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A hundred years of Compay Segundo
With the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Cuban music world this year is remembering Compay Segundo, one of the islands best-known traditional musicians. "Extramuros" magazine, a publication on Havanas cultural life, has dedicated its last number in 2007 to Segundo who passed away at the age of 94 after giving the world his contagious music as a member of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club.

"Extremuro's" homage to the famous musician includes an interview with his son, Salvador Repilado, his musical heir, who now leads a group called "Compay Segundo".

In the 1990s Segundo joined the Buena Vista Social Club, a group of mostly retired Cuban musicians that won a Grammy traveling the world singing and dancing. Compays son says that the project was mainly conceived in his own house, and that, in spite of the fact that the musicians were old and lacked musical practice, they put all their energy and talent into their music becoming world famous in the process.

Another aspect of the homage "Extramuros" is giving Compay Segundos is a useful list of dates of events and names of musicians related to him. The magazine, through the author of the article, Emir Garcia Meralla, explains how the Buena Vista project was born, who brought it about, and what it achieved beyond the CD of the same name.

One indispensable interview is with musicologist Danilo Orozco, who knew Compay Segundo personally in the 1970s, when his music was unknown in Cuba, and who organized projects to rescue Cuban traditional "son" and its key figures. Both national and international concerts, debates and other programs in those years had already exposed Compay and other veterans to the world, so that Cuban specialists do not accept that the Buena Vista Social Club is the absolute rescuer of these aged Cuban musicians.

The magazine article is ideal for a wider look on Cuban "son" and traditional music in general, as well as Buena Vista Social Clubs origins in Cuba, the boom it signified, and Compay Segundo himself - a vital and charismatic musician who almost made his dream of reaching 100 years, singing and dancing every step of the way.


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