Buena Vista Social Club
- Carlos Palomares
Cuban popular dance music ensemble. The Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon grew out of a recording session in 1996 put together by British record promoter Nick Gold, the American guitarist Ry Cooder, and the Cuban bandleader Juan de Marcos González. The ad hoc Cuban ensemble included musicians drawn from Cuba’s lively music scene along with a number of elderly musicians who had achieved success decades earlier. Together, they recorded a variety of Cuban musical forms, including son, bolero, guajira, and danzón, that were popular in the Havana nightclubs of 1940s and 50s, the so-called golden era of Cuban music. Targeted initially for a niche world music audience, the recording Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit, 1997) earned critical and commercial success, winning a Grammy and selling over eight million units. Helping to propel its remarkable popularity was a 1999 documentary film of the same name, directed by Wim Wenders, which followed the musicians recording a follow-up album in Havana and performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Leading to a boom in popularity for Cuban music worldwide, the brand was subsequently used to promote records and tours by the artists involved in the original recording session....