Written by Paul

Sunday, 08 March 2009

User Rating: / 1

brick and mortarbuena vista social club
clubs and organizationsleisure and relaxation


There are quite a few things that can enhance the enjoyment of a cigar.  Good friends go without saying.  Even a bad cigar amongst good friends and good conversation, can make for a memorable experience.  Other obvious pairings, of course, are all the varying foods and drinks.  I'd like to add another potential pairing that many people tend to overlook, music.

I am one of those people that enjoy all types of music.  But as I've spent time pairing different music with my cigars, I keep coming back to one style of music, and for that matter, one group in particular.  It may seem pretty obvious to many cigar smokers, but for me, the Buena Vista Social Club, is the ultimate in musical cigar accompaniments.

The group acquired their name from a members only social club that held dances and musical activities in Havana, Cuba.  The Buena Vista Social Club was a very popular location for musicians to be in play during the late 1940s.

You can't really call the Buena Vista Social Club a band, as it is more a compilation of many of Cuba's strongest musical influences.  The famous American guitarist Ry Cooder traveled to Havana Cuba in 1996 in search of local musicians that were reflective of the Cuban heritage, and whose careers had generally disappeared with the uprising of Fidel Castro.  Mr. Cooder recruited the likes of, Ibrahim Ferrer, guitarists/singers Compay Segundo and Eliades Ochoa, and pianist Rubén González.  This group then entered a Havana recording studio, and the rest as they say is history.  

The Buena Vista Social Club recorded two albums that have met with critical acclaim.  The first album was the self-titled  Buena Vista Social Club, released in 1997.  This element included the popular song, Chan Chan, an upbeat vibrant song, that if you close your eyes and relax enough.  You can picture yourself having met cigar in the heart of old Havana.  It's hard not to smile and relax when you listen to this music.  The songs convey happiness and the simplicity that go along with the main reason many of us enjoy a cigar.

The Buena Vista Social Club met with such popularity and acclaim that their next album was the 2008 release “Live at Carnegie Hall”.  While the album was released in 2008 the actual concert took place in 1998.  Why anyone would wait 10 years to release recordings such as this is beyond my imagination.

The Carnegie Hall album contains many of the same songs all though obviously in a live version.  It is a two disc set, and is a must for any cigar aficionado’s collection.

I suppose it's not a surprise that the vibrant music of the tropical island of Cuba matches well with a good cigar.  I'm sure there is great music coming out of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, and many of the other cigar producing nations, but this music seems to reach for the heart of the relaxing atmosphere that we all long for with the cigar.

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