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Buena Vista Social Club
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- Additional concert footage available only on DVD
- Musician Information
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Cooder has long sought out masters of "roots" music to learn from and play with. This time he found his way into a diamond mine, and the resulting three albums, "Buena Vista Social Club", "Afro-Cuban All-Stars" and "Introducing Ruben Gonzales" could all have won the 1998 Grammy award, as the former actually did.
The film follows the aging Son musicians around their native Cuba as they prepare for overseas concerts in both Holland and New York City. The city of Havana shows the effects of aging itself, run down and seedy, but, as with the musicians themselves, there is a spirit of unity and inner strength that overrides the worn down facade. That spirit emerges quickly as you see how deeply the Cubans feel their music. You also see a country that preserves the old and makes it work personified in the "antique" automobiles the Cubans use to get around.
Several musicians are featured in the film, but two gain the film's focus, jazz pianist Ruben Gonzales and singer Ibrahim Ferrer, the "Cuban Frank Sinatra". Gonzales no longer has a piano and plays one in a gymnasium reserved for Cuban gymnasts. Ferrer feels the public no longer appreciates his music and is shining shoes to supplement a tiny retirement. Ry Cooder and his son Joachim (sp?Read more ›
The musicians are elderly, their musical skills developed from childhood and they are living memorials to the music they love. Once renowned in Cuba in the 40's and 50's, these men have lived through upheaval and changes in their country, and yet approach life with joy and freshness. The camera picks up the wrinkles, but it also picks up the twinkle in the eye of 91 year old guitarist/singer Compay Segundo who playfully talks about fathering another child to add to his family, or lead singer 70 year-old Ibraham Ferrer's affection for this wife, the 80-year old pianist Ruben Gonzolez who finds it hard to walk, but has no trouble making his fingers fly over the keyboard. Omera Portuando, the lone sultry female, adds an ageless feminine presence to the group.
This is not just a movie about the music. The movie IS the music. And there are long musical sequences which will delight anyone with a serious musical interest. The movie is also about the individual people, whose interviews against the backdrop of a crumbling, but lively Cuba are testaments to the human spirit. Before they were rediscovered for this film, one of the men was shining shoes; another was working in a cigar factory. Politics are never mentioned, but the 1940s and 50s American cars and the disintegrating buildings is evidence of politics gone haywire four decades ago.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting documentary that was full of music and information!Published 1 month ago by Jennifer Cisneros
I love these guys, and their music. Fascinating men, and they enjoyed making the dvd, and performing again. I loved all the Cubans and their music. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Edna L. King-Miller
This is my family whom i am proud of My uncle has since joined the ancestors but he was happyPublished 2 months ago by Dr P
will not play on my blu ray, it came from Germany, I was not informed it would be on a different formatPublished 3 months ago by Richard Cruz
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