In 1996, a group of musicians convened in Havana, Cuba to create a band called Buena Vista Social Club. Ry Cooder, an American musician, traveled to Cuba to produce the album. In an interview with BBC, one member of the band, Barbarito Torres, explains the making of the album that would go on to win international acclaim and a Grammy. Torres recounts that “Cuban music has two periods, before and after Buena Vista.” The band consisted of music veterans from two different periods. Some, like Ibrahim Ferrer, had two come out of retirement to make the album. The group went on to sell 12 million copies of their album.
The important aspect of Buena Vista Social Club is that Cuban music was able to be heard around the world. Barbarito Torres recalls that the country’s music was not being internationally sold because of the US embargo. The band was able to revitalize the country’s music scene. They were able to travel to Holland and Ney York to play two concerts. The interview with Barbarito Torres provides insight into making of one of the greatest albums of all time that is synonymous of the Cuban sound.