Music plays an important role in the lives of cultures worldwide. Music has the capacity for more than entertainment, but also for telling stories and expressing emotions. In Cuba, music is everywhere and its influences have given birth to other Cuban music genres and even genres n other countries. Cuba has been quite instrumental in the development of music styles and what music means to citizens and for the culture. Cuba music came from the need for cultural preservation. Born in the cabildos, a social club among African slaves, they preserved the culture along with the Santería religion.

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Orishas were associated with colors and emotions that appeared in several types of music forms. Cuban folk music evolved into música campesina, then changuí, then Son Cubano, and the rumba. Cuban music was lived, celebrated and preserved through social clubs, particularly the Buena Vista Social Club, a dance hall and music venue that spawned an album and a film that captured the spirit of the city of Havana and the importance of music to all. The club ran as a cabildo, and the movie with which the club shares the name was the hub for Cuban music and tells the stories of Ry Cooder, Eliades Ochoa, Omara Portuondo, Amadito Valdés and Compay Segundo.

The film is one of sentimentality, nostalgia and artistry that was said to be a true “character piece” more than a documentary. The movie tells of the origins of the club being named after a segregation-era nightclub and how Afro-Cubans played on “slave” instruments like the conga. Although many of the subjects in the film have since died, their lives have still had an impact as “the flowers of life fame late,” said one of the musicians in the film. The film offers up several video clips of performances from the aforementioned artists as well as others.

  • Buena Vista Social Club. (n.d.). Retrieved August 08, 2017, from