1998 The Afro-Cuban All Stars at the Salon of Dreams


Shot in Havana while Ruben Gonzalez, Ibrahim Ferrer and the Afro Cuban All Stars were still living in their original homes, this is an affectionate and touching picture of some of the great musicians from the Golden Age of Cuban music who were living in obscure retirement until they were rounded up to record in the Egrem Studios, to make a series of records that have been a sensation throughout the world.

This film was made before Wim Wenders filmed the same musicians for his movie Buena Vista Social Club.

Tom Hibbert, The Observer, 19th July 1998:

They've kicked Lord Bragg off the wireless now that he's been elevated to the peerage; one hopes that he will remain on telly presenting programmes like this.


amazon.co.uk (review of the dvd)

Wonderful, telling the story of young band leader Juan de Marcos Gonzáles and his efforts to reunite some of the stars of the golden age of Cuban music. The film works as much as travelogue as music documentary, painting a poignant portrait of a grand old city in decline--quite the opposite story of the musicians involved. Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González and Pio Leyva are all elderly artists who, having assumed that their moment had past, are clearly enjoying a second time in the sun. The story of their revival is both moving and inspiring (one of the best moments comes as Ferrer and González drive round Havana in an open topped car, raging about the US and its bully-boy tactics) and achieves that rare feat--a documentary that holds the interest whether or not the viewer is an aficionado of the music.


 

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