Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club
Photo courtesy of Conversation

In case you happen not to have been on planet Earth for the past year, you are forgiven for not having heard of the Buena Vista Social Club. In case you have, you know that the Cuban music group became participants in a 1997 smash Ry Cooder album and subsequently a Wim Wenders documentary. For four days at the end of summer, three of the people at the heart of the group-Ibrahim Ferrer, Ruben Gonzalez and Omara Portuondo will perform at various venues around Tokyo. Meanwhile another member, Eliades Ochoa, will hold court at the Blue Note Tokyo from July 31 through August 5.

In 1996, eminent American guitarist Ry Cooder, noted for his forays into world music and folklore, traveled to Cuba to track down a number of legendary Cuban musicians whose careers had tanked under Castro. Recruiting singer Ibrahim Ferrer (who he found shining shoes), guitarist/singers Compay Segundo and Eliades Ochoa, and pianist Ruben Gonzalez, he began recording a series of relaxed sessions, with director Wim Wenders capturing the sessions on film.

The result was the album Buena Vista Social Club, which simultaneously resuscitated the careers of the Cubans, now well advanced in years, and became the best-selling album of Cooder' long career.

Subsequent tours have taken the members around the world both individually and under the Buena Vista Social Club aegis, as well as spawning solo albums by Segundo, now 93, Ferrer, and Gonzalez.

With the low-key, pre-revolutionary sounds typical of the Buena Vista Social Club proving as popular in Japan as in the West, these shows should be very well attended. Advanced ticket purchase recommended.

Buena Vista Social Club: Bunkamura Orchard Hall, 8/29-30, 7pm, SJY8500, AJY7500, BJY6500. Tokyo International Forum Hall A, 9/1, 7pm, SJY8000, AJY7000, BJY6000, CJY5000. Bunkyo Civic Hall, 9/2, 6pm, SJY8500, AJY7500. Info: Conversation 03-3233-1933.

Eliades Ochoa: Blue Note Tokyo, 7/31-8/5, 7pm and 9:30pm, JY7000. Tel: 5485-0088..

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana