I got to talk to one of the original members of the Buena Vista Social Club last night! Granted, he performs with his Guatemalan/Cuban ensemble five times a week in Antigua – but I went to the best performance, Sunday night in a tiny little dive bar that’s not advertised anywhere, and during the break this musical legend sat down across the counter from me and so, of course, I had to say hello. He decided to leave Cuba years ago because it was too difficult to get permission to leave and enter the country… then he lived in a whole series of countries scattered around Latin America and the Caribbean, and came to Antigua eleven years ago and decided to stay here. After a short conversation, he suddenly stood up, motioned “one second” to me, sat down at his drums, and started playing the second set.
Here is the best internet image I could find of him. As it turned out, yesterday was his 64th birthday. I wish I had known while I was talking to him. Happy belated birthday!
Please allow me to leave you with this gem courtesy of the rear-view mirror in the bus we rode to Lake Atítlan last week :
and, compare and contrast :