Buena Vista Social Club

Published on January 1st, 2016

Buena Vista Social Club

Eliades Ochoa, Barbarito Torres | Credit La Diosa

Eliades Ochoa, Barbarito Torres | Credit La Diosa

When American bottleneck guitar hero/roots music scion Ry Cooder came together with Cuban musician and bandleader Juan de Marcos Gonzalez to make the Buena Vista Social Club album in 1997, the intentions were undoubtedly less grandiose — though none-the-less noble — than the resulting impact that record would have upon the world. In fact, the record was recorded as a means to salvage an entirely different collaborative project featuring the American guitar wizard and Cuban maestro, that had to be scrubbed after the African musicians it intended to feature were snared in visa issues and unable to travel to Cuba from their native Mali. The tale of how the record came to be is a compelling one, indeed; so compelling that Cooder’s longtime friend and famed filmmaker, Wim Wenders, would go on to make an award-winning documentary telling its story.

The record and documentary both took their name from a popular members’ club that was popular in Cuba prior to the revolution, and the record featured performances by many of the formerly famous musicians that had been mainstays at said club in its heyday — many of whom had faded into various states of obscurity under communist rule. These charming and talented musicians were finally given the spotlight they so rightly deserved through the record and film, and, perhaps more importantly, the music of Cuba — one of the most vibrant and unique facets of its culture — was brought to the masses in a way it had never been before.

While many of the star players of the Buena Vista Social Club have passed on since the film’s release in the late ‘90s, guitarist and singer Eliades Ochoa and laud player Barbarito Torres are still alive and well and will be performing at Miami’s luxurious Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater on January 16th. For those who have already been charmed by the album and film, this is a rare opportunity to enjoy the sonic delights of its stars in the flesh, and for those who have not, this is perhaps the perfect introduction to the realm of the Buena Vista Social Club. 

January 16th. Doors open at 7pm for this performance. Admission ranges from $55-155 per ticket. The Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater is located at 1700 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, Call 305-673-7300

~ Von Bader

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