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Buena Vista Social Club's Universe

by Judy Cantor-Navas  |  March 28, 2015

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The unexpected arrival of an album's worth of never-before-released tracks from the Buena Vista Social Club is good news for global fans of the Cuban supergroup: Lost and Found may quickly be filed among their favorites. Lost and Found pays tribute to Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo and Ruben Gonzalez, who have died since the Buena Vista phenomenon took them out of retirement and around the world; and to younger musicians drafted for the project who passed away, including the brilliant conga player Anga Diaz (gone at only 45), bass player Cachaito, and flirty vocalist and composer Pío Leyva.

After spending some time with Lost and Found, I soon went back for another listen to the original Buena Vista Social Club album, and then started searching for the many other albums recorded by the participating musicians. These include a set of Buena Vista follow-up albums produced, as the original album was, by Ry Cooder in Havana. Then there are solo albums recorded by Compay, Eliades Ochoa and others who were signed by major labels after Buena Vista's millions-selling success. I've also done a bit of crate-digging for some classic albums, like Omara Portuondo's bewitching Magia Negra, to add some historical context to this album collection. Below is a comprehensive album list, and attached is a playlist to start off your rediscovery (or introduction to) this timeless Cuban crew.

  1. Buena Vista Social Club, Lost and Found

  2. Ibrahim Ferrer, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer

  3. Omara Portuondo, Flor de Amor

  4. Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, Chachaito Lopez

  5. Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall

  6. Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club

  7. Compay Segundo, Las Flores de la Vida

  8. Roberto Fonseca, Yo

  9. Eliades Ochoa, Estoy Como Nunca

  10. Cuarteto Patria, Son de Oriente

  11. Omara Portuondo, Magia Negra

  12. Ruben Gonzalez, Introducing Ruben Gonzalez

  13. Barbarito Torres, Barbarito Torres

  14. Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal

  15. Almadito Valdes, Bajando Gervassio

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