on 21 February 2006
In terms of sound, this is probably the closest you get to a true Cuban cafe somewhere in Cienfuegos. As many of you may know the songs on this DVD-A already, I will limit my comment to the sound quality. It's simply superb! If you own the film on DVD (in DD 5.1) already and have a DVD-A player at home, don't hesitate! It's better sound quality and the songs are not interrupted. Remix well done Mr. Cooder!
on 12 September 2000
I have no words to describe how brilliant this recording is. Buena Vista Social Club bring alive the music that has sustained Cuba as far back as the 1920s. Listening to the likes of Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez, Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo and Omara Portuondo paint a picture of a vibrant and soulful Cuba from the not too distant past. Needless to say, all musicians on this album have such incredible talent, that it is difficult to believe that we've missed out on such a musical extravagance for over 50 years. I have not come across a singer that can deliver such heartfelt passion in their music like Ibrahim Ferrer (83) and Compay Segundo (93), but the person that moved me the most on this recording was the 77 year old pianist Ruben Gonzalez. You just have to listen to PUEBLO NUEVO and MURMULLO to realise this man's incredible talent. It is hard to believe that Ruben virtually had given up playing due to arthritis in his hands, and that he has no piano at home.
It is amazing to think that none of the musicians received recognition at the height of their careers, and seeing their current living conditions is a humbling experience. Nonetheless, I am happy that they achieved fame at last. All songs on this album are masterpieces, and this album will move you like no other. This recording is worth ten times its price, and it is one of my most treasured items in my music collection. It is a nostalgic, yet brilliant piece of Cuba.
on 26 December 2004
If you love music you'll adore this masterpiece. Hauntingly beautiful from start to finish it's melodic, intoxicating, sensual latin rythms will transport you to a place and time that only true passion can. Shut your eyes and open your mind to something truly extraordinary that you rarely come across, perhaps once or twice in a lifetime of music. I love music in all it's shapes and forms but this recording of real musicians creating something magical will outlive anything you've heard before. This music is beyond mere ratings, it is immensely powerful, passionate and of a beauty indescribeable. Once played never forgotten.
on 11 December 1999
A truly amazing album, full of quality music which is impossible to dislike. There are obviously tracks which stand out as something special among the many on this album, "Chan Chan" and "El Carretero" especially. The album is tinged with the magic touches of many previously forgotten Cuban musicians, from the bubbly Ibrahim Ferrer, alongside Compay Segundo and Eliades Ochoa , to, of course, the genius that is Ruben Gonzalez. Their personalities shine through in this pure music, and one can sense that they enjoyed making this record as much as fans love their music. Viva el son de cuba!
on 23 June 2000
This is the record that started all the recent Cuban craze. A simplified version of the story: Son, danzon and bolero were played in thriving clubs in Havana before WWII and in years following it. Compay Segundo, Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo and the rest were masters of the art. Then in 1959 Castro liberated - or invaded, as you like it - Cuba and virtually isolated it from the rest of the world. And while outside the music became MTV-ized and globalized to the point where the music produced in Sweden is indistinguishable from that made in California, the guys in Cuba continued to do what they did best: they played son, danzon and bolero - all until Ry Cooder discovered them in 1997 and turned them into a success that vastly overshadowed his own musical efforts.
Actually, getting them together required some detective work, as some of them have already given up their musical careers. Hardly surprising: Ruben Gonzales is 80, and Compay Segundo is 92. Buena Vista Social Club - named after an actual club in Havana, demolished already for decades - provides an anthological overview of styles played 50 years ago, and the sound you might recognize on your father's (or grandfather's) LP's. Well, almost - Ry Cooder felt the urge to put some personal touch on the whole thing, in form of slide guitar (cf. "Orgullecida"). I wish he could resist the temptation. Still, it's a very beautiful and romantic record, one that makes you ask your sweetheart for a dance.
CD comes with a 48-page booklet, which includes bilingual (Spanish/English) lyrics and some accompanying text. If you like this record, you might also want to check the solo albums that followed. There is also a pseudo-documentary movie by the same name, directed by Wim Wenders. And, go and check whether Afro-Cuban All Stars are touring somewhere near you.
on 31 July 2000
Buena Vista Social Club and Juan De Marcos'Afro-Cuban All Stars played Hyde Park on 29 July 2000. Considering the ages of the stars of the show it was an unlikely sell-out gig!
This album, which reintroduced the world to the stars of pre-revolution Cuba, is the most glorious combination of Cuban music and evokes a sense of imagination and vivacity that is sadly lacking in today's mass-produced, copycat pop culture. The Buena Vista Social Club know how to enjoy themselves and it shows!
This should be on everyone's all-time greatest albums list
on 18 January 2001
Being the last person you'd ever expect to listen to Cuban music (my collection of metal CDs would show that), this album really stuck in my mind. It is an incredibly emotive record - perfect to chill out to. The musicians know exactly how to create the perfect musical effect, and at times, the listener is made to feel like they're physically in the recording session.It's a fantastic experience, and the effortlessly impeccable production only adds to the already perfectly polished bigger picture. This is an album for people who genuinely love music. Don't ask me to name a preferred song, because the genius of the work lies in the sum of the parts.
on 18 July 2001
My 19-year-old daughter was given this album for her birthday by a way cool student friend. She played it in her bedroom that weekend and we bought it the same day. I played it to my mother and she bought it. This from a lady who hasn't bought herself a CD before in her life!
This is not boring old fogey music, this is a vibrant moving example of what happens when a long long lifetime of musical talent, dedication and enthusiasm meet younger producers and party. It's probably EVEN BETTER if you speak Spanish; so a Columbian friend assures me anyway.
Unless you really can't face the idea that a man of over 20 who doesn't spit, swear or wear baggy trousers could possible have something for you, BUY THIS CD! It's marvellous!! And come to think of it, the trousers are pretty baggy too.
on 9 April 2004
This is absolutely fantastic, if you do not own this album- own it now! From the very start you will be amazed and totally intoxicated by the music- its performed with so much passion it will leave you gobsmacked. "Candela" is bloody brilliant, in fact every song is fantastic. Its the kind of album you can listen to to suit all your moods and situations, whether it be relaxing on a sunday afternoon or before goin out partying on a friday night. So in short its superb! (There are not enough superlatives to review this gem of an album.)
on 15 May 2000
For some reason, albums come along that you know you are going to like before you have even bought them. Such was the case with the Buena Vista Social Club. I can't even remember where I'd heard about it, but such is the effect it's had on me on and my wife (who is not a great music lover) that we are now even talking about going to Cuba on the strength of one album. Believe me when I say that is quite a shift on both mine and my wife's part. I've not said anything about the music yet and I find it difficult to know where I start. I've started singing along to the words being sung, yet I don't know what they mean - they just seem right. However my favourite track is number 4 'Pueblo Nuevo'. For me there is a mixture of everything, classical, 'cuban' (whatever that is, but I feel I know), jazz and some other styles. It probably is unfair to single out one track, but that, in the case of most reviews, is what people fail to do. I didn't want to fall into that trap. However (as if to go back on what I've just said) the whole album is an experience. Please try it. I'm not saying it will be life changing, but I believe it will make you feel good. I wish I'd found out about the music sooner, though I suspect that had I done that, this album would still ahve been special as it suggests the musicians themselves were finding things out about themselves as well.