Filmmaker Daniela Muñoz Barroso has lost most of her hearing, and can barely hear high frequencies at all. She uses her eyes not only to see, but also to listen. And yet Barroso has developed a fascination for Gladys Esther Linares, aka Mafifa, a female musician who played the bell, a metal percussion instrument prominent in Cuban conga. Mafifa died 40 years ago, at a far-too-young age.
In this very personal road movie, Barroso goes in search of the traces that Mafifa left behind in Santiago de Cuba and the surrounding area. She speaks to people who knew Mafifa and shared her passion for the conga. Everyone describes her as an extraordinary person and a brilliant bell player, who didn’t care about the machismo around her.
Barroso explores every detail with her camera: beautiful landscapes, neighborhoods that have seen better days, and weather-beaten bodies that speak of a hard life. The deeper Barroso dives into her quest, the more Mafifa becomes a mirror for her own fears.