Let’s Keep The Love For The Buena Vista Social Club Going Forever Because They Are True Icons

Alright, fam. Our parents’ generation was hella into The Buena Vista Social Club. They’re Cuban. That’s all I really knew. Maybe that makes me a bobo or maybe every other 20-something is just as clueless about this group.

What I learned is that they are a legacy of viejos that actually remember what Afro-Cubano music was like in the homeland before the revolution. They’re keeping it alive and we should, too. Here is everything your mother expects to know about The Buena Vista Social Club.

The Buena Vista Social Club started out in the 1940s as a result of racial discrimination.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Cuba’s socializing back then took place at “social clubs” which were institutionally segregated by skin color. The Buena Vista Social Club was a social hub for Afro-Cuban musicians and performers that kept it’s niche musical styles alive.

This is the original building, now abandoned.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Wikipedia. 11 October 2018.

It was founded in 1932 in Marianao, Havana and was wildly known as a cabildo, a legacy from slavery. During the 19th century, African slaves organized fraternities, i.e. cabildos. Back then, there were cabildos for cigar wrappers, one for baseball players, and even one for doctors and engineers. The BVSC was for musicians.

After the Revolution, all cabildos were shut down.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

When President Manuel Urratia Lleó was elected in 1959, he tried to build a classless and color blind society, and closed down cultural centers as an effort to integrate society. The new administration went on to favor the emergence of pop and salsa music.

Viejos went out of work while young artists started to flourish with a new wave of 1960’s Cuban music.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

It seemed as if this traditional Cuban son music was dying, and the African influences of Cuban music would be gone forever. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Thirty years later, American guitarist Ry Cooder and British producer Nick Gold revived the BVSC.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Gold invited Cooder to Havana in 1996 to record a session with Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González and African musicians from Mali, who last minute were not able to secure visas to visit. That was when they decided to record Cuban son.

Within three days, they gathered the 20 or so musicians that would make up The Buena Vista Social Club.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Already on board was guitarist Eliades Ochoa (pictured above), bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” López and González. Eventually, they found a pianist named Rubén González (who was in his 80s at the time) and Manuel “Puntillita” Licea.

Their only album was recorded in just six days.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

The album is made up of fourteen tracks. It opens with “Chan Chan,” which would become what Cooder would later describe as Buena Vista’s calling card, and ending with “La Bayamesa.” These fourteen songs are just the start of BVSC’s legacy.

Nobody expected how big BVSC would get.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

The album was released on September 17, 1997 as a CD and quickly became a word of mouth hit. Rolling Stone listed it as No. 260 on The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003.

It sold more than 1 million copies and won a Grammy.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

I know, now, why the moms love this story. First, their music is good. You must listen to the album start to finish. Segundo, this gives us all hope that no matter how old we are, the best could still be yet to come.

They went on to perform in Amsterdam and Carnegie Hall.

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For most of the members, going on tour was the first time they ever left the island, and these are all viejos we’re talking about here.

Even before they blew up, Cooder started working on getting a documentary production together to record their stories.

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At the same time Cooder was working on producing the album after recording, he started working with a German film director, Wim Wenders. The documentary, “The Buena Vista Social Club,” shows the faces of each of the members as they see NYC for the first time. It’s incredible.

Meet the band, one by one.

Ibrahim Ferrer

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

The lead singer of BVSC was born in an actual social club dance in Santiago in 1927. Ferrer spent his whole life performing sets with various different bands, including legendary Beny Moré. By the time producer Juan de Marcos González found him taking his daily walk, he was living in a decaying apartment in Old Havana, occasionally shining shoes to make ends meet.

Rúben González

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

González has been a master pianist since he was a young kid. He went to medical school in the hopes of becoming a doctor by day and pianist by night but couldn’t spend that much time away from the piano. He was in a few different bands and was happy with his quiet life of semi-retirement. Allegedly, Juan de Marcos González had to drag him to the studios.

 Ruben had a successful solo career after BVSC.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Immediately after recording BVSC, he started recording “Introducing…Rubén González.” It took him two days with no overdubs and Cooder released it all at the same time as BVSC. He famously told The Telegraph, “If I can’t take a piano with me to heaven, then I don’t want to go.”

Omara Portuondo


The only woman in the entire band, Omara is a legend who went on to drop her own solo albums. The story goes that her mother was born into a rich Spanish family and eloped with an Afro-Cuban baseball player. Her and her sisters were famous for their quartet in Havana. Her sister went into exile in the U.S., while Omara stayed and was coincidentally recording at the same studio as BVSC when Cooder snagged her for the project.

She still performs in Havana.

Compay Segundo

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Compay Segundo, born as Francisco Repilado Muñoz Telles, was born in 1907 and lived until he was 96 years old. As a young boy, he made a living in the tobacco fields and cutting hair but by 15 years old, he wrote his first song, “Yo bengo aquí.” He even invented his own instrument, the armónico. He played in his 1950’s formed band “Compay Segundo y su Muchachos” until he died.

Pio Levya

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Leyva was born great. When he was 6 years old, he won a bongo contest and wrote over 25 albums before ever partnering with BVSC. He actually was a muchacho de Compay Segundo.

Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Miribal learned the trumpet on his father’s knee. He was in several different famous jazz bands and orchestras before getting with the BVSC, which took him farther than imaginable.

Eliades Ochoa

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

Guitarist and vocalist, Ochoa, started playing when he was just 6 years old and by his early teens, he was playing in the “underground” circuit. In 1978, he actually took over Cuarteto Patria, which had been around since 1940 and brought them to international famedom and tours.

He vowed to wear the cowboy hat to pay tribute to his campo roots.

Viva The Buena Vista Social Club.

CREDIT: Untitled. Buena Vista Social Club. 11 October 2018.

The thought of losing a musical tradition that comes from strong Afro-Latinx roots and has fought to stay alive under political and fiscal duress is unacceptable. While those that are still alive in the BVSC made their “Adios” tour, I hope you’ll vow with me to say the same thing to our kids, “No, pero no te sabes just how maravillosa The Buena Vista Social Club really was, dime.”

READ: If You’re Into Rock Music, These Latino Bands Are Essential Additions To Your Playlist

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Bad Bunny Released A New Song In Honor Of Kobe Bryant And Fans Are Crying


Bad Bunny Released A New Song In Honor Of Kobe Bryant And Fans Are Crying

kobebryant / badbunnypr / Instagram

Kobe Bryant’s death on Jan. 26 shocked the sporting world millions of fans around the world. News that his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant was also on the helicopter when it crashed furthered the heartbreak. Tributes and love have been pouring in for Kobe and his daughter and now Bad Bunny released a song dedicated to the basketball legend.

Bad Bunny’s song “6 Rings” in honor of Kobe Bryant is a heartfelt note to an incredible father and athlete.

Credit: @DahliaPerezz / Twitter

Bad Bunny really went for it with his song honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Kobe was an inspiration for millions of people and his death was a shock that is still being felt. Bad Bunny’s song has brought those emotions back to the surface.

The lyrics are bringing fans of the basketball player to tears.

Kobe fans are grieving the sudden loss of the sports star. The lyrics of Bad Bunny’s song are both helping fans grieve and celebrate Kobe and his incredible career.

Even Soundcloud chimed in to honor Kobe via Bad Bunny’s tweet about the song.

Credit: @SoundCloud / Twitter

The last 24 seconds of the song are audio of Kobe Bryant speaking to fans. It ends with the basketball player saying, “Mamba out” followed by cheers from fans. The touching addition of Kobe’s voice makes the song more powerful and emotionally charged.

The sound of Kobe’s voice in the song is just too much for some of the people listening to the song.

Hearing his voice is just too real for some people still grieving. The end of Kobe’s speech with his phrase “Mamba out” is the perfect way to end the song.

The loss of Kobe is still something people are grappling with.

Credit: @Enmanuel_Cuello / Twitter

Sudden deaths are often very difficult to overcome, especially when the people we lose are young. Kobe was 41 and Gianna was 16 when they died in the helicopter crash. Our thoughts are with their family and friends as they try to navigate this confusing and painful time.

You can hear the full song below.

Rest in peace, Kobe and Gianna.

READ: Kobe Bryant’s Death Has Fans Mourning A Huge Loss: From Bad Bunny To Ricky Martin, Here’s How Latinos Are Reacting

J Balvin Dropped A Podcast All About His Mental Health Struggles, His Career, Relationships, And Family


J Balvin Dropped A Podcast All About His Mental Health Struggles, His Career, Relationships, And Family

jbalvin / Instagram

In the past J Balvin has been open about dealing with depression and anxiety.  He’s published many Instagram posts and stories about it, and he’s even written letters to his fans about it. Now, el chico de Medellin, is opening up even further. J Balvin released an 8-episode podcast all about his life, his career, his relationships and all the obstacles he’s faced, including his mental health.

The singer just released a new podcast series called “Made in Medellin” on Spotify.

In “Made in Medellin,” Balvin shares intimate details about his life, career, relationships and all the obstacles he faced while reaching for his dreams of becoming a global artist. “I know a lot about J Balvin and little about José,” he says at the start of the podcast, hinting that he’s going to take listeners on a journey to get to know the real him.

The eight-episode podcast will take fans into his personal struggle with mental health.

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Mami aquí llego tu vaquero 🤠

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Each episode focuses on a different topic and time in his life. “I dedicated myself a lot to the character,” he continues in his opening lines. “But without José, there is no J Balvin. In the end, that character is me, I can’t separate from him.” 

Fans will also get to delve deeper into the top Reggaeton artist’s personal life.

We will be let listeners in on details about his life and career through conversations with the people closest to him. His parents Alba Balvin and Álvaro Osorio are included in episodes as well as his past girlfriend of 10 years.

The Colombian singer himself narrates the never-before-told stories.

From dreaming big in Medellin, to his struggles with anxiety and depression while on tour, to the time he actually proposed marriage. Balvin is also accompanied by some of his closest friends; Andrés López “Papa” and Carlos Torres, as well as “La Mona” Osorio, who was his girlfriend for 10 years.

The podcast isn’t only about Balvin’s life and work.

Aptly titled “Made in Medellin,” the podcast is built upon the backdrop of the Colombian city of Medellín itself, with its vibrant adoption of reggaeton as the basis for his own rise to success in the first place. Balvin pays homage to some of the genre’s legends, including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin and Yandel. Otherwise, the episodes’ theatrics are sparse, yet thoughtfully produced — you’ll often hear a signature dembow beat thumping through, or the gentle hum of city chatter making its way to the surface.

With global hits such as “Mi Gente,” “Ay Vamos,” and “Ginza,” Balvin has taken the reggaeton movement to some of the biggest stages.

Balvin has taken his Latin flow to the biggest spheres of music, including the Tomorrowland electronic music festival in Belgium and as a headlining act at Coachella in California.

José Álvaro Osorio Balvín is a crossover king who understands the power of innovation and partnership. 

With musical roots steeped in rap, R&B, bachata, reggae, and champeta, the Colombian-born has crossed over into the world with his Latin sound and charmed listeners from every nation. How? Collaborating, innovating and creating something fresh. Do you want proof? Here it is: his growing list of chart-topping collabs with today’s hottest pop and hip-hop artists include Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Pharrell Williams (he has also toured with Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull).

In 2018, Balvin snagged Spotify’s top spot with the Most Monthly Listeners Globally.

Balvin surpassed Drake’s long-held record, with over 48.1 million monthly listeners. He officially became the most popular artist on the platform that year.

“Dreams are the reason for everything I do. The reason why I get up. And the beauty of dreams is that they are infinite,” he says in the recording.

J Balvin, one of the top recording artists in the world, is readying his new album to be released in the Spring. He is also the first reggaeton artist to perform on the main stage at Coachella, leading EDM festival Tomorrowland, and the first-ever Latin artist to headline at Lollapalooza.

Fans can listen to all episodes of the “Made in Medellin” podcast here.

READ: Maluma Spills The Tea On His Relationship With J Balvin, Starring In A Movie With J Lo And What His Future Holds