Armando and the Buena Vista Social Club

You may remember that a couple weeks ago I cooked dinner for my neighbor Armando’s 89th birthday, which we celebrated on the patio with dinner and beers. Armando left Cuba in 1958 for the USA and moved here upon his retirement 28 years ago.

During dinner I played my Buena Vista Social Club, and other Cuban music, CDs. The next day Armando asked to borrow the CDs for the day. I later made copies for him and mentioned that I had the Buena Vista Social Club video which documents Ry Cooder’s recruitment of the mostly older Cuban musicians who ultimately produced a Grammy winning CD and performed in Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall in New York. The lineup included such legendary singers as Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, and Company Segundo; piano virtuoso Ruben Gonzalez; guitarist Eliades Ochoa; and quiet a number of others. The selections of famous Cuba songs are augmented Ry Cooder’s subtle slide guitar contributions.

The video, which opens with Company Segundo searching an Havana neighborhood from the back seat of 1950s convertible for the long defunct Buena Vista Social Club, features interviews of each of the musicians in Cuba, followed by scenes of them in the Cuban recording studio, and then in concert at Carnegie Hall. It is a wonderful piece of work.

Armando asked to watch the video so Thursday we did. It was quite a treat for me to listen to Armando sing along with the songs he recognized from his earlier days.



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4 responses to “Armando and the Buena Vista Social Club

  1. El Macho Grande

    The movie is a masterpiece, and it revived the careers of several fine musicians. Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Gonzales have also issued excellent CDs. Some of the others did too. Cuban music is a well spring of African rhythems, and has many great geniuses. Unfortunatley the US embargo has stunted their access to the world market.

  2. You Know Me

    Ibrahim Ferrer was shining shoes when he was recruited into the group.

    By the way, El Macho, you were right. It is the Iguanas that are eating the leaves off my garden plants. I observe an 18 incher helping itself to a watermelon plant leaf the other day.

  3. El Macho Grande

    You should get some photos of that. On that note: How much storage capacity does the Blogger deal give you without charge?

  4. You Know Me

    I will try to get a picture of the Iguanas supping in my garden. I have a few pictures in my camera of a good sized Iguana walking along the wall of the bus maintenance garage across the back yard wall. Once I have them developed I will post a couple.

    As far as how much storage Blogger provides, I don’t know. I’ve checked their help section but haven’t yet found an answer. I must admit that I don’t understand how Google is able to pay for the free service. If I find out I’ll let you know.

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