Buy “Buena Vista Social Club [VHS] Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubn Gonzlez, Eliades Ochoa, Ry Cooder, Joachim Cooder, Omara Portuondo, Orlando 'Cachato' Lpez, Amadito Valds, Manuel 'Guajiro' Mirabal, Barbarito Torres, Po Leyva, Jrg Widmer, Wim Wenders, Deepak Nayar, Rafael Rey Rodrguez, Rosa Bosch, Ulrich Felsberg, Nick Gold Movies & TV” Online

Buena Vista Social Club [VHS]

This was absolutely joyous! I loved the views of Cuba (as Ry drove around with his son) which gave more meaning to the music. The interviews with the musicians were wonderful! The music was wonderful! It’s amazing that some of these musicians were 90 years old and still so active. It was mentioned that Ruben G. (pianist) hadn’t played in 10 years! [His single CD is superb]. Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Elias Ochoa, Omaura Portuondo (? spelling) – can’t decide which if these singers I enjoyed the most. See the movie and buy the soundtrack. You will not be disappointed. Check it out!

In 1996, composer, producer, and guitar legend Ry Cooder entered Egrem Studios in Havana with the forgotten greats of Cuban music, many of them in their 60s and 70s, some of them long since retired. The resulting album, Buena Vista Social Club, became a Grammy-winning international bestseller. When Cooder returned to Havana in 1998 to record a solo album by 72-year-old vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer, filmmaker Wim Wenders was on hand to document the occasion. Wenders splits the film between portraits of the performers, who tell their stories directly to the camera as they wander the streets and neighborhoods of Havana, and a celebration of the music heard in performance scenes in the studio, in their first concert in Amsterdam, and in their second and final concert at Carnegie Hall. The songs are too often cut short in this fashion, but Buena Vista Social Club is not a concert film. Wenders weaves the artist biographies with a glimpse of modern Cuba remembering its past, capturing a lost culture in music that is suddenly, unexpectedly revived for audiences in Havana and around the world. Wenders makes his presence practically invisible, as if his directorial flourishes or off-screen narration might deflect attention from the artists, who do a fine job of telling their own stories through interviews and music. It’s a loving portrait of a master class in Cuban music, with a vital cast of aging performers whose energy and passion belie their years. –Sean Axmaker




Buena Vista Social Club [VHS] Review


I ordered this DVD to use as a supplement to a Latin music unit with my Spanish students. This is an incredible documentary that lives up to its description on the cover and much more!Musicians introduce themselves and tell their story in Spanish, subtitled in English. They talk about their family, childhood and their music/instruments, as well as the hardships they’ve had to overcome in their lives. The story telling is accompanied with music and snap shots of their album recording sessions, and sold out concert at Carneggie Hall. Music greats such as Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo take you inside their delapidating homes in old Havanna, and give you a glimpse into their day to day lives, walking through the streets and allies, allowing the viewer to see Havanna’s real life and beautiful, but decaying buildings. It is great Spanish listening practice and will also be a great supplement for music teachers as it exposes students to an authentic, old style of music that was nearly extinct until Ry Cooder recruited these great forgotten musicians and made the Buena Vista Social Club album. This movie takes you back in time and into the magic of Cuba, it’s beautiful music and incredibly resilient people who turn to music in order to cope with their sad reality. It is well organized, and told in such a way that made my heart melt, falling in love with the characters. I strongly recommend this product for personal enjoyment and as a teaching aid. -Read Reviews-

Criterion advertises a "new high-definition transfer," but what they don’t mention, is the film was originally shot on standard-definition video. This was immediately obvious when I played it on my big screen. Had I known this, I would have watched the DVD version I already had, instead of spending $26 for an up-conversion.

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