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Buena Vista Social Club is a studio album by Cuban bandleader and musician Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder with traditional Cuban musicians, released on September 16, 1997 on World Circuit Records.
The album was produced by Cooder who travelled to Cuba to record sessions with the local musicians, many of whom were previously largely unknown outside Cuba. The musicians and the songs would later also appeared in the documentary of the same name Buena Vista Social Club by director Wim Wenders.
The music featured on the album was inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club, a membership club that was at its height during the 1940s and 1950s. Many of the musicians performing on the record were either former performers at the club or were prominent Cuban musicians during the era of the club’s existence. Other younger musicians on the record trace their musical roots back to pre-revolutionary Cuban music, mainly the famous Havana musical scene of the 1950s.
Buena Vista Social Club earned considerable critical praise and has received numerous accolades from music writers and publications. In 2003, the album was ranked number 260 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, one of only two albums on the list to be produced in a non-English speaking country. As of 2015, the album has sold over 12 million copies.
In 1996, American guitarist Ry Cooder had been invited to Havana by British world music producer Nick Gold of World Circuit Records to record a session where two African High-life musicians from Mali were to collaborate with Cuban musicians. On Cooder’s arrival (via Mexico to avoid the ongoing U.S. trade and travel embargo against Cuba), it transpired that the musicians from Africa had not received their visas and were unable to travel to Havana. Cooder and Gold changed their plans and decided to record an album of Cuban son music with local musicians. Already on board the African collaboration project were Cuban musicians including bassist Orlando “Cachaito” López, guitarist Eliades Ochoa and musical director Juan de Marcos González, who had himself been organizing a similar project for the Afro-Cuban All Stars. A search for additional musicians led the team to singer Manuel “Puntillita” Licea, pianist Rubén González and octogenarian singer Compay Segundo, who all agreed to record for the project.
Within three days of the project’s birth, Cooder, Gold and de Marcos had organized a large group of performers and arranged for recording sessions to commence at Havana’s EGREM Studios, formerly owned by RCA records, where the equipment and atmosphere had remained unchanged since the 1950s.Communication between the Spanish and English speakers at the studio was conducted via an interpreter, although Cooder reflected that “musicians understand each other through means other than speaking”. The album was awarded the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album and Tropical/Salsa Album of the Year By a Group at the 1998 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
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Celebrities who visited Cuba in 2015
Cuba has always been attractive to those who do not know it.
Not only its natural resources motivate visit, but its many tourist destinations, its beaches and keys, architectural eclecticism of its buildings, the warmth of its people and the peculiarities of their society.
Cuba has been visited by celebrities for years in a sporadic way, but the announcement of normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States has produced an avalanche of celebrities and personalities to the Greater Antilles: singers, musicians, athletes, filmmakers, members of European royalty, models, actors, politicians and many others.
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