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SoundTRAX: Ry Cooder and the "Buena Vista Social Club"

The album cover for "Buena Vista Social Club" features a street in Cuba with pedestrians and a blue parked car.
World Circuit

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Singer, songwriter, composer and slide-guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder is celebrating his 76th birthday today and his accomplishments and collaborations would take a significant amount of time to list— so, in a nutshell:

Bill Monroe, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones, Taj Mahal, Randy Newman, Mavis Staples. And believe me, that's the short list!

But for today's SoundTRAX I wanted to highlight his involvement with The Buena Vista Social Club— both the documentary and the album.

Cooder produced the album and is credited with bringing increased attention to Cuban music and highlighting some incredible musicians that were otherwise unknown in the States.

The project was captured in a documentary by director Wim Wenders, who chronicled not only the musicians involved, but several sold-out shows that followed.

The album won a Grammy and the film was even nominated for an Oscar.

The musicianship is astounding and the tunes are irresistible.

So in honor of producer Ry Cooder's birthday, today's #SoundTRAX is what he called the "the Buena Vista's calling card."

Written by Compay Segundo, it's the Buena Vista Social Club with "Chan Chan."

Check out the documentary trailer as well.

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.

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