Graham Reid | | <1 min read
If, almost 20 years ago, someone told you one the biggest music phenomena of the era would be a bunch of mostly old people from Cuba singing in Spanish, it's doubtful you'd have believed them.
But BVSC got a different audience going into CDs stores and to their concerts because they had a good backstory, seemed charming and free from guile, enjoying the belated attention and made music which was uplifting or deeply felt.
There have been the inevitable attritions of aging, offshoot projects and members being replaced.
Their appearance at Womad this past weekend is part of a farewell tour.
This collection of mostly short, previously unreleased material allows us to hear again the late, very great pianist Ruben Gonzalez (notably an improvised solo piece), singer Ibrahim Ferrer (three live tracks, he died in 05), guitarist Compay Segundo (died 03) and the wonderful Omara Portuondo who still performs with them at age 84.
There are also three simple solo guitar and voice recordings by Eliades Ochoa never intended for release, just after-hours stuff but very lovely.
By being drawn from various sources (live, studio and downtime) this isn't as coherent as their debut album but the same spirit prevails.
For previous BVSC albums, solo projects by the artists, interviews and overviews go here.