Essay on Buena Vista Social Club

906 Words 4 Pages
More than eight million copies sold is a great figure for any music album. However, for a CD labeled with World Music genre, that number means an unprecedented success. The album, named Buena Vista Social Club, has changed the attitude of the world to Cuban music forever. Nonetheless, Buena Vista has been criticized for being a commercial product, and for causing negative effects to Cuban society. Let us discover the story behind this phenomenon from Cuba, and more importantly, explore the music inside this brilliant CD. Released in 1997, Buena Vista Social Club immediately became an international success and won a Grammy Award in 1998. Around the world, especially in U.S. where the album was welcomed most heartily, Ry Cooder was …show more content…
In short, it is “period music” (Corbett 48), and surely it does not help us study contemporary Cuban music. This explains why most people inside Cuba did not know about the existence of Buena Vista until 2000 (Corbett 49). For a long time, they also did not realize that the album had managed to attract a large number of tourists during late 1990s. The bad part is, the tourists “bring dollars”, “expect a certain Cuba” and subsequently “define a new Cuba” (Corbett 50). Social problems caused by this tourism boom may “transform Cuba, like Cancun and Nepal, into a commercially acceptable ghost of itself.” (Corbett 50)
Buena Vista Social Club may be problematic in several ways, but in terms of music, there is no argument at all. Clearly, it could not have had those great effects if it’s not good music. Simply put, Buena Vista Social Club is a true masterpiece. Some of the credit must go to Ry Cooder and Nick Gold, two producers of the album. They brought the superior sound engineers and technology from the U.S. to ensure the quality of the CD. It does not take long for any listener to feel a sense of “immediacy and authenticity”, because the album was recorded live “with everyone play at once, in the same room,” which is rare in modern-era musical recordings (Walker). This fact contributes to “the incredibly deep and rich” sound (McMullen), which is well appreciated by audiophiles across the internet. Mike

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