The Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club was invited to perform at The White House yesterday in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month.
President Barack Obama hosted a delegation of about 500 dignitaries and politicians from around the world in another sign of the historic shift in policy between Cuba and the United States.
The famous musical group is performed at the White House in the middle of their sold-out tour, “Adiós Tour”.
Players included Grammy Award–winning Buena Vista Social Club band—vocalist Omara Portuondo, vocalist and guitarist Eliades Ochoa, laúd player Barbarito Torres, trumpeter Guajiro Mirabal, and trombonist Jesús “Aguaje” Ramos.
The musicians performed Cuban classics including “Chan Chan” and “El Cuarto de Tula”.
Yesterday’s performance was first Cuban musical group to perform at the White House in more than 50 years.
“It is wonderful to have you here. I was explaining to them that when the documentary about the Buena Vista Social Club came out, I was told it was around 1998, I bought a CD,” said President Barack Obama.
The Buena Vista Social Club was a members-only club in pre-revolutionary Havana. While the club closed in the 1940s, a 1990s band emerged as an unofficial brand name representing the musical spirit of the original Havana club.
Image: Eliades Ochoa. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons