I, María de los Ángeles Esteves, aka Cuca, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am a writer, musician and multimedia explorer. In short, a hybrid. When I was eight, with my sisters we created Editorial Casa, a publishing house, and until I was fourteen, I wrote and “published” a book every summer.
At the age of nine I started my piano studies at the Music Conservatory of San Martín, and from there my dilemma never ended: Music or Literature? I graduated in 1991 with the degrees of Music Teacher and Piano Instructor.
I participated in writing workshops between 1989 and 1994 with Roberto DeVita and Mempo Giardinelli. In 1991 with a local group of writers, from La Cooperativa El Hogar Obrero, I published in two anthologies: the short story “Perfume azulado,” in Parte de la Ficción, and also in the magazine Generación Abierta a la Cultura; and the poems “En tren a Avellaneda” and “Absoluto” in Poemas al Paso.
In 1994 I was admitted to the Ecole de Musique de Genevilliers, and later to the Regional Paris Conservatory, France, where continued with my music studies in composition and electroacoustic music.
In 1997 I moved to The Hague, The Netherlands, to study composition and electronic music at the Royal Conservatory.
Upon graduation in 2001 I moved to California, where between 2004 and 2006 I completed the MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts, at UC Riverside. I started an MA in Composition, but I didn’t finish it. My thesis included two works: the production and performance of Identidad , which includes text and music arrangements, graphics, video, and dance scenes; and Spoken Music , a collection of spoken word and poems to be read aloud.
Some of these pieces where performed at RedCat, Highways Performance Space, like “Two Dried Apricots and a Rotten Walnut”, MOLA, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Galery 9 Division, the Electric Lodge, among others.
Between 2005-2018, I also worked with the writers Alicia Kozameh, Sebastian Olaso, and Merce Company. And yes, I’ve been writing, but not publishing until now. Cronicas Schevingeanas, my first book of hybrid poetry, is coming soon amid these pandemic times! It is kind of bilingual Spanish and English, but mostly Spanish. An English version will come out as soon as I finish all the translations. And, hopefully, a Dutch version too!
My publishing credits in English include the essay “Life in 2030?” in Salty Magazine in 2005, the short story “Marta” in Crate Magazine, also in 2005, a selection of poems from Love Songs From the Desert written at the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency, in July 2009 in the American Free Journal.
In Spanish, other than the earlier publications, the short story “Mónica” in the online magazine from Cal State Northridge Umbrales, the poem “Frasquitos” in Naranjas y Nopales, a publication of the Tomas Rivera endowment at UCR, an Interview to Alicia Kozameh in the Argentinean magazine Generación Abierta a la Cultura in August 2009, the short story “Marta” in the online magazine The Barcelona Review in November 2009 http://www.barcelonareview.com/69/s_mae.html, the short-story “Contame tu vida” in Resonancias.org, and “El oráculo” and “Beatriz” in Palabra Abierta.
In 2015, I published Los Laberintos de Cleo, a children’s book with CD included with my own music, with Las Meninas Cartoneras, in Madrid, for which I made a presentation with string toys and my beloved toy piano in El Retablo de Maese Pedro, in Madrid, in November 2015, and in Buenos Aires, in December 2015 in La Casona de Los Títeres.
In music, the last big work I completed was the Music for choreographer Meg Wolfe and her piece New Faithful Disco produced by RedCat Theater, Los Angeles and premiered in January 2016 at the RedCat Theater. It was performed later in many festivals and theaters across the USA, winner of the Los Angeles Performance Awards in 2016 https://www.redcat.org/event/meg-wolfe-new-faithful-disco.
In June 2018 I also did the music for the video “Lampedusa” by artists Anna Kurticz and Rudek, with my music, a little improvisation on the toy piano.
In between 2013 and now, I also did recordings and performances of my own songs with TRES (Ilein Bermudez, cello, Anabell Febles, percussion and voice, and I, piano and voice) and with Ilein alone. You can find them on this website and on SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/cucaesteves). I also performed a kind of mix of text, spoken word and music (toy piano, cajon, and voice) at the Café de Mol in September 2018. (Here one of them, Aquel Desgraciado, version with cajon only).
In 2013, was the first presentation of “Kronkel”, with Marcel Kaars, an installation for children during Zinder, a Theater Festival for children organized by NTJong and Stella Theater at the Theater aan het Spui, in The Hague. On this installation, I based the children’s book.
In 2012, I played the piano for the presentation of the CD Portretten/Retratos at the Sinagoge, Delft, September 23rd, 2012. I also did three of the arrangements of songs written by Jacqueline Castro Ravelo for the CD, and also performed for the recording on August 25-26th, 2012.
I also did the recording of the “Thirteen Songs from the Year of Death”: my first solo album of songs in English (mostly); mix of folk, pop, tango and chacarera, at the Egbert Schagen studio in Rotterdam, in February 2012.
During the years I composed music for dance (New Faithful Disco and The Return of Captain Ladyvoice, both by choreographer Meg Wolfe, and others), experimental theater (Demotic and The Roman Forum, by Antoinette LaFarge and Robert Allen, presented at The Baltimore Theater Project and the Beal Center for the Arts at UCI); I also made multimedia pieces such as my Master Thesis Piece, Identidad, wrote music for film and documentaries, and I was the producer for the documentary The Rise and Fall of Irvine Meadows West, worked for the radio, writing music and short radio pieces, such as the music for The Breast Cancer Monologues, by Dmae Roberts, which was aired in the National Public Radio. For Radio Resonance I created “We’re All Gonna Be Homeless Pretty Soon.”
Here in The Netherlands, as a student, I participated in the Gaudeamus Composition Festival and Competition in 2001 with L’Opera Desnuda, a contemporary opera, and had my Lorca’s Songs aired and recorded by the Concertzender Radio.
Improvisation has always been a big part of my artistic explorations, such as in 2007 at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, In Constant Flux, an improvisation festival in June 2007, with the Bapudi Collective, and I made the film, On Memory II: I Love you, presented at the CCRMA Stage / Stanford University in April, and performed live with the Bapudi Collective in “In Constant Flux” at Highways Performance Space in June, among other things.