Mango, Alphonso


During the 1950s, Alphonso Mango and his band, the Passionfruit Roulades, became Cuba’s most celebrated musicians, equally popular with the island’s impoverished people and its notoriously corrupt ruling elite.

However, unbeknown to President Batista and his venal entourage, the band was a clandestine revolutionary cell, using their music to convey coded messages to Fidel Castro and his followers in the Sierra Maestra mountains.

In 1956, their version of Puntillas por los Tulipanes was the signal for Castro to launch his insurgency and after two years of ferocious guerrilla warfare, Batista was forced into ignominious flight as Havana erupted in joyous celebration to the exuberant sound of Quien lo Sienta Ahora?

Throughout the sixties, Mango championed Cuba’s emerging talents, including Los Rodillos de la Ciudad de la Bahia, Polvoriento Campo de Primavera and Che, Che, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Che, and in 2017, Tesco marked the 25th anniversary of his death – and his outstanding musical legacy – by adding a sweet named after the band to their Finest range of desserts.