It is rare that collaboration with different professional musicians worked so well. This is one of those rarities. Buena Vista Social Club was born out of a Cuban musician collaboration that became internationally renowned, particularly for World Music fans after its release. With an aim to look back on Cuban music during the 1940s and 1950s, the Buena Vista Social Club recorded this album very quickly with legendary slide guitarist Ry Cooder producing it. This album has sold well over eight million copies to this day. Let’s jump in and take a listen to this album, and hopefully, it lives up to its promise.
Chan Chan begins with excellent bongos, acoustic guitar and a strong Latin American vibe present on this album. Although none of the singing is in English, this is beautiful, wonderful and amazing simultaneously. A great mixture of music and tradition, there is also a slide acoustic guitar present too. The singing and playing are deep, and there are some wonderful and original melodies present that sound very amazing. The slide guitar throughout is magical, and this piece of music is gloriously good. In addition, this is not dull nor boring, it is enjoyable and magical. A trumpet solo emerges in the second half that is excellently played, somewhat reminiscent of Miles Davis’s music. This is followed by some gorgeous acoustic guitar solos that are beautiful. The vocals then resume, and this is instantly wonderful and brilliant. It ends with a synchronised conclusion. Great.
De Camino a La Vereda begins with dual tracked and intertwining acoustic guitars, and launches into an excellent slice of Cuban music rooted deeply in tradition. Nonetheless, this again is a top and amazing listen for those who enjoy the music of those from South America and the Caribbean. The music flows majestically, and the backing vocals in the chorus make this even better than you’d expect. A trumpet part gets going towards the middle. Even if you do not understand a word that these legends are singing about, this is really a fantastic tune. In terms of pure performance, this is outstanding. Worth hearing, even if you come from a completely different cultural background than these wonderful musicians. Brilliant work and a great five minutes worth hearing. Awesome and fine listening from start to finish.
El Cuarto de Tula is one of the more popular pieces from this album and it begins with an instantly recognisable trumpet part, acoustic guitars and bongo beats playing away. Very, very catchy and this sounds like a piece of music that is inspiring and amazing. One’s mind drifts to the thought of a Latin American dance of sorts upon hearing this beautiful masterpiece of a track. Beautiful, passionate and well played, the trumpet throughout is truly amazing. A really awesome listen, the vocal delivery is very decent as well, with a call-and-response feel to this song. This is one of the best pieces of music you can hear that is over seven minutes long. In the second half is an acoustic guitar solo that sounds very lively. An amazing listen and proof that, if you cast away musical and cultural prejudice of your own, you can appreciate the songs here (and on other multicultural albums, too). The acoustic guitar playing in the second half of this piece is amazing, sounding like a shred on that instrument. Soon enough, the singing resumes and some excellent and spirited playing continue. Put simply, this album is magical and amazing. The trumpet towards the end sounds awesome. The song ends with some acoustic guitar playing, followed by lone vocals, just before the instrumentation end this piece with a chaotic climax. Brilliant.
Pueblo Nuevo begins with some ascending and upbeat piano that sounds gloriously good. There is some other instrumentation in the background, mainly subtle bongos, keeping this going. Nonetheless, although this is a slower piece without singing, it still does wonderfully well and just works. There is some double bass playing present on this tune as well, which is a nice addition to this music. This piece is mainly piano driven, but it is much more quintessential listening compared to other piano pieces out there. A lovely listen that goes on for around six minutes, this is definitely worth your time. This song, and indeed, the album proves the musicians’ worth in a big way musically. A really excellent effort, the piano present is borderline Jazz but is still original in its own way. Bright, breezy and joyous, this is a great piece to introduce to friends the fine sounds of Buena Vista Social Club. A trumpet solo emerges in the second half that sounds upbeat and wonderful. Soon enough, this piece ends with double bass and acoustic guitar jam, which works well. An excellent tune.
Dos Gardenias is a much shorter piece at three minutes long. It is a gloriously good piece of song craft that sounds very upbeat and amazing. Really awesome listening, this sounds gorgeous and outstanding. A heartfelt sung piece is matched by fragments of piano, guitar and other subtle instrumentation that works superbly well. A very lovely and listenable piece of music, there is another trumpet solo that is slow and divine. A great listen throughout, this sounds extraordinarily good. Nice tune and a great listen from start to finish.
¿Y Tú Qué Has Hecho? is another relatively short piece, which begins with dual tracked and pretty acoustic guitars. This is a very beautiful listening experience, with some lovely Cuban singing from the group. This is very pretty and uplifting music, and it is gorgeously and wonderfully played. A joyous and fine listening experience, this song and album do Cuba and its background a fine justice for its tradition, certainly worth your time. A great three minute long song, it does very well. Beautiful.
Veinte Años begins with some interesting acoustic guitar playing and a rich ambience and atmosphere of music. This is very melodic and soothing. Soon enough, some dual vocals enter and this piece of Cuban Pop music comes alive. Again, this is a great listen and is totally worth your time. An enjoyable and euphoric traditional tune, the playing and singing is brilliant, particularly the acoustic guitar playing present. A really awesome listening experience, this is gorgeously timeless music. Using unusual acoustic guitar scales, this is a lovely and romantic sounding listen. Thoroughly enjoyable.
El Carretero begins with some great acoustic guitar, double bass playing and bongos. This piece eventually gets going, with singing and whistling throughout. This is enjoyable and magical listening, and it just sounds very well done. The nicely plucked acoustic guitar is the real star here, and it takes the mind to various places that most other music cannot. A really excellent tune that blows away most pieces of music today, there is some interesting slide guitar playing present as well. Legendary music is on this album, and the mixture of Cuban melodies and Latin American beats is irresistible. Great work. It ends nicely.
Candela is a longer piece at around five minutes in length. It begins with a somewhat faster piece than the songs before it and some more joyful singing. Although this song is not in English, its appeal is limitless. A wonderful, pacing and joyous listen. The chorus in particular is really very good, and it exceeds expectations on this record. Legendary and decent music, the Buena Vista Social Club do an excellent job of holding one’s interest in the music at hand. There is a crisp sounding acoustic guitar solo present in this song, which is pretty awesome. This makes one appreciate the beauty of the music of the Americas, and the whole tune is very catchy and essential to listen to. A really great and spirited listen, this is worth hearing, especially if you have never been exposed to music from Cuba or Latin America. Excellent and brilliant, the extended jam at the end is awesome.
Amor de Loca Juventud begins with some lush Cuban melodies via acoustic guitar, brushed percussion and a great rhythm to match this piece. This is really awesome music, and it sounds very cheerful and just plain gorgeous. A really fine tune, once again, this is an album that is one of all time classics, without doubt, or question. A nice slide guitar solo is present in this song as well, which is inspiring and exciting. Great to hear, this is a really great listening experience throughout. The singing is soothing and awesome, too, proof that you don’t need to scream to make a musical point. A great and wonderful song to hear.
Orgullecida begins with some cheerful sounding acoustic guitar and nimble double bass playing. This song has some noticeable slide guitar which does sound quirky, yet acceptable here, likely being the influence of producer and slide guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder. This is another brilliant song that looks back to the past for inspiration musically and still sounds great today. This is totally worthwhile and enjoyable for the kind of music that this is. Buena Vista Social Club certainly know how to make people smile, and this song should make you smile, too. A really simple but gorgeous piece of Cuban music, this finishes with a nice trumpet solo. Great work.
Murmullo begins with some interesting and classy piano. It quickly launches into a brushed percussion groove and some wonderful and retro 1950s style Soul singing enters. This is a really excellent tune to listen to, and it comes across as a really enjoyable piece of piano driven tune with some other neat arrangements and playing present as well. This music deserves praise, there is also an interesting slide guitar solo around the middle of this piece. A relaxing, enjoyable and loveable piece of music, these songs must be heard. The Soul style singing returns in the second half to amaze and please you. This song finishes with a slow, gentle pace and concludes gently.
Buena Vista Social Club is the title track of the album. It begins with some choppy piano and interesting percussion to match it. This comes across as fairly quirky, and it really sounds unusual due to some of the notes being played and the slide guitar in the background. All the same, an interesting and great listen from these musicians. The music is lovely and inspiring, and it just sounds refreshingly amazing. A fantastic instrumental that really does sound effortless and catchy, Buena Vista Social Club does exceptionally well on this album and the songs on this album are divine. Even if you are not a huge fan of Cuban or Latin American music, this is satisfying. Great music is here. The piano playing towards the end is especially interesting, as is the track’s conclusion. Excellent.
La Bayamesa is the final song on this wonderful album. It is a three minute piece with acoustic guitar, wind instruments and other various excellent sounds. Some awesome singing emerges, and this tune sounds lovely and majestic. This is the sort of music that takes one to a romantic experience with a loved one at some time, which is an interesting thought of inspiration from this music. The harmony based singing is just irresistibly fantastic and compelling listening. A great way to finish a great album, not a dull moment is here.
Buena Vista Social Club made a multicultural and highly inspired record here. No doubt that this is one of the most highly regarded and highest selling World music albums, this is a great listen from start to finish. Not a poor cut is here at all, every single piece of music here is near perfect. The catch is that none of it is sung in English, but still, you should definitely hear this album as soon as you can. It’s brilliant.