Ibrahim Ferrer - Melodía del Río

Cuban singer, Ibrahim Ferrer, was catapulted from obscurity and poverty to international fame in the twilight of his life. He was born in 1927 when his mother went into labor at a dance. Orphaned at age 12, he earned a living busking on the streets of Havana and joined a group the next year. He was fairly popular in Cuba in the 50's and the time immediately following the 1959 Cuban Revolution. But in the early 60's, Cuba dived into poverty and Ferrer was forced to move to the slums of Havana with his wife and 11 children. He continued to sing and took odd jobs to keep money coming in.

Looking on the bright side, he said "The music got better after the Revolution because we weren't playing for tourists so much". He 'retired' from music in 1991, but was coaxed out of retirement in 1996, when Cuban musician Juan de Marcos González and American Guitarist Ry Cooder traveled to Cuba in search of musicians for a project. They were blown away by the now 69-year Ferrer who along with 89-year-old guitarist Compay Segundo and the 77-year-old pianist Rubén González recorded Buena Vista Social Club. The album, released in 1999, sold over four million copies and made Ferrer and international celebrity.

Melodía del Río
(River Melody) is off his last release, Mi Sueño, an album devoted to the bolero. The album was released in 2006, a year after his death in Havana of multiple organ failure.


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