Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Músicos Cubanos

Its amazing to watch them, some were in their 90's when this was made. Despite their advancing years, you could tell they loved what they did, what some of them having been doing for upwards of 70 years - singing and playing music. Not for the money, rather for the satisfaction of doing what they were meant to do.

This is one of the most entertaining documentaries ever. Ry Cooder and his son Joachim traveled to Havana to revive and record some of Cuba's pre-Castro musical legends. These musicians, in a genre I can only classify as Latin Jazz, were (are) incredibly talented. They were collectively known as the Buena Vista Social Club, a brief but bright entity that performed their last concert at Carnegie Hall in 1998.

Buena Vista Social Club

Aside from the music which is haunting and powerful in its own subtle way, there are other fascinating facets to this film. One that I really liked was the voyeuristic journey through the charmingly dilapidated streets of Havana. Maybe when Castro kicks off I'll go to visit Cuba, it really has a magnetism, at least from my living room vantage point.

Old Havana

Filming was interesting; from the jagged hand carried variety through the streets of Havana to the interesting transitions between a song that had been filmed in the recording studio and its counterpart filmed in concert. I really liked the sleek concert footage in Carnegie Hall juxtaposed with gritty Cuban street scenes. The footage following one of the older musicians around on his first time in NYC was heart-warming and priceless. You just don't get that kind of genuine dumbstruck awe from anyone anymore in our age of continuous sensory overload.

Now if that isn't enough, it won 18 different awards. Its also a good one to watch to learn the g-dropping, s-swallowing Cuban version of Spanish.

Or you could just watch it to see Joachim Cooder, he's quite the looker.

Buena Vista Social Club

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