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Buena Vista Social Club


Buena Vista Social Club


As some will know Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club is one of the sleeper movie phenomenons of the 1990s. A record of one astounding revival, it has in turn perpetuated that revival, providing a whole new lease of life--and a lucrative international platform--for a music that was lost to many people. Wenders gives credit where it's due--to world music guru Ry Cooder who travelled to Cuba in 1996 to seek out the soneros, performers hugely popular in the 1930s, 40s and 50s; made an album with them, the Buena Vista Social Club (Buena Vista being an area of Havana); and launched them on stage in Amsterdam and New York. But he also asked Wenders if he wanted to come along for the ride, and in March and April 1998, Wenders, on the spur of the moment with only a minimal crew ("concepts are for sissies"), travelled to Cuba and Amsterdam, and followed the newly popular stars: among them Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo and Ruben Gonzalez. The result was a remarkable international film sensation.
They call this "the book of the film", and that's what it is. Of the 141 photographs, Wim Wenders provides the colour images and Donata Wenders some atmospheric black-and-white shots. The background to the whole enterprise is fleshed out with illuminating comments from Wenders and the performers (oddly laid out on the page as verse) an interview with Ry Cooder, song lyrics in Spanish and English, and mini-biographies of all involved. Fans of the film will no doubt want this to add to their Buena Vista collection--but first-time patrons of the Social Club would be well advised to invest in the one element of the film this beautiful-looking book can't provide: the CDs that contain the insistent music that is, after all, its raison d'etre--music that is, as soneros addict Wenders writes, "infectious and lively as it is wise and soothing".
A photographic record of Wim Wender's acclaimed film capturing musician Ry Cooder's odessy to the streets of Havana. It documents his search for the veteran musicians of Cuba's bygone age, and the amazing talent he discovered. The photographs are accompanied by narrative text and song lyrics.


ISBN 050028220X

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