Buena Vista Social Club band was formed in 1997 by the American guitarist Ry Cooder and CEO of World Circuit Nick Gold. The organizers had a dream of reviving the early and mid-20th century Cuban music, which was popular before the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Cooder managed to get together a group of legendary Cuban musicians. When the band released its first album, all the artists were older than 70.
The band was named after Buena Vista social club, which in the beginning of the 20th century, was located in a crowded Havana district Marianao. The club became a meeting spot for many distinguished musicians of that time. Such artists as Cachao Lopez, Arsenio Rodriguez, and Ruben Gonzalez began their careers at Buena Vista. The 1930’s and 1940’s were considered the golden era of Cuban music. Such genres as mamba and charanga as well as dances pachanga and cha-cha were born. The world also welcomed such Afro-Cuban music styles as rumba and son.
In 1996, Cooder brought together the legendary musicians of that time, most of whom were members of Buena Vista. Many artists gave their first performances at the club and reached the peak of their career there. Among them were Ibrahim Ferrer (died in 2005 at the age of 78), Compay Segundo (died in 2003 at the age of 95), Eliades Ochoa, Ruben Gonzales Fontanills (died in 2003 at the age of 84), and Omara Portuondo.