Illustration by Ngadi Smart

Buena Vista Social Club

Having outsold any other record in the same genre with eight million copies, Havana’s Buena Vista Social Club was the spark that re-ignited an appreciation for traditional Cuban and Latin American music, said to embody Cuba’s "musical golden age" during the 1930’s and 50’s. Inspired by the phenomenal sounds of that time, Ngadi’s atmospheric interpretation of the music is represented in every line and stroke of her work. Influenced by the band’s 1996 album, it celebrates their 25th anniversary.


The group’s first live performance was filmed by German director Wim Wenders and the documentary–also called Buena Vista Social Club–attracted critical acclaim, an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary feature and won many accolades including Best Documentary at the European Film Awards.


Recorded in the same time it’s written God created Earth, seven days of 1996 were all it took to birth the album that would become a worldwide phenomenon. Originally released in 1997, the rhythmic sensations of the group’s Grammy award-winning first album continues to captivate listeners. 


Once you heard it, you had to have a heart of stone not to be swept away by the music’s romantic impulses and uninhibited exuberance.


The Art of Solitude is

a powerful photo-essay by London-based fashion and documentary photographer Ejatu Shaw, that featured in The Sunday Times Magazine. Perfectly capturing 

Buena Vista Social Club, by Ngadi Smart