Historical Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club performance @ White House tonight

By Matt Micucci

 

History will be made later on today, Oct 15, as The Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club becomes the first ever Cuban music group to ever perform at the White House.

The Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club includes surviving members of the Buena Vista Social Club, such as trumpeter Manuel Mirabal, laud player Barbarito Torres and trombonist and conductor Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos.

The group became an international sensation after the recording of famous 1997 album, made by Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and American guitarist Ry Cooder with some traditional Cuban musicians The record aimed to capture the spirit and emotions of the music played at the Buena Vista Social Club, a members’ club in Havana that closed in the forties and held dances and various musical activities, becoming a focal point of the Cuban music scene.

Spearheaded by U.K. label World Circuit’s Nick Gold, the album became an international sensation and the subsequent US tour, including a legendary performance at Carnagie Hall, a highly successful one. In spite of the Cuban embargo, and through music, Buena Vista Social Club reached out and created relationships between Cubans and Americans on a massive scale.

The success, however, was quite challenging, as hostility would occasionally arise, for instance, from Cuban exile protestors, and on one occasion during a Latin edition of the MIDEM music conference in 1998, the concert hall had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat.

Now, after almost twenty years of touring, in the midst of their farewell tour Adios, they make history once again becoming the first Cuban musical group to perform in the White House.

The party is hosted by President Obama, and the Cuban ambassador will be attending, along with an expected number of 500 delegates and politicians. The party is a centre piece of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative of Education Excellence for Hispanics.

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