Cuban Heat Hits Sarasota

Do you know that Cubans have made significant contributions to Sarasota’s culture and economy since the early 1800’s when Cuban fishermen and traders established fishing camps along Sarasota bay. These early settlers were drawn to Sarasota’s natural beauty and its proximity to Cuba.

The 1880s also saw the early growth of the cigar industry in Sarasota, attracting Cuban cigar makers, and in 1910 the first Cuban cigar factory opened in Sarasota. In the early 20th century, Sarasota began to attract a more diverse population, including Cuban cigar makers. The cigar industry was a major economic driver in Sarasota for many years, and Cubans played a significant role in its growth, especially as it relates to music.

Sarasota Events Calendar explored the history of Cubans in Sarasota, which led to a highly talented Cuban musician named Renesito Avich, Avich was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1989,. He began playing the Cuban guitar known as the “tres” at the age of 12, and quickly became one of the most promising young treseros in Cuba. He studied at the University of the Arts of Havana, where he graduated with honors.

The history of the tres stems from the second half of the 19th century in the eastern region of Guantánamo, and it is assumed to have developed from the 19th century Spanish guitar. The tres (Spanish for “three”) is a three-course chordophone of Cuban origin. It is a popular instrument in Cuban music, particularly in genres such as son and salsa. The tres has a distinctive sound that is produced by its three sets of double strings. The tres has a wide range of sounds, from bright and percussive to mellow and lyrical. It is a versatile instrument that can be used to play a variety of musical styles. The tres is also a popular solo instrument, and many treseros have developed their own unique playing styles.

Avich is known for his virtuosic playing of the tres, his innovative compositions, and his powerful vocals. He is a passionate advocate for Cuban music, and he is dedicated to keeping the tradition of the tres alive. “I immigrated to Sarasota because my parents moved here many years ago and it is beautiful, like Cuba,” says Avich, who in 2022 was a nominee for the Latin Grammy Awards. “In fact, I was highly inspired to record a 7-track album devoted to the sound of this instrument. It’s called “TRES.” The new album will be released in CD in October of this year, but can be streamed on Spotify, Youtube and other digital music platforms. Avich is also appearing on Broadway in October in the “Buena Vista Social Club.” If you happen to be in NYC, be sure to get a ticket to this hot musical. If you want to see him in Sarasota, you can do so by going to Art Ovation Hotel for a special concert in August.

One of the world’s most talented Cuban composer and musician debuts his newest CD, “TRES”

Want to learn more about Renesito?


Watch this video highlighting Renesito’s vast accomplishments.

Hear Renesito’s music here. 

Here are some of the key events in the history of Cubans in Sarasota:

1815: Some of the black and Seminole allies of the defeated British retreat to south Florida, including some Cubans.
1845: Florida becomes a state, and Sarasota is incorporated as a town.
1959: The Cuban Revolution leads to a wave of Cuban immigration to the United States, including Sarasota.
1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis brings the Cold War to Sarasota’s doorstep.
1980: The Mariel Boatlift brings thousands of Cubans to Sarasota.
1990s: The Cuban community in Sarasota continues to grow and thrive.

Today, the Cuban community in Sarasota is a vibrant and diverse part of the city’s fabric. They are proud of their heritage and culture, and they are committed to making Sarasota a better place to live.

Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

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