Barbarito Torres with the Buena Vista Social Club
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The making of Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club album

Following the 1959 revolution in Cuba and the US trade embargo against the communist state, musicians on the Caribbean island had little chance to sell their albums abroad.

But in 1996 a group of veteran musicians gathered in Havana for a unique recording session of traditional Cuban songs. Some of the artists had come out of retirement for the occasion.

The Buena Vista Social Club album they recorded went on to sell millions of copies around the world and won international accolades.

Musician Barbarito Torres spoke to Witness about the record that broke down the barriers to Cuba and its music around the world.

Witness is a World Service programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.

  • 30 Sep 2015
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