109. Buena Vista Social Club – “Buena Vista Social Club”.

I, like so many people fell in love with this bunch of haggard old Cubans through the stunning Wim Wenders doco of the same name.

buena-vista-social-club-album-coverThe film was a beautiful insight into the joy of music and the staying power of some ancient troubadours.

This album has been played to death around my place (as well as in many, many cafés around town). It’s been ages since I’ve seen the film (although I’m sure we own it on DVD). As such, I only vaguely remember what the subtitles to the tunes revealed. I seem to recall one was about being on fire(?).

That’s a bit academic anyway. The main point of the album is that it showcases a music that was pretty unfamiliar to me before the film. It’s a music that is sensuous and warm and heartfelt.

The various voices on here are all honey-smooth. The piano is delicate. The finger-picking flamenco-style guitar is light. The rhythms are subtle but hypnotic.

This is perfect dining music, lounging music and waltzing music.

Even the front cover is cool – Ibrahim Ferrer is a dude of the highest order – as is Ry Cooder for heading to Havana to record this time capsule and revitalise the various Clubbers’ careers.

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past decade, here’s a clip of what you’ve been missing out on:

File under: Buena Música


4 responses to “109. Buena Vista Social Club – “Buena Vista Social Club”.

  1. Thanks, man. These guys really are awesome. Too bad Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, and Ruben Gonzalez are all dead and gone now. They were so awesome together.

    I too fell in love with the Buena Vistas through the film. My Spanish teacher showed it to us in class a few weeks ago and I was the only one who liked the music. Everybody else I guess was too narrow-minded and liked their Seether or their Green Day or whatever too much to try something new. I’m always trying to expand my musical horizons and when I saw a used copy of this album yesterday, I had to have it. I’m sure it will bring me joy for a long time to come.

  2. Oh, and you’re right. Two of the songs are about fire. “Candela” is about Havana being on fire, and “El Cuarto de Tula” is about Tula’s room and consequently, Tula herself, being on fire. I don’t think either one is meant literally. There are some pretty suggestive lyrics, especially in “El Cuarto de Tula” which leads me to believe that these songs have got to be euphemisms for something other than what they are on the outside 😉

  3. I wonder who wrote the English sub-titles for the DVD. It’s a shame they use writers that are not fluent in the language nor are familiar with the idioms and slang terms that are being translated. As I listened to the singers and was reading the English subtitles, it was very funny and distracting to me. I finally found a copy that did not have the subtitles.

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