Amadito Valdés: “Buena Vista Social Club is a huge sensation”

Amadito Valdés: “Buena Vista Social Club is a huge sensation”
Fecha de publicación: 
22 September 2022
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Have you ever seen a one-question interview? Well, here it is: the dialogue with Maestro Amadito Valdés, one of the greatest drummers of Cuba and member of the star-crowded band Buena Social Social Club, a propos of its 25th anniversary.

Maestro, what is Buena Vista Social Club?

From my viewpoint, it is something that generated an important situation in Cuban music, which is actually something hard to assess. As Amaury Pérez once said —wisely— in an interview with Eliades Ochoa, “the stars aligned.” I never forget that phrase because Buena Vista Social Club is something that put the Cuban music internationally on top in very complicated context in the 1990s. We just missed Mars and Saturn as it was the boom of traditional Cuban music.

“A fact I always highlight whenever I am in an interview is the fact that Buena Vista managed to position itself without innovating. Cuban projects that have managed to position themselves in the international market did so because of their innovative works in their proposals. However, we have earned the spot we have playing the same way music was played in the 1980s.

“Buena Vista Social Club is a huge sensation because it reached to places where the Cuban music had never been listened to before such Israel or Australia. Indeed, the band earned the love of the young audience and also got into the world of world leaders, presidents; for instance, Pope John Paul II invited Compay Segudo, the leading star of our project, to an event where proposals that contributed to the world peace were extolled and he gave His blessing to Buena Vista Social Club…Barbarito Torres, Eliades Ochoa, and Omara visited the White House in times of Barack Obama; I, with my band, played for the first time Latin music in Varna Summer International Jazz Festival…

“Well, there are lots of stories, lots of speculations, criteria that makes Buena Vista Social Club a world sensation.”

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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