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Sunday, February 15, 2004

Buena vista, anti-social club

via Electrolite

US blocks Cuban Grammy nominees:
    US authorities have refused to let five Cuban Grammy Awards nominees travel to Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles.

    Musicians up for best tropical Latin album award - including veteran star Ibrahim Ferrer - have not got visas.

    Ferrer, 77, told press in the capital Havana: "I am not a terrorist. I couldn't be one. I am a musician."

The Buena Vista Social Club album, the only Latin music I own, is one of my all-time favorite records. It's a collection of songs from legendary (pre-Castro) Cuban musicians that American musician Ry Cooder recorded in 1997. Footage of the recording sessions and Cooder's trip in making the record were used in the wonderful film documentary of the same name.

The album is terrific stuff. Even in their 60's, 70's and 80's, these guys recorded songs with tremendous energy and soul. I don't understand any of the lyrics, but the energy behind the words is unmistakable. And, even though listening to it sometimes makes me feel like I'm in a Mexican restaurant (such is the extent of my exposure to Latin music), I find myself wanting more - but not knowing where to begin.

Anyway, these old musicians can't come here because there's a ridicuolous embargo against their country, Cuba, a country that's no more communist than one of our largest trading partners, China, and no more repressive than China, Saudi Arabia or any other countries that we're more than happy to trade with.

How petty.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.