Friday, March 30, 2007

Who is killing off the Buena Vista Social Club?

The death this week of popular Cuban singer and humorist Faustino Oramas has brought renewed attention to the Buena Vista Social Club, the landmark, Grammy-winning album of classic Cuban music performed by Ry Cooder and a group of musicians who'd played at the legendary Havana dance club in the 1940s.

The 1997 album led to a film, concert tour and international success for the musicians who’d carried on in obscurity for the decades.

But the Buena Vista Social Club has also been dogged by controversy because of its connection to Fidel Castro and Cuba's government. Buena Vista concerts and appearances have been canceled due to bomb threats, attacked by protesters, and broken into riots.

And as the death of Social Club musician Oramas drives home-- the success of the Buena Vista Social Club carries with it a curse. In the time since the initial success... at least seven of its musicians have been found dead:

Manuel "Puntillita" Licea
Born: January 4, 1927
DIED: December 4, 2000

Compay Segundo
tres player & singer
Born: November 18, 1907
DIED: July 13, 2003

Rubén González
Born: May 26, 1919
DIED: December 8, 2003

Ibrahim Ferrer
Born: February 20, 1927
DIED: August 6, 2005

Pío Leyva
Born: May 5, 1917
DIED: March 22, 2006

Miguel 'Angá' Díaz
Born: June 15, 1961
DIED: August 9, 2006

Faustino Oramas
Born: June 4, 1911
DIED: March 27, 2007

The Buena Vista bad luck is an eerie parallel to another popular "club" album of the Nineties: Sheryl Crow's debut, Tuesday Night Music Club. The album is named for the group of musicians, including Crow, who came together on Tuesdays to work on the album. After the album's success, Crow's relationship with the musicians became acrimonious over songwriting credits. One would commit suicide (as would the author of the book that gave title to the song, Leaving Las Vegas), another lost his son in an accident and Crow would be stricken with cancer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't see how this is a curse. Most of the musicians in BVSC were very old, and when you get very old...you die.