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Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer

Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer cover art

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About this Album

This collection of 11 songs by the then 72-year-old, golden voice of Cuban music, Ibrahim Ferrer, features the rhythm section of the Buena Vista Social Club and the acclaimed pianist Rubén González. Ibrahim Ferrer’s debut album, produced in Havana by Ry Cooder, features an extraordinary stylistic range of Cuban music, from the nostalgic 1950s American big-band style, to ballads with an idiosyncratic and imaginative guitar accompaniment, to rich country-style son.

The tunes "Herido de Sombras," "Nuestra Ultima Cita," and "Aquellos Ojos Verdes" feature the classic ballad style augmented by string and saxophone sections and the female vocal quartet Gema 4. The original Coasters saxophonist Gil Bernard makes a special guest appearance on "Aquellos Ojos Verdes."

"Que Bueno Baila Usted" and "Como Fue" are inspired by Beny Moré’s classic Banda Gigante (big band) style and feature Ibrahim’s honeyed vocals over a band featuring four trumpets, three trombones, and saxophone. Beny Moré’s original arranger, Generoso Jiménez, 80-years-old at the time of the recording, made a special appearance at Havana’s famed EGREM studios to arrange and conduct these two tracks.

The album also features Ibrahim in collaborations with two of Cuba’s leading female vocalists: "Silencio" is an intimate, spellbinding duet with Omara Portuondo, and "Marieta" is a classic Cuban country-style son duet with Teresita García Caturla. "Mami Me Gustó" is a compelling interpretation of Arsenio Rodríguez’s powerful 1950s son. Former Los Zafiros guitarist Manuel Galbán contributes his unique electric guitar sound on several tracks and Ry Cooder makes his own signature mark on guitar.

Ibrahim Ferrer, who had not been well known for many years in Cuba, emerged as one of the discoveries of the Buena Vista sessions in 1997. With this solo debut, Ferrer, always known as a “musician’s musician” for his naturally gentle and unassuming manner, was given the chance to display his great talent in both the rural Santiago and urban Havana traditions.

Ferrer’s debut recording was crafted by the same team that produced the original Buena Vista Social Club record: Ry Cooder (producer), Nick Gold (executive producer), and Jerry Boys (sound engineer). This album has the same lush, open sound and acoustic quality.


Ibrahim Ferrer, vocals
Ruben Gonzalez, piano
Manuel Galban, electric guitar
Orlando ‘Cachaito’ Lopez, bass
Amadito Valdez, timbales
Angel Terry, congas
Roberto Garcia, bongos, guiro
Carlos Gonzalez, bongos, cowbell
Alberto ‘Virgilio’ Valdez, maracas
Ibrahim Ferrer Jr., clave
Ry Cooder, electric guitar
Joachim Cooder, udu drum, dumbek & drums
Chorus Vocals: Pio Leyvam Manuel ‘Puntillita’ Licea, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Lazaro Villa
Teresa Garcia Caturla, vocals (3)
Omara Portuondo, vocals (8)
Jose Antonio Rodriguez, vocals (7)
Vocal group (2, 6): Michelle Alderete Espigul, Estela Guzman Vega Laura Flores Hernandez, Odette Telleria Orduna
Gil Bernal, tenor sax (4, 9)
Lazaro Ordonez Enriquez, violin (1)
Eliades Ochoa, guitar (3)
Papi Oviedo, tres (5)
Barbarito Torres, laud (4, 9)
Trumpets: Octavio Calderon, Carmelo Gonzalez, Manuel ‘El Guajiro’ Mirabal, Yanko Piscaco Pichardo, Alejandro Perez Pichardo, Daniel Ramos
Trombones: Jorge Leal, Jesus ‘Aguaje’ Ramos, Alberto Munoz
Saxophones: Carlo Montenegro Ruiz (alto), Jose Ramirez Nurque (alto), Antonio Francisco Jimenez Sanchez (tenor), Braulio Hernandez Rodriguez (tenor), Adrian Corzo Gonzalez (baritone)
1st Violin: Julian Corrales Subidam Alyoth Marichal Castillo, Pedro Depestre Gonzalez, Jose Conyedo Roman
2nd Violin: Jose Perez Fuentes, Rogelio Martinez Muquercia, Ariel Sarduy Mendez, Humberto Legat Year
Viola: Rafael Cutino Diequez, Lenor Bermudez Bermudez, Angel Zaldivar Copello
Cello: Arelis Zaldivar Copello, Roy Avila Serrano
Bass: Aleida Espinosa, Andres Escaloma Grana

A World Circuit Production
Produced by Ry Cooder
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jerry Boys
Consultant and Coordinator: Juan de Marcos González
Recorded and mixed at Egrem Studios, Havana
Mastered at Livingston Studios, London
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Tom Leader
Project Manager: Jenny Adlington

Cover photo by Karl Haimel
Design by The Team

Executive Producer: Nick Gold


This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States and Canada only.

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