Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Buena Vista Social Club

The Buena Vista Social Club was a members club in Havana, Cuba that held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940s. In the 1990s, nearly 50 years after the club was closed, it inspired a recording made by Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder with traditional Cuban musicians, some of whom were veterans who had performed at the club during the height of its popularity.

I have been listening to this musically rich Cuban music a lot lately. I love Latin music. It also reminds me so much of my Grandfather (Abu) who was such a fan of this music, and loved his Jazz music as well. The first picture reminds me so much of my Abu, who wore paper boy hats and drove a Volkswagen bug like a mad man through the street of Mexico City. My Abu was dark skinned, so the joke was always that he was Cuban not so much Mexican. He smelled of oil from working on his bug and he blasted his musically rich Cuban music through his muffled speakers, and his Marlboro red hanged from the corner of this mouth. This music is very dear to me.

My Abu was the only Father figure I ever had and one of the best Man I have ever met in my life. A real gem. A Gentleman. And the only person that makes my heartache terribly and brings me to tears when I speak about him.  His passing was one of the hardest times in my life. He lives in my memories, and through the music that brings him close to me every time I hear it. I was so very lucky to have had this man in my life for 17 years. I miss him. I would give anything to wrap my arms around him again, and tell him how much I love him. It's surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.

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