The Buena Vista Social Club Returns to Tucson

Buena Vista Social Club alumni Omara Portuondo, Guajiro Mirabal, Barbarito Torres and Eliades Ochoa return to the stage to perform with La Orquestra Buena Vista Social Club, a 13-piece group including a new generation of musicians, will perform Saturday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Fans will be able to hear some of their most famous songs like "Chan Chan," "El Carretero" and many other classics.

“I am very happy to be back with the public in the United States, I have done a lot of tours and the public has always been great, they know all our songs and are always welcoming,” said Eliades Ochoa, an original member and one of the founders of the Buena Vista Social Club.

Opening for them will be jazz pianist, Roberto Fonseca, a highly acclaimed, well respected musician from Havana.

“He is a very talented young man; what makes him great is that he can play variety of music. He is a complete artist,” Ochoa said.

Tickets are $45, $43, $40, $37, $30 with discounts. For information about the concert call (520) 621-3341 or go online to

Eliades Ochoa had a few moments to talk to the Tucson Weekly:

What is the difference or similarities to the new generation of members in the Buena Vista Social Club?
The new generation in Buena Vista Social Club plays peninsular Cuban music. They come to us at a young age but they have a deep knowledge of the music of peninsular Cuban music and want to be there playing this music with the Buena Vista Social Club.

What is your favorite type of music and why?
Son cubano. I am sonero, my life is the countryside (the fields and land), I was born in the fields and will die there. (A style of music that originated in Cuba and gained worldwide popularity in the 1930s. Son combines elements of Spanish canción and the Spanish guitar with African rhythms and percussion instruments of Bantu and Arará origin.)

If you were not performing and playing music what would you be doing instead?
I think I was meant to be born as an artist and if I weren’t meant to be playing music, it would be better that I was never born. So if I wasn’t playing music, I don’t know what I would be doing.

If you are not playing music what are you doing?
I visit with my friends. I read a lot. I am like any other person.

What is your favorite song to play while on tour?
That’s hard; I love all the songs.

Many people compare you to Johnny Cash, does that bother you?
It is something beautiful; he is an artist of the world. I think when one is compared to another artist of quality whose music has made it around the world and brings joy to others is beautiful and to be compared to him I value a lot.

What is the most popular music in Cuba right now?
The youth is listening to a lot of a Reggeaton.

Did you like the documentary made by Wim Wenders about the Buena Vista Club and why?
Yeah, of course. It was very beautiful and it made us be even more well known around the world. Now wherever we go people recognize us and because of that we are all very thankful for the documentary.

Many Cuban artist have left Cuba but you have decided not to leave why?
Many artists do leave and they go travel the world, work and do whatever this is where I feel comfortable.

What kind of legacy do you hope the Buena Vista Club Leave behind?
I hope that we are known to have always played the best possibly could at our concerts and that we always gave the best to our fans, that we celebrated our public because they were always their for us. We did it all with lots of love.