Guitarist and producer Ry Cooder arrived in Havana to take part in a project that would mix Cuban and African music.

Argelian musicians could not travel to Cuba due to migratory issues. Nevertheless, Cooder along with his son Joachim made good use of this opportunity and they contacted Cuban artist to record traditional sones. Cuban musicians that answered his call created the album Buena Vista Social Club but they never imagined that the record would become a global success.

Album Buena Vista Social Club


The production included well-known Cuban tunes such as Chan Chan, El cuarto de Tula and El carretero. The album turned out to be a revelation and it was presented in Ámsterdam.

The filmmaker Wim Wenders captured Buena Vista’s concerts in Ámsterdam and New York. From those shots, a documentary came out. The film also included interviews with the musicians.

The documentary received a nomination to the Academy Awards and a number of other honours such as the European Film Award.

One of its key achievements was that the film succeeded in drawing the attention of the audiences around the globe to Cuban Music.

Nomination Oscars


  • Ibrahim Ferrer (voces)
  • Omara Portuondo (voces)
  • Compay Segundo (guitarra y voces)
  • Eliades Ochoa (guitarra y voces)
  • Ry Cooder (guitara)
  • Rubén González (piano)
  • Manuel Licea “Puntillita” (voces)
  • Benito Suárez Magana (guitarra)
  • Juan de Marcos González (tres, güiro y voces)
  • Barbarito Torres (laúd)
  • Orlando López “Cachaíto” (bajo)
  • Salvador Repilado (bajo)
  • Joachim Cooder (percusión)
  • Lázaro Villa (congas)
  • Carlos González (bongo)
  • Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal (trompeta)
  • Julio Alberto Fernández (maracas y coro)
  • Alberto “Virgilio” Valdés (maracas y coro)
  • Luis Barzaga (coro)

Other relevant members of the project were the photographer Susan Titelman, and Nick Gold, the owner of the British company World Circuit Ltd. Records.


Ochoa joined the project thanks to the musician Juan de Marcos. He, through a radio programme directed by Eduardo Rosillo, made a call demanding Ochoa to come urgently to Havana.

Ever since until now, the members of Buena Vista Social Club have offered countless live concerts performing rhythms such as son, bolero, guajira, guaracha and danzón. The project has brought together national and international musicians.

Buena Vista Social Club has treasured important awards: Grammy Award (1997) to Best Tropical Music Album, a Billboard award, gold record awards for the number of copies commercialized in Netherlands and France, as well as platinum record awards in France, Denmark, the United States and Japan.


The group began the “Adiós Tour”, a farewell tour, through several countries. During this tour, they interpreted traditional Cuban hits and paid reverence to great musicians that accompanied them for almost two decades. The tour ended in 2016 at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana, the city where the project began.

OCTOBER 16, 2015

In the context of the end of hostilities between Cuba and the U.S., on October 16th, 2015, Buena Vista Social Club was the first Cuban group performing at the White House.

Main presentations




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