Buena Vista Social Club

Buena Vista Social Club

Not actually a band proper but a confluence of veteran Cuban musicians brought together for a recording session by American guitarist Ry Cooder after a 1996 trip to Havana. The project became the surprise hit of 1997 when its resulting album, Buena Vista Social Club, wound up selling over five million copies, largely by word of mouth, and won a Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Performance. The Buena Vista Social Club did more internationally for Cuban music than decades of cultural exchanges ever could and simultaneously helped popularize the world music genre in the late-1990s.

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Photo by Uzon/AFP/Getty

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