WELCOME TO THE BAR AT BUENA VISTA
The music of the Documentary film The Buena Vista Social Club is the starting point for most people travelling to Cuba today, offering a way in to the country’s rich musical history. This film brought about the Renaissance of Cuban music, and resurrected tourism to Cuba on a massive scale. Suddenly, with the success of this film, the country’s old musicians became global superstars and the appeal of this music was brought back to life. Compay Segundo was 90 years old when he won his first Grammy, selling 6 million copies, making him Cuba’s greatest selling artist of all time.
In its wake came further recordings, world tours, solo albums and, for a while, this cluster of Cubans seemed inescapable – the distinctive strains of Chan Chan, Dos Gardenias and Candela were in every restaurant, bar, hotel and in dinner parties the world over. Salman Rushdie even referred to this is in his 2001 novel Fury, describing the warm New York months of 1998 as “that Buena Vista summer”.
The documentary film was put together in a very short time, and it shone light on some wonderful musicians.
However many great musicians of the period who actually played in the social club in the Barrio of Buena Vista were not featured in the film. The film also left many questions unanswered, where exactly was the location of this club, who else performed at this time, and what about the dancers, how did they dance, and were there any of those dancers still alive today.
We wanted to tell the real stories from the actual SOCIAL CLUBS, the stories that nobody had heard before from people who were actually there at the time, not in a film, but on stages in theatres around the world, and to share with an audience the magic of one night in this Bar at Buena Vista.
We tracked down the original barman of the Social Club, Arturo Lucas, and the idea was born, to bring his bar back to life, not in a film, but on stages, in theatres all around the world, to share with an audience the magic of one night in Havana, in an epoch so sensual, it can now only exist in our imagination.
The Bar at Buena Vista provides a platform to showcase legends that the film had missed. Havana is a treasure trove of artists from the Golden era, and the Bar at Buena Vista continues to present living legends to a wildly enthusiastic audience.
People fall in love with these grandfathers of music, and are mesmerised at the life enhancing powers of this music.
This is the music of the golden age before the revolution of 1959. This was the big-band era, dominated by the Tropicana Cabaret orchestra and its leader, Armando Romeu Jr, as well as Benny Moré and Dámaso Pérez Prado, all of whom helped shape modern Cuban music – melding Afrocuban with local jazz, mambo, US big-band styles, slipping from son montuno to cha cha cha, bolero, guaracha and beyond.
As tourism booms in Cuba, the music of this Golden era will never lose its popularity.
Arturo Lucas is no longer with us, but this show is our tribute to him, and for the meanwhile, The Bar at Buena Vista will continue to present legends of Cuba, its remarkable music, elegant dance, intoxicating cocktails and fine cigars, the secrets of eternal life.
Following a sell-out International smash hit tour, The Bar at Buena Vista – The Grandfathers of Cuban Music, is set to return to Australia in July 2018 and will once again have patrons dancing in the aisles bringing back to life the Golden era of Cuban music in the 40’s and 50’s.
The Bar at Buena Vista – The Grandfathers of Cuban Music – pays homage to the Buena Vista neighborhood – the famous quarter of Havana and Cuba’s music legends, such as the late Compay Segundo and Ruben Gonzalez. It is a dedication to the original spirit of the music of Cuba, the lifeblood of a people whose heritage is as rich as it is old. A cast of Cuba’s most notable and legendary musical greats drawn from the most renowned music quarter in the World, Barrio Buena Vista.
The legendary Cuban masters all return together with Cuba’s original diva Siomara Avilla Valdes Lescay. The cast will also include dancing legend Eric Turro, the master of all traditional Cuban dance styles from the 40’s and the 50’s which is a hybrid mixture of Street and Salon styles of dance will also be returning to mesmerise audiences with his moves. Eric will be accompanied by his sensual, sexy dancers.
The Bar at Buena Vista – The Grandfathers of Cuban Music is a passport to another time, another place that takes audiences to the downtown bar of a Havana Club of the 40’s and 50’s – creating a festive cocktail of music and dance, in a night filled with raunchy salsa, rhythms of tropical jazz and Cuban folk music in a show that is as intoxicating as the rum served at the bar on stage.