Relive the Buena Vista Social Club

Relive the Buena Vista Social Club
Compay Segundo by David Shankbone

I saw Compay Segundo perform in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2002.

He is one of the musical stars of the film "The Buena Vista Social Club" that will show as part of Millennium Park's Summer Film Series in Chicago tonight at 7:30 p.m.

On that night that I saw the man in concert, who was 95 at the time, I was touched. He wore his signature white hat and smoked a cigar.

He was there with other members of Buena Vista who performed during the FIL, or Guadalajara's International Book Fair. That year Cuba was the guest of honor and Fidel Castro allowed two plane loads of writers and musicians to leave Cuba to participate and perform at the book fair and festival.

Segundo spoke so fondly of his fans in Mexico and recalled it was the first place he toured when he was young. Here near the end of his life he performed in Mexico again.

Around six months later Segundo died. Two other of the old-time musicians, Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer, also have passed away since the release of the 1998 film.

Their music and that of other Cuban musicians from the 1930s to 1950s was almost forgotten. Ry Cooder brought the musicians to record the album in 1996. Director Wim Wenders made the documentary.

If you haven't see this film, or even if you have, it is definitely worth watching again at the Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph St.

It celebrates music that will make you want to dance.

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