[Marxism] Manuel Galbán, Guitarist With Cuban Bands, Dies at 80
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 9 09:43:58 MDT 2011
Los Zafiros: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFCG2TIEAjY
(I own a Los Zafiros CD. It is great!)
NY Times July 8, 2011
Manuel Galbán, Guitarist With Cuban Bands, Dies at 80
By PETER KEEPNEWS
Manuel Galbán, a Cuban guitarist best known for his work with the
all-star ensemble Buena Vista Social Club and its various offshoots,
died on Thursday in Havana. He was 80.
The cause was cardiac arrest, said World Circuit Records, the British
label for which he most recently recorded.
Mr. Galbán was not on the 1997 album “Buena Vista Social Club,” produced
by the American guitarist Ry Cooder, which created an international
sensation by showcasing a number of veteran musicians who were virtually
unknown outside Cuba. But he quickly became part of the extended Buena
Vista Social Club family after Mr. Cooder tracked him down in 1999 to
play on an album by Ibrahim Ferrer, one of the Buena Vista singers.
He went on to collaborate with Mr. Cooder on the album “Mambo Sinuendo,”
which won a Grammy as best pop instrumental album in 2004, and to record
with the bassist Orlando Cachaito López and other Buena Vista musicians.
Mr. Galbán made his initial splash in the 1960s as the guitarist with
the vocal group Los Zafiros, which mixed traditional Cuban music with
calypso, rhythm and blues and other styles. During his decade-long
tenure, Los Zafiros was among the most popular groups in Cuba and
developed an international following.
“Mr. Galbán was one of the wonders of Cuban music in the 1960s,” Jon
Pareles of The New York Times wrote in 2003. “His playing pulled
together two almost contradictory approaches: the floating reverb of
surf guitar and the percussive, snapping sound of the tres, the small
guitar that’s a fulcrum between rhythm and melody in Cuban son groups.”
In an interview published this year in the Cuban Communist Party
newspaper Granma and reprinted in English on the newspaper’s Web site,
Mr. Galbán explained his approach to the guitar: “I combine fast
passages with arpeggios, while making appropriate use of the bass
strings. In that way I give the sensation that more than one musician is
playing.” It was this unusual approach that led Mr. Cooder, who played a
crucial role in the later phase of Mr. Galbán’s career, to call him a
Buena Vista Social Club, an ensemble organized by Mr. Cooder that took
its name from a membership club where many of its musicians had
performed in pre-Castro Cuba, was the subject of a celebrated 1999
documentary directed by Wim Wenders.
Born in 1931 in the small fishing town of Gibara, Cuba, Mr. Galbán began
his professional career — playing piano and drums as well as guitar —
with the Villa Blanca Orchestra in 1944. He moved to Havana in 1956 and
joined Los Zafiros in 1963. After leaving Los Zafiros in 1972 (the group
disbanded shortly afterward), he worked with Cuba’s national music
ensemble and toured for more than two decades with Grupo Batey.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.
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