Buena Vista Social Club
A CURZON FILM
Wim Wenders’ recording of the Cuban all-stars band helped introduce the world to these consummately gifted and charismatic performers.
In 1996, Ry Cooder helped bring together a group of legendary Cuban musicians under the banner of Buena Vista Social Club, the name of a popular 1940s members bar in the Buenavista quarter of Havana. Amongst the performers were guitarist and singer Compay Segundo, pianist Rúben Gonzalez, singer Ibrahim Ferrer, singer and guitarist Eliades Ochoa and singer Omara Portuondo. Their eponymous album, released in 1997, was a huge hit. On the announcement of a world tour, Wenders joined the band, recording them in concert.
Cooder had previously worked with Wenders on the evocative score for the director’s 1984 road movie Paris, Texas. Here, Wenders intersperses his record of the concerts with personal reminiscences by the band of early years as musicians and performers in Batistsa’s pre-revolutionary Cuba and what life was like under Castro’s regime. What emerges is a riveting combination of music by a veteran band still at the top of their game and a fascinating personal insight into the history of a country.
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