Wednesday, April 30, 2008

buena vista social club

the buena vista social club was a members only club in havana that burgeoned in the 1940s. the club served as a sanctuary for musicians and artists during an era when there was very little money to earn and fewer

In 1996 Nick Gold of World Circuit Records arranged for Ry Cooder (an american guitarist) to Havana to make an album with cuban musicians. the album, titled Buena Vista Social Club, was recorded in six days and featured fourteen tracks. when the album was released in 1997 it was a huge hit selling 5 million copies. rolling stone named it album #260 on its 2003 list of the greatest albums of all time. one of the tracks was called "buena vista social club", and became an instant hit all over the world.

in 1999 Cooder returned to Cuba and teamed up with PBS to make a documentary titled Buena Vista Social Club on the group of the cuban musicians who included Ibrahim Ferrer, Juan de Marcos González, Rubén González, Pio Levya, Manuel "Puntillita" Licea, Orlando "Cachaito" López, Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal, Eliades Ochoa, Omara Portuondo, Compay Segundo, Barbarito Torres, Amadito Valdés, and Joachim Cooder. it shows the group of anti communist cubans in new york city, havana, and amsterdam. "n the end, Buena Vista is not just an extended music video, and not simply a documentary, either. The interweaving of visual formats, songs, stories and, most of all, indelible characters, brings us to that much closer to the subject at hand. For 101 minutes, we truly commune with the Island and its people, with its history, with its future," pbs writes.

i remember my brother giving my mom the buena vista social club album a long time ago and it stayed in the disc player of her car for, like, four years. listening to the buena vista social club makes me want to to be in an old apartment in havana with an apron on dancing around and cooking dinner with a bottle of red wine in my hand.

here's a link to a great nytimes article on them.

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