Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

CB Gets Lazy Again

I’ve been wanting to do a take on this documentary for a while. While I was hemming and hawing I came across this piece by Matt over at observationblooger. After reading it I wished I said what he wrote. I asked him if I could borrow the take and he kindly said yes.

I’ll keep my words to a few. Wenders and Cooder collaborate to capture magic on film and recordings. So many cool images. A woman smoking the biggest cigar I have ever seen (Cravings went through the roof). Ry sitting at an old café by the sea listening to 3 musicians serenade him while he smokes a cigar. I wanted to be there with him. Ry and his son riding through the streets of Havana on a motorcycle and side car.

The musicians (So talented) and the music will stay with you. Close your eyes and let it flow through you like Cooder does. I hope the film moves you as much as it did Matt and I. Thanks for your words Matt and letting me be lazy.

Buena Vista Social Club (1999) – Wim Wenders (Friday’s Finest)

Posted on April 23, 2021 by observationblogger — 7 Comments

Director Wim Wenders and guitarist Ry Cooder team up again to present this marvellous music documentary Buena Vista Social Club. Cooder did the slide guitar soundtrack for Wender’s Paris, Texas 1984 which featured here recently on Friday’s Finest. Buena Vista (good view) is a celebration of the music of Cuba. I have lived in Latin America for 12 years and heard a great deal of Latina Music, but I would say my preferred music (at least the most reliable) here is Cuban music and in particular a style called Son Cubano (They are Cubans). The musical genius of the Cuban people is undeniable and that is what is shone in this film.

IMDB Movie SummaryAging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro’s takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians’ careers.

The opening scene in Buena Vista which is presented at the end of this post with Ry Cooder and his son Joaquim riding through the streets of Havana and the sublime music of the Chan Chan in the background is something to behold. Anyone who is even remotely interested in musical heritage should find Buena Vista captivating. In 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The film documents how Ry Cooder, long-time friend of Wenders, brought together the ensemble of legendary Cuban musicians to record an album (also called Buena Vista Social Club) and to perform two times with a full line-up: in April 1998 in Amsterdam (two nights) and the 1st of July 1998 in the United States (at the Carnegie Hall, New York City). Suffice to say the soundtrack of this film is exemplary and the movie received critical acclaim.

The film helped the musicians, some of them already in their nineties, become known to a worldwide audience, with some going on to release popular solo albums. These included Ibrahim Ferrer, Compay Segundo, Rubén González and Elíades Ochoa. The latter went on to support younger musicians making the same style of music beyond 2010 under the name “Buena Vista Social Club”.

Besides the sones, guarachas and boleros (basic styles of good-old Cuban music), the beauty of this documentary relies on Wim Wenders’ magnificent camera use. It is impossible not to feel the emotion of the crowded Carnegie Hall in the climax scenes, but there are also many other images that carry the viewer to more intimate experiences of La Habana, its music and musicians.

References:
1. Buena Vista Social Club – Wikipediahttps://www.youtube.com/embed/6JEdf7XsV5g?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

https://observationblogger.com/2021/04/23/buena-vista-social-club-1999-wim-wenders-fridays-finest/

48 comments on “CB Gets Lazy Again

  1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera
    September 5, 2021

    It was quite a record. Cuban music is a bit different from most of Latin music, and although most latin musicians can play with that particular syncopation, to play the Cuban son one has to feel the rhythm and know. It sounds easy but it can fool you, the music is complicated and requires mastery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 5, 2021

      Im glad you commented on this. Great insight. Just hearing the music being played by the featured musicians you could feel their passion and certainly hear their “mastery”. It really did resonate with me. Plus having Cooder being totally absorbed by it didn’t hurt. It made me pay attention. Thanks Francisco. And good job by Matt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Francisco Bravo Cabrera
        September 5, 2021

        Thanks CB and yes, good job. I had the opportunity to go see some of these same musicians in Miami back, I think, in 1999 or 2000. A few had formed a new group called the Afro-Cuban All Stars and it was quite a show at the Broward County Auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida…check them out if you’ve a moment, I’m sure their record is on YouTube.

        Like

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 5, 2021

        I will certainly check it out. I have the soundtrack to the fill along with a few recordings by Ferrer and Gonzalez. All the musicians caught my ear. Trumpet, guitar, percussion, bass, laud (I was surprised how much I liked the sound from it. The player was amazing), top to bottom were so good. The old songs they sang with that passion you talked about. Music to my ears. Plus Wenders captured so many good moments.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Francisco Bravo Cabrera
        September 5, 2021

        Absolutely. Ibrahim Ferrer’s solo effort is a very good example of that authentic voice and rhythm that is needed to be a good “sonero” (singer and player of the “son”). Sadly he as well as Compay Segundo (the pianist) have since died…

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 5, 2021

        Ive picked up a few musicians from your takes that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Francisco Bravo Cabrera
        September 5, 2021

        As I from yours CB, it’s a mutual effort! All the best

        Liked by 1 person

  2. msjadeli
    September 5, 2021

    Saw this years ago and own the soundtrack album. Both memorable. True quality both.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. deKE
    September 5, 2021

    Great title for a post lol. Lured me right in…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger
    September 5, 2021

    Terrific doc. I saw it when it came out. CB, get off your rear end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 5, 2021

      Sneakers are on, headband, shorty shorts, muscle shirt (with a Rolling Stone tongue on it) big honkin’ Cuban stuck in my face and I’m out the door. Thanks for the push fella. .Oh yeah with this soundtrack on the Discman.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aphoristical
    September 5, 2021

    I saw this a couple of times back in the day – it’s pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 5, 2021

      “Pretty cool’. That is the short review.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aphoristical
        September 5, 2021

        It’s awesome how they’d all been plying their trade for years and suddenly got some spotlight outside of Cuba.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 5, 2021

        Cooder is such a cool guy. Using his influence to get this together and share this music with people like me who probably wouldn’t have found it otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jim S.
    September 5, 2021

    Sure, I remember this being released (and the universal acclaim for it) like it was yesterday. Cooder has always been a musical chameleon, picking up sounds wherever he can. I liked the album but I don’t think I ever saw the movie. I’ll have to rectify that. Nice that it got into the Registry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 5, 2021

      I think Doc would dig the doc. Cool for any notice it got. I think they got it right on this one. Matt did a good take.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        September 6, 2021

        He did but CB has one job to do which is do one post a week. How lazy can one Canuck be?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 6, 2021

        And that’s as much as I can muster. After that it’s like Bruce Dern said “Im to pooped to pop”

        Like

      • Jim S.
        September 6, 2021

        I’m a big fan of conserving energy wherever possible. I’m already overdue for my next post.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. christiansmusicmusings
    September 6, 2021

    This is exceptionally beautiful and warm music that is performed with such an obvious passion that is simply infectious. I’ve generally been aware of the soundtrack and background story, but I haven’t watched the documentary. That’s definitely something I would like to do.

    About 20 minutes ago, I finished watching a 2003 documentary about the Ramones, “End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones.” One music documentary a day is sufficient, so I guess “Buena Vista Social Club” will have to wait. 🙂

    BTW, did you know there is forthcoming a 25th anniversary edition of the soundtrack? Based onm what I can see in the library of my streaming music provider, apparently it features remastered recordings of the original songs, alternative takes and additional tracks. It’s scheduled to come out on Sep 17.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 6, 2021

      The Ramones doc sounds good. I think youd like this one. I found so much in it. Watched it a few times.
      Didnt know about the “remastered recordings”. It will be worth a listen. The film and music are so moving. Why I had to give it some ink. Thanks to Matt.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. hotfox63
    September 6, 2021

    “Buena Vista Social Club” was a unique success for the good-old cubans. But Wenders movie is too nostalgic. In Cuba, there is finally also an authentic presence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 6, 2021

      Id like to hear the current presence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        September 6, 2021

        Well CB, I was talking about the movie and not the music. Wim Wenders created an idealistic image. The Cuba that he shows didn’t existed for a long time. The musicians who smoke Havana cigars and play dominoes even though they fly to New York or Europe are a cliché. There are hardly any documentary aspects about life in Cuba in these movie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 6, 2021

        It was focused on the music and musicians. I think that was the whole plan that Wim and Ry had. Agreed that there was little about day to day life. I guess that’s another film.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        September 7, 2021

        Maybe something like that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knaqSNoQpJ4

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 7, 2021

        A more political angle for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        September 7, 2021

        You’re a whole different person when you’re scared. I have never been to Cuba, but I know a woman who fled from Cuba.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 7, 2021

        When I see the struggles and strife folks in different parts of the globe have to endure (On top of just day to day living), I sit here thankful for my situation and I cant be anything but empathetic for unfortunate people..
        Talking about music(and film) we cant help sliding into the ways of the world. This music we love Fox gives us a break from the madness.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        September 7, 2021

        You touch my heart, CB.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 7, 2021

        Thanks but nothing I say is original. I hear a howling wind blowing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        September 8, 2021

        Don’t worry, we have the tickets and take that ride, there will be a howling wind.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. 1dancequeendq
    September 6, 2021

    Buena Vista Social Club seems to have cult status with some people here in the UK. I’d better dig out some of the music for The Happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. keepsmealive
    September 15, 2021

    I loved this album and all the side albums it spawned. Yes yes yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Phil Strawn
    October 1, 2021

    Ima gonna check this one out. Thanks for the heads up and the great review CB.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on September 5, 2021 by in 1999 Film, Buena Vista Social Club, Cuban Music, Documentary Film, Ry Cooder, Wim Wenders and tagged , .

Categories

%d bloggers like this: