Cuba Culture

‘Buena Vista’ pianist Ruben Gonzalez dies

Posted December 16, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez, a member of the Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club, has died in Havana, aged 84.

Gonzalez died after battling bone disease, complicated by kidney and respiratory problems, his wife Eneida Lima said.

Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, in 1919, Gonzalez studied music and medicine before moving to Havana in 1940.

He played with a series of groups including Arsenio Rodriguez and Enrique Jorrin’s.

Then his later life took an unexpected twist when, in 1997, he joined the Buena Vista Social Club, whose members have become ambassadors of Cuban culture.

Their album sold four million copies worldwide and took home a Grammy.
German filmmaker Wim Wenders captured their work in his Buena Vista Social Club (1999).

Perhaps the club’s best-known member, singer Compay Segundo, died in July at 95.

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