Manuel Galban, Buena Vista Social Club Guitarist, Died in Cuba

Born in the eastern city of Gibara on January 14, 1931, Galban's musical carrier started at 13 when he joined the Villa Blanca orchestra as guitarplayer. A few years later he moved to Havana where he was one of the founders in 1963 of Los Zafiros vocal quartet; he was the fifth member of the group, guitarist and director for a whole decade.

In 1998, his carrier took a new turn after he joined Vieja Trova Santiaguera and Afrocuban All Stars. A few months later, American guitarist and producer Ry Coorder asked him to participate in the Buena Vista Social Club project.

With Buena Vista Social Club, he shared the stage with other Cuban figures such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Cachaito Lopez, Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa and El Guajiro Mirabal, taking the Cuban music to Europe and the United States.

In 2001 he recorded Mambo Sinuendo with Ry Cooder which won the 2003 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. The record was chosen by the Town Beat magazine as the Best Revelation Album 2003.

During his over six-decade carrier Galban was distinguished with multiple prizes among them the Order of the Cuban Culture and the Raul Gomez Garcia Medal, both granted by the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

Galban's latest record was a single named Blue cha cha by Montuno Productions, which will be shortly released.

Original report at