Selected by Dan
Courtesy of H.I.P.
At the end of the summer, members of
Cuba' Buena Vista Social Club toured Japan, including a series of sold-out concerts in
Tokyo. But one of the central members guitarist Compay Segundo was noticeably absent.
In December, the 93-year-old Segundo is scheduled to make three Tokyo appearances as part
of a solo tour for his most recent album Calle Salud.
Working as a cigar roller under Fidel Castro before returning to music in the late '80s,
Compay Segundo was essential to the sound of pre-revolutionary Cuban music. Born in 1907,
he was one of the most respected musicians of the pre-revolutionary era, collaborating
with figures like Sindo Garay and Miguel Matamoros to create the distinctive son
Inventing a customized guitar fusing the traditional Cuban tres guitar with its Spanish
counterpart, Segundo also helped to shape the laid-back, romantic, yet complex son sound
with his clarinet work and rich bass vocal harmonies.
Following the surprise success of Ry Cooders 1999 hit Buena Vista Social Club and
accompanying film by Wim Wenders, Segundo's solo career was given a new lease on life. He
issued Calle Salud, an album whose old-world sound, typical of pre-1940s son, won
kudos the world over.
With Segundo's visit, Japanese audiences will have had the opportunity to check out all
four members who comprised the Buena Vista Social Club, and at Segundo's advanced age,
opportunities to hear him perform are dwindling.
plays NHK Hall on December 3 and Shibuya Kokaido on December 5-6. See listings for details.