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Orlando "Cachaíto" López, Legendary Cuban Bassist, Dies at 76

Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez

Orlando "Cachaíto" López, the legendary Cuban bassist, died in a Havana hospital yesterday, February 9, 2009, after complications from a routine operation the previous week.

Born in Havana, Cachaíto came from one of Cuba’s foremost musical dynasties, which included his father, Orestes López and uncle, Israel "Cachao" López, and he was considered by many as the finest bass player in the world.
Cachaíto started his career in 1950 playing for the legendary Arcaño y sus Maravillas. An amazingly versatile musician, he played classical music with Cuba's Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, Cuban son with Orquesta Riverside, Cuban jazz and pop with Irakere, and descarga with Los Amigos. 

The "heartbeat of the Buena Vista Social Club," bass player Orlando "Cachaíto" López was the only musician to have played on every album in the World Circuit / Nonesuch Buena Vista Social Club series. In recent years, he continued to tour internationally with the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club.

His own experimental album, Cachaíto (2001), is regarded by many critics as one of the finest in the Buena Vista series. 

"We have lost a great companion," says guitarist Manuel Galbán, whose professional relationship with the bassist dates back to the Los Zafiros recordings of the 1960s.

"It is an irreplaceable loss for Cuban music," states percussionist Amadito Valdés. "He was the last remaining member of the bass playing dynasty."

"It is a great loss for the group and for Cuban music because he was a superb bassist and a brilliant band mate," remembers Buena Vista Social Club trumpeter Guajiro Mirabal. "He was an excellent person and the quality of his music was, honestly, unparalleled."

Visit to watch behind-the-scenes footage of Cachaíto and Angá Diaz improvising at Egrem Studios in Havana during the recording sessions for the album Cachaíto.


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