Movies, Documentary, Music, The Rest

Buena Vista Social Club

No Comments 5 July 2015

Buena Vista Social Club

An alternative title for this music documentary could be, “Grandpa and Grandma rock!”  For music lovers this documentary by the German filmmaker Wim Wenders is a charmer.

Ry Gooder, an American guitar player, visited Cuba in the 1970s.  He fell in love with Cuban music and wanted to do something with Cuban music but did not know what. Only twenty year later he came up with a good idea:  to record an album with the great’s of Cuban music in the 1940s. He invited Wim Wenders to join him in Havana and film the brining together of a Cuban all-star band of musicians now were already in the 70s, 80s and 90s. This 1999 documentary does not have the drama of “Sugarman” but it also beautifully shows how largely forgotten musicians became famous internationally late in life because of making the “Buena Vista Social Club” recording and this film.  Ry Gooder was fined $25,000 for violating the US embargo forbidding Americans to do business in Cuba. I am glad he was willing to pay the price. The music is splendid. Seeing the street life of Havana reminded me of Eastern Europe under communism. The countries had no money for new buildings and cars. Material life seems to have stood still since decades earlier.  Compared to the Eastern European cities under communism, the buildings in Havana are a lot more colorful and if I may say, the people are also a lot more cheerful. I am going to buy myself the soundtrack to the film and also buy a record by the wonderful singer “Ibrahim Ferrer.” 

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Peter

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