Ignacio “Nachito” Herrera

From: Havanna, Cuba  Current City: White Bear Lake, MN
"It’s time to commit yourself to become a double image because you can’t get rid of why you left Cuba; that is not possible. At the same time, it’s a completely new life you’re living here."
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Nachito Herrara had rarely considered emigrating from Cuba; a world-renowned musician, he regularly toured the United States for months at a time – why would he desire changing his citizenship? But when the US-Cuba cultural exchange was terminated, he lost freedoms he had grown accustomed to. Nachito’s wife called from Havana and told him to stay in Minneapolis.

Mr. Herrera, a child prodigy, frequently put aside new toys to practice piano when he was young. And his formal musical tutelage began at the age of seven under the renowned Jorge Gómez Labraña. This classical training fused with his passion for Latin jazz over time, creating his distinctive sound.

After deciding to reside in the United States, Nachito was separated from his family for several years – the events of 9/11 delayed the reunion further. And though his wife and two children were able to join him eventually, his immediate family’s separation from their extended family in Cuba remains a sorrowful component of their life in the United States.

Despite these challenges, Mr. Herrera is incredibly grateful for opportunities the United States provides him. He doesn’t see himself solely as a musician and teacher; he sees himself as a role model for future generations of musicians. In this vein, he and his wife started the Nachito Herrera Foundation – an organization that provides scholarships to underprivileged immigrant children desiring to learn music.

For additional information, visit: nachitoherrera.com

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