This Thursday, October 15, the legendary group Buena Vista Social Club, performed for the first time in the White House, after conquering stages around the world. The musicians received various ovations from almost 400 guests, among them President Barack Obama and Cuban Ambassador in Washington, José Cabañas, performing the same repertory which has seen them reap numerous international awards, featuring greatly relevant songs which capture the spirit of Cuba’s musical tradition.
Thus the members of Buena Vista Social Club became the first Cuban based musicians to perform in the White House. During the recital, organized by President Obama, the band played some of the most popular pieces from its repertory, such as “Chan Chan,” “Veinte años,” and “El cuarto de Tula,” according to reports by the accredited press in Washington.
One of the protagonists of the event was 84 year old Buena Vista diva Omara Portuondo, who on various occasions thanked the audience in English for their applause and invited the public to sing along to hits like “Quizás, quizás, quizás.” During the concert, organized in the context of activities to celebrate Spanish Heritage Month, Omara was accompanied by many of her compañeros such as singer and guitarist Eliades Ochoa; lute player Barbarito Torres; trumpeter Manuel “El Guajiro” Mirabal and trombonist Jesús “Aguaje” Ramos.
Buena Vista arrived at the White House during its Adiós (Farewell) World tour, which will see them bid farewell to the stage for the last time, but as we have learned over the years, you never know with Buena Vista.