Saturday, September 18, 2010

Buena Vista take three

I finally saw the Buena Vista Social Club. Except it wasn't the Buena Vista Social Club. It was El Grupo de Compay Segundo, the man who fronted the band but then died a couple years after the group's international success. Two of Compay's son's are in the group: the bass player and the lead back-up vocals guy. The lead singer and the tres player were both in Buena Vista, which they of course didn't fail to mention. They did, after all, win Grammy's.

Whatever they're called, whoever it was--they were amazing. Exceptionally talented, all of them.

The experience itself was a little bizarre. They told me to show up at 8:30 to get my tickets, so like I good little boy I showed up on time and got a good table near the middle. But then it slowly dawned on me that I had been duped and I proceeded to wait an hour and a half for the show to start. Here I was, in the "1930 Salón" of the Hotel Nacional, surrounded by middle-aged tourists necking over their dinner of smoked salmon and filet mignon. And me, with my doctor's orders of no alcohol, no sugar, sipping my black espresso and pretending to be fascinated by the dinner menu. So I was not in the best mood. But the music certainly changed that.

They played a couple songs from the Buena Vista repertoire--Dos Gardeñas, Camino por la Vereda, Chan Chan. The rest were new to me, and all good as far as I was concerned.

I recorded all but a few on my iPod, which cut out a couple times and mysteriously showed no battery, only to show happy green battery when I arrived home. But I did manage to catch the dancing couple who accompanied them on my camera. I made a video and spent all of today editing it (since the camera's microphone is shitty I synced up the iPod recording with the digital camera's video, but it was incredibly painstaking). Hopefully I'll be able to upload parts of it, eventually. The whole thing was too big to upload with Cuba's bandwidth.

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