Cuban Musicians and Bands

Overview Musicians
  • Celia Cruz
  • Rubén Blades
  • Buena Vista Social Club
  • Ibrahim Ferrer
  • Benny Moré
  • Los Van Van
  • Compay Segundo
  • Sierra Maestra
  • Tito Puente
  • Juan Luis Guerra

Buena Vista Social Club

Less a band and more of an ensemble of some of the most renowned musical forces in Cuba, the Buena Vista Social Club emerged thanks to American guitarist Ry Cooder, who traveled to Havana in 1996 to search for a number of legendary local musicians whose careers had ended decades earlier with Fidel Castro’s rise to power.

After recruiting long-forgotten Ibrahim Ferrer, singer; Compay Segundo and Elíades Ochoa, guitarist/singers; and pianist Rubén González, Cooder went to the Egrem recording studios in Havana to record the Buena Vista Social Club album. This record scored unexpected commercial and critical success, earning a Grammy and becoming the most sold piece of work in Cooder’s long career.

In 1988 Cooder returned to Havana with his son Joaquim, percussionist, to record a Long Play solo with Ferrer; the sessions were captured on director Wim Wenders’ film, who also documented box-office hit live performances by Buena Vista Social Club in Amsterdam and New York. Wenders’s movie, also titled Buena Vista Social Club, won an Oscar nomination in 2000.

The public’s ongoing interest in Cuban music generated individual attempts by Segundo and González, as well as a series of international live performances promoted under Buena Vista Social Club sponsorship.