The Story of the Chicken Made of Rags

The Story of the Chicken Made of Rags

The Story of the Chicken Made of Rags is an old family tale handed down through generations. Nina Serrano’s Uncle Paul was raised in Cuba by his nanny, a slave who achieved freedom in 1886. In the 1930s, Uncle Paul told the tale, “La Gallina de Trapos” to Nina Serrano, the writer of the work. She passed it on to her own children, Valerie and Greg Landau. In the 1970s, the story was adapted for the stage, set in San Francisco. Phil Serrano composed the songs for the theater production. In 1991, Greg and Valerie spearheaded the production of a new audio drama.

Cover of Chicken Made of Rags CD

Cover of Chicken Made of Rags CD

Greg Landau, a four-time Grammy nominee, produced the music, inviting Soul Vibrations, an Afro-Nicaraguan Reggae and Palo de Mayo band, to join the project. These revolutionary Rastas bring back the Caribbean flavor to the story. An all-star San Francisco band completes the musical circle, including folk-diva Holly Near singing the role of the Chicken. Valerie Landau’s son, Camilo Landau, at the young age of ten, joined the cast as the Little Swan. In 2007, Camilo Landau presented the re-release of his family tale that spans generations. We hope you enjoy it.

CD Review

“What would Miss Manners say? A ragged, hardworking chicken receives an invitation to an upscale banquet and generously invites her motley flock of feathered friends to join in the festivities. The catch is, they’re not dinner guests—they’re dinner! This turn-of-the-century folktale is smartly updated with skateboards and slang, recycling and rap. But what turns the poor chicken, duck, goose, and swan’s saga into a real feast are the zingy, jazz-tinged, Caribbean-flavored songs, some featuring singer Holly Near. How the poultry eventually escape the villain chef’s pot is a charming lesson in teamwork, showing that even in the urban jungle, good can triumph over evil. And that’s a nice bit or reassurance for children.”
— Parenting Magazine

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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

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