This week, President Obama bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on 16 celebrated Americans, one of them a Cuban-American widely considered one of the world's greatest living jazz artists.
The cover of Arturo Sandoval's 1991 album "Flight to Freedom" features a photo of the musician wearing a smart suit and a radiant smile, his right hand gripping his trumpet, his left curled into a triumphant fist. Just one year before the release of that album, Sandoval was living in Cuba under the Castro regime.
As a child, Aaron Lebos was given a choice of two musical instruments: piano or violin. He chose the piano and spent the next six years dedicated to the instrument, winning five state-wide competitions.
But at the age of 11, he picked up the guitar.
More than a decade later he's still strumming it.
You can hear Aaron’s music in this week’s WLRN story "Piñata," a work of fiction by Jeremy Glazer. You can listen to "Rita" and "Pravda" below: