Magazine article Anglican Journal

'Overnight' Success Just Took Longer

Magazine article Anglican Journal

'Overnight' Success Just Took Longer

Article excerpt

Buenos Hermanos Ibrahim Ferrer Nonesuch / Warner

SOMETIMES, it takes a lifetime to become an overnight success. That paradox is the odd lot in life of Cuba's Ibrahim Ferrer. He was an obscure background vocalist for 50 years and was part of the band led by the legendary Beny More, whose death at age 44 in 1963 had hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets of Havana for his funeral.

Where More was James Dean in his rapid rise to the top, early demise, and post-death legend status, Ferrer is the George Burns of Cuban music. For most of his life, he was a little-known sideman. Now, he is the torchbearer for the rich tradition of Cuban music.

Thankfully, musical nomad Ry Cooder saw fit to chronicle the Cuban musical tradition in various Buena Vista Social Club recordings. There have been several jewels, but Ferrer is the diamond with his sense of swing and rhythm that transcends language and culture. In 2000, at age 74, Ferrer won a Best New Artist Grammy in the Latin music category for his first album, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer. …

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