9 Feb 2016

Everything You Need To Know About Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club never fail to ignite widespread excitement when they announce a new tour, and seeing as their upcoming Adios tour is their final one, the excitement has hit unprecedented new levels amongst fans. Although we’re having to say goodbye to one of the most exceptionally eclectic groups the world has ever seen, at least we’ll have the chance to celebrate, reminisce and just go plain wild one last time. Luckily, though, with a colourful back catalogue that stretches over two decades, their memory and music will live on for many, many years to come.

If you’re yet to discover this amazing band, here’s everything you need to know…


They’re named after a famous club

Yep – the Social Club was actually a real place, in Havana, Cuba. It was immensely popular in the 1940s, as a meetup for musicians of the time, and was famous for being lively, full of sound, colour and beautiful people.

Almost 50 years after its closure, Cuban musician Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, and American Guitarist Ry Cooper (who had previously worked with massive artists like the Rolling Stones) launched a little project called the Buena Vista Social Club, to try and recapture that traditional sound.


The eponymous album was ground-breaking

Recorded in just 6 days, the record contained songs that are now world famous for their unique, incredibly happy Latin sound. It’s the sound of sunshine. It’s astounding, not just because it was obviously a music writing experience based on instant inspiration, but because many of the musicians they used were veterans from the original line up in the club – and they’re still going today!


They have an Oscar winning film about them

Such was the buzz around the group, award-winning director Wim Wenders decided to document their first ever live performances in Amsterdam and New York, respectively. Littering the footage with interviews from the musicians and collaborators, he released the documentary in 1999 to critical acclaim, with people saying that he brought the history and culture behind the music to life.


The members are not your usual pop stars…

It’s not every day you can say your favourite band consists of multiple OAPs, but that’s the case with BVSC. Ages range widely, though, with Ry Cooper’s 19-year-old son also providing drumming on the original record. What’s also unique, is that the ever-shifting lineup and lack of a frontman means you’re never dealing with egos or drama. It’s all about the music, and that’s why we love them.

@Doctor_Monah recently tweeted that she ‘Feels very lucky to have seen Buena Vista Social club orchestra in their #adiostour tonight. Awesome.’ Yep, there’s not much time left to see this historical farewell to live music… it’s going to be memorable evening at The O2 when they stop by!