World Cafe

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

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24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.
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Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club The final installment of World Cafe Sense of Place, Havana is all about the greatest Cuban cultural export of the last two decades, the Buena Vista Social Club.

It all started with the 1997 visit of great American guitarist and producer, Ry Cooder, to Havana, and his three-week session with British world music producer Nich Gold of Workd Circuit Records at the legendary Egrem Studios. The original plan called for the making of an album with two African High-life musicians from Mali who were to collaborate with Cuban musicians. The African musicians ended up not making the trip to Havana, but Cooder and Gold made a record anyway and out of that visit came the legendary Buena Vista Social Club album, a huge unexpected commercial hit whose sessions were captured and documented on film.

In this session we revisit a 1998 conversation with Ry Cooder about his experiences making the original Buena Vista album and how the rise of Castro stopped time in a way. Cooder talks about Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez and the Cuban recording industry. Then we will talk with younger Cuban musicians, virtuosos of another generation, Idania Valdés, who is one of the main voices of the Orchestra, and pianist Rolando Luna who are members of the new Buena Vista Social Club group. They give us more insight into the musician’s world in Cuba.

World Cafe Sense of Place is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

Buena Vista Social Club On World Cafe In the final installment of World Cafe's Havana adventure, hear a 1998 conversation with guitarist and producer Ry Cooder about one of his signature music projects.


Set List: Buena Vista Social Club / Chan Chan / Buena Vista Social Club 4:16
Buena Vista Social Club / Pueblo Nuevo / Buena Vista Social Club 1:05