Eliades Ochoa: From Cuba to the World
Eliades Ochoa: de Cuba y para el mundo
MAD | Music/Art/Design
Anyone familiar with Cuban music knows the Buena Vista Social Club changed the musical world. But they might know less about one of the driving forces behind the group. Described as "the Cuban Johnny Cash," Eliades Ochoa is one of the nation’s greatest living musicians. Born into a family of farmers in the countryside near Santiago, Ochoa grew up playing guitar and singing traditional songs with his parents and siblings. Since those early days, his singular talent has led him to the world’s greatest stages where he has performed with artists from Silvio Rodríguez to Bob Dylan.
Cynthia Biestek’s engaging documentary is a thorough record of Ochoa’s life and career. Before Buena Vista Social Club, Ochoa played the nightclubs of Santiago and rubbed shoulders with some of the city’s greats. In 1978 he helped resurrect El Cuarteto Patria, a trova group into which he incorporated elements of son music. Shortly after, he met Francisco Repilado (Compay Segundo) and the rest is history. Black and white archival footage steeps Biestek’s film in warm nostalgia, while interviews with Cuban legends and celebrity fans flesh out this portrait of a true musical treasure.