creating an intimate feel like a good storyteller. A popular performer in pre-revolutionary Cuba, Villa maintained a prominent cultural position in Cuba's new socialist state.