The Music Fund was first established in memory of the singer Kirsty MacColl who was tragically killed by a power boat at the age of 41 whilst scuba diving with her sons in a restricted diving area off Cozumel, Mexico in December 2000. Kirsty was a wonderful friend to Cuba and sang a number of times at benefits for the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Her love of Cuba, its people and music inspired the founding of the Music Fund for Cuba and her mother Jean MacColl, mother is a trustee. Speaking at a fundraising event for the Fund Jean MacColl said:
“I am just very proud to be Kirsty’s mother. You know she went to Cuba very many times. After her death we wanted a memorial of some kind and we decided on a Music Fund to help all the young musicians in Cuba. On my first visit I took over £12000 of musical instruments, and of course now we are hoping to raise even more money for this important work”
In May 2005, Jean also wrote a letter to the Fund to say that close friends and family had travelled to Cuba to scatter Kirsty’s ashes off the coast of Havana. She said:
“This was a place were she found great musical inspiration and enjoyed the warmth and friendliness of fellow musicians and the Cuban people. ”
Cuban violinist and friend Omar Puente accompanied the simple ceremony with a piece especially composed for Kirsty. Jean said she had come to understand Kirsty’s passion for the island.
A permanent memorial to Kirsty is planned to be established in the renovated Miramar Theatre in Havana.
Listen to the moving BBC Radio tribute to Kirsty MacColl presented by Billy Bragg including excerpts of Kirsty speaking from Cuba