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Ruth Hartnup

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Buena Vista Social Club [DVD] [1999]
Buena Vista Social Club [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Compay Segundo
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.98

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far more than the sum of its (very rhythmic) parts, 25 Jan. 2005
I got the CD for Christmas and to be honest, only really like two or three tracks. But the film knocked my socks off.
It's effectively a series of film portraits of great Cuban musicians, a record of their music and a recording of two concerts where they all came together in Amsterdam and in Carnegie Hall. But the sum of its parts is far more than that.
The filming is clever - it moves easily from recording session to interview to monologue to just great music. There's no obvious trickery though I'm sure some slick editing went into making it so watchable. The way the sounds blend between sections is inspired.
Somehow, music that I found annoyingly sentimental and a bit raucous when I listened to it, became wonderfully sentimental and energetic when I was watching it. It's a bit like the difference between seeing a great musician live and listening to a recording. The musicians are clearly enjoying themselves and really feeling the music they're making. I love watching talented improvisers feeding off each other like that. And having fun!
I'm going to listen to the music again, properly, and see if I like it any better now... some of the singing is not really my thing but Gonzalez was so fantastic, and Barbarito Torres, and the percussionist whose name I can't remember...
Partly, there was a feeling that the project (not the film so much as Cooder's recordings with Juan de Marcos Gonzalez) was an attempt to capture this stuff before everyone who knows it dies. But what really shone through was a sense of life, vivacity, and love of music.

by G.P. Taylor
Edition: Paperback

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly clumsy, 3 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Shadowmancer (Paperback)
This book has a clumsy plot, terrible use of language and charatcers with no depth. It's the worst children's book I have ever read, and that's really saying something.
I was shocked to find that it was published by Faber and Faber since it doesn't seem ever to have been seen by an editor. Books for children really ought to provide a better example of written English than this - sentences that consist of a string of clauses clumsily linked by commas are hardly inspiring.
The story is a thinly veiled Christian allegory and the writing often comes across more as an evangelical tract than a children's novel. The characters seem to have been designed so that people will describe them as 'colourful' or 'mysterious' but there's no substance to them at all. Motivation is non-existent, and the author seems to add little facts about them when it serves the story, without any hint of them before the event, so that they are very obviously plot devices rather than traits of well-rounded characters.
I finished the novel because I wanted to believe that the good reviews were justified, and that the novel would suddenly, magically improve towards the end. Sadly it remained clumsy throughout. I'm sorry for the over-use of the word but it really does sum it up for me.

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