Florida International University (FIU)

Diaz-Ayala Cuban and Latin

American Popular Music Collection

Smithsonian Affiliate































:: The World’s Best Cuban Music Collection at FIU

FIU's Green Library hosts the world's best Cuban music collection. The entire collection has approximately 100,000 items that span the history of popular Cuban and other Latin Music. Valued at nearly 1 million, the collection features 25,000 LPS; 14,500 78 rpms; 4,500 cassettes containing radio interviews with composers and musicians; 4,000 pieces of sheet music; 3,000 books; and thousands of CDs, photographs, videocassettes and paper files. Among the collection's rarest items are recordings made in pre-revolutionary Cuba. 

This collection is a donation by Cristobal Diaz Ayala, author of the definitive book on Cuban music and producer of recent CD boxed set 100 Cuban Songs of the Millennium.



:: About the Collector

Cristobal Diaz-Ayala  

Born: June 20, 1930; Havana, Cuba

Education: Journalism School; Havana in 1952 BA Social Sciences; University of Havana, Havana, Cuba 1953. JD, Law School, University of Havana, Havana, Cuba 1953. Admitted to the Bar, Puerto Rico, 1966.

Radio and TV: Producer and host of CUBANACAN, weekly radio program, 1979-1992; WIPR, WEUC and WRTU radio stations. Guest appearances and panelist in radio and TV programs in Puerto Rico and other countries.

Awards and Honors: INTRE Award, 1981, 1985-1986 and 1988-1989, from Instituto Teleradial de Puerto Rico, for Cubanacan Radio Program. FESTIVAL DEL CARIBE MEDAL, Cartagena, Columbia, 1994 ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collectors) 1994 Award to Discografia de la Musica Cubana for best research in the field of recorded folk or ethnic music.



:: Description of the Collection

Started prior to 1960 in Cuba, re-started all over again in Puerto Rico in 1960, up to this date. At present the collection comprises approximately 100,000 units:


Books and magazines




78rpm records


45rpm records










Sheet music, catalogues, brochures


Folders, ("libretas", with chips), indexes, etc...


Copies of RCA-Victor's green cards


Billboards and lobby cards of Mexican movies


Books for sale


This is a growing collection; therefore the above figures show the approximate size of the collection.

A Few Details About the Collection

  1. About 95% of it covers Latin American music. The remaining is jazz, classical, European and international pop music.
  2. Cassettes contain copies of hard to get 78's gathered from all over the world, radio programs of special significance, interviews with composers, singers and musicians, etc. The collection is most comprehensive in Cuban music, in addition to a very substantial one in Latin American music.
  3. The book collection covers many hard to get books published in different Latin countries about popular and folkloric music.
  4. Clips, files, etc. if counted by individual pieces number more than 100,000 all alphabetically filed.
  5. Videocassettes include Latin movies--mostly Mexican--with musical numbers by important singers such as Pedro Vargas, Jorge Negrete. The collection also includes special "live" programs produced in Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc., as well as movies produced in Cuba.

:: FIU Diaz-Ayala Related Resources Online





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