ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Buena Vista Social Club Carnegie Hall: Review

Updated on June 13, 2015
Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club | Source

A musical Cuban celebration of life

The original Buena Vista Social Club recording was, and still remains, a huge commercial success. We listen to it often - or we watch the DVD. We both fell in love with it many years ago.

Now a new concert recording

When these musicians performed at the famous Carnegie Hall and that was released,we wondered if there was any point in buying it - we loved the original and thought it couldn't be bettered. We were wrong.

The story behind this incredible music

It begins in 1996 guitarist Ry Cooder went to Cuba to record the music of musicians from Mali. Luckily (for us) the musicians weren't allowed into Cuba because of immigration difficulties and this is when Cooder made his fabulous discovery...

The Buena Vista Social Club

Yes, this had been a genuine social club back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. It was a popular meeting place for musicians. Ry Cooder discovered that many of these people were still alive - so his project was born.


Music for everyone

I'd never known much about Cuban music. I wasn't attracted to this by a fondness for the genre. This is, quite simply, music that will make you happy.

These musicians hadn't had an easy life and now, they were old people. I believe that the oldest, at the time of the original recording, was in his late eighties.

Many, despite their age, had to work doing menial jobs - several used to work on the streets shining shoes - and we all know about the privations that exist in Cuba.

Nevertheless, they had (and in the cases of those who are still living, still have) an amazing joie de vivre. This is very evident when you watch them perform and this celebration of life comes across completely in their music.

Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club

We saw the documentary before we bought the music. Yes, we could put the DVD on at any time when we were at home but we wanted to be more mobile. Nevertheless, we still watch the documentary regularly. I have always wanted to visit Cuba (and hope to do so one day) and this captures the essence of the country so well, in addition to letting us meet the amazing characters behind this astonishing music. The music and the DVD together make a remarkable gift.There are also some incredibly moving moments in this classic documentary.

 
Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club

This is the original recording. It was released in 1997 and several of the musicians who perform on this are no longer with us - hardly surprising when you consider their ages. As time passes, sadly more will be taken from us. I am so glad that I have this. It's available in several formats (even on vinyl!) but we have the CD. Like the CD featured above, you can also purchase individual MP3s which is a good way to experience a sample of this fabulous music but I'm sure that a few MP3s or looking at the videos on this page will convince you that you need the full album.

 

Meet just one of the musicians in his solo album.

Introducing Ruben Gonzalez
Introducing Ruben Gonzalez

I decided to feature just one of the individual musicians on this page and deciding which one wasn't easy. But this is one of the several we have and I think it's very special, Gonzalez was born in 1919 so 88 when this, his debut CD, was made. You can learn a lot more about him in the documentary above. This is wonderful music and is bound to become a collectors' item in the future.

 

Now this is just amazing - watch a 92 year old guitarist.

From the Carnegie Hall concert.

The documentary's trailer.

A triumph for old age

To coin a phrase, these amazingly talented people were on the scrap-heap. They were old, probably felt useless and largely ignored.

What they achieved demonstrated to people everywhere that we all - whatever our age may be - have something to contribute to society.

I think that's a wonderful thing. Let me know what you think about this aspect, plus the music of course, in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Diana Wenzel: Enjoy! I was so sad that these fabulously talented musicians were unknown, isn't it? But how wonderful that they were discovered.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      Oh how I love all of the Buena Vista Social Club music (and the documentary, too). This music, and the musicians, make me happy. What a Cinderella story (Carnegie Hall). Your review makes me want to head right over to my iTunes playlist to crank up some of their awesome music. In fact, that's what I'm going to do right now. :-)

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Adventuretravels: Thank you! What I love is that the musicians themselves have such a great time when performing. That really makes it extra special.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna 

      4 years ago from Perth UK

      Love Cuban music you're very right when you say it makes you happy. It's dancing party music. Nice lens. Thanks

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)