The Buena Vista Social Club is a band from Cuba that plays music belonging to the genres of Bolero, Son, Salsa and Guajira. They have been active since the year 1996. Musicians Ry Cooder and Juan de Marcos González created the recording in the 1990s together with traditional Cuban musicians. They became an international sensation that in 1998, they were asked to perform in Amsterdam. The performance, as well as the 2nd show in New York City, was made into a film by Wim Wenders which then became a nominee for Best Documentary Feature in the Academy Awards and won at the European Film Awards as Best Documentary.

Because of the success of the film and the album of the Buena Vista Social Club, people from around the world grew interested in Latin American music and Cuban music specifically. The Buena Vista Social Club has been said to put Cuba’s musical golden age between the 1930s-50s in a nutshell. Members of the group also became famous solo artists on their own, having recorded with artists from other genres.

The club was originally a members club in the capital, Havana, which held musical activities and dances, being a renowned place in the 1940s for musicians to play together. This club then inspired Cooder and González to create a band 50 years after.

To summarize the impact of the Buena Vista Social Club, Juan de Marcos, a musical director, believed that the group’s recordings served «as a symbol of the power of Cuban music, and which to a certain degree have contributed to Cuban music regaining the status it always had in Latin American and world music.»

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