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  • Thursday, November 6, 2008
    Wall Street Journal: Buena Vista "Remains Potent Example of Cuban Music's Power and Reach"

    Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall, the new two-CD recording of the unforgettable 1998 performance by the legendary Cuban group, is the subject of a feature in the Wall Street Journal by writer Larry Blumenfeld. "By the time Mr. Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa and their Cuban partners arrived on 57th Street for their only U.S. performance as a group," the article states, "they belonged at Carnegie Hall as much as anywhere else. On the new release, just a few chords into 'Chan Chan,' Carnegie's packed-house audience roared as if cheering a familiar radio hit."

    Blumenfeld calls the concert recording "another chapter in the success story" of the Buena Vista Social Club, as the two discs "stir memories of that night at Carnegie Hall: Rubén González's blend of elegance and showmanship; Barbarito Torres's inventive improvisations on the laúd (a 12-string lute); the virility of Pío Leyva's vocals, and the tenderness of 'Silencio,' sung in duet by Mr. Ferrer and Omara Portundo. Six original Buena Vista members have died since 1998, making this a touching coda to the Buena Vista tale."

    With the passing of those musicians, and given the outgoing administration's restrictive policy towards Cuba, the concert truly was an experience that can not be repeated. Blumenfeld concludes:

    Countless bands have been promoted as "the next Buena Vista Social Club." None have replicated the group's success. Neither a definitive nor entirely pure statement of tradition, Buena Vista Social Club remains a potent example of Cuban music's power and reach—not to mention the promise of future collaborations, policy permitting.

    Read the complete article at online.wsj.com.

    ---

    On Jazz.com, writer Ted Gioia looks back on the original 1997 studio recording, a "legitimate and defining classic of the World Music genre" and "an exceptional body of performances by smart and seasoned musicians who had spent a few collective centuries immersed in the aural traditions of their native country."

    He also asserts that the compelling story of the musicians behind the music was just a part of the album's success, the most important being the music, which, now as then, was paramount:

    [T]he music more than lived up to the publicity campaign. In fact, the music drove this unlikely success, bringing these musicians a wide audience that no amount of marketing can deliver. All this is captured on the dramatic live recording from Carnegie Hall ...

    Gioia points readers to the concert's opening number, "Chan Chan," which earns a 95 from the site as a Song of the Day.

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Wall Street Journal: Buena Vista "Remains Potent Example of Cuban Music's Power and Reach"

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nonesuch's picture
on November 6, 2008 - 1:12pm
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Publish date: 
Thursday, November 6, 2008 - 16:00
Excerpt: 

Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall, the new two-CD recording of the unforgettable 1998 performance by the legendary Cuban group, is the subject of a feature in the Wall Street Journal, which calls the concert recording "another chapter in the success story" of the Buena Vista Social Club. "Countless bands have been promoted as 'the next Buena Vista Social Club,'" the article declares. "None have replicated the group's success ... Buena Vista Social Club remains a potent example of Cuban music's power and reach ..." Jazz.com calls the original album "an exceptional body of performances by smart and seasoned musicians who had spent a few collective centuries immersed in the aural traditions of their native country."

Copy: 

Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall, the new two-CD recording of the unforgettable 1998 performance by the legendary Cuban group, is the subject of a feature in the Wall Street Journal by writer Larry Blumenfeld. "By the time Mr. Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Rubén González, Eliades Ochoa and their Cuban partners arrived on 57th Street for their only U.S. performance as a group," the article states, "they belonged at Carnegie Hall as much as anywhere else. On the new release, just a few chords into 'Chan Chan,' Carnegie's packed-house audience roared as if cheering a familiar radio hit."

Blumenfeld calls the concert recording "another chapter in the success story" of the Buena Vista Social Club, as the two discs "stir memories of that night at Carnegie Hall: Rubén González's blend of elegance and showmanship; Barbarito Torres's inventive improvisations on the laúd (a 12-string lute); the virility of Pío Leyva's vocals, and the tenderness of 'Silencio,' sung in duet by Mr. Ferrer and Omara Portundo. Six original Buena Vista members have died since 1998, making this a touching coda to the Buena Vista tale."

With the passing of those musicians, and given the outgoing administration's restrictive policy towards Cuba, the concert truly was an experience that can not be repeated. Blumenfeld concludes:

Countless bands have been promoted as "the next Buena Vista Social Club." None have replicated the group's success. Neither a definitive nor entirely pure statement of tradition, Buena Vista Social Club remains a potent example of Cuban music's power and reach—not to mention the promise of future collaborations, policy permitting.

Read the complete article at online.wsj.com.

---

On Jazz.com, writer Ted Gioia looks back on the original 1997 studio recording, a "legitimate and defining classic of the World Music genre" and "an exceptional body of performances by smart and seasoned musicians who had spent a few collective centuries immersed in the aural traditions of their native country."

He also asserts that the compelling story of the musicians behind the music was just a part of the album's success, the most important being the music, which, now as then, was paramount:

[T]he music more than lived up to the publicity campaign. In fact, the music drove this unlikely success, bringing these musicians a wide audience that no amount of marketing can deliver. All this is captured on the dramatic live recording from Carnegie Hall ...

Gioia points readers to the concert's opening number, "Chan Chan," which earns a 95 from the site as a Song of the Day.

featuredimage: 
Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall (CD) [cover]

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