Buena Vista Social Club tours Britain

The band is made up by 13 musicians, among them bassist "Cachaito" López and trumpeter Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal, both in their 70s and survivors of the original group that under Cuba’s EGREM label recorded in 1996 the album that would win a Grammy in the Tropical Music category the following year. Talented 26 year-old singer Idania Valdes, who joined BVSC six years ago, is one of the band’s new acquisitions.

BVSC founder and lute player Barbarito Torres, 53, told AFP that London is the cradle of this musical project, and that Britain is the nation where the band has performed the most. It was Cuban Juan de Marcos González who came up with this idea in Havana, which later on received support from US guitarist Ry Cooder) and UK producer Nick Gold (World Circuit Records.

Another success of BVSC came three years later, when notable German film-maker Win Wenders made a documentary named after the group, which was nominated for an Oscar award in 2000.

Brilliant drummer Amadito Valdes told the press: “There’s great expectation for these concerts and someone told me that tickets are sold out. It’s incredible that, 11 years after the beginning of our first international tours, a single country, like Great Britain, schedules 32 concerts for us. It’s really amazing.”

During this tour there will be, of course, moments of nostalgia. Stars like Compay Segundo, Rubén González, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Pio Leyva won’t be present (Compay and Rubén died in 2003, and Ibrahim and Pío in 2005 and 2006), but the band has not lost the slightest bit of its authenticity.