Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Compay Segundo

Company Segundo

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 style.

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.

Compay Segundo plays NHK Hall on December 3 and Shibuya Kokaido on December 5-6. See listings for details.

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