Buena Vista Social Club Star Dies

(Gibson) Manuel Galban, the Cuban guitar great who helped Buena Vista Social Club rise to prominence, died last week (July 7) in Havana after suffering a heart attack. He was 80 years old.

Born in Gibara, Cuba in 1931, Galbαn saw his career hit its stride in the late '50s, after he settled in Havana and began playing bars and clubs. Essentially self-taught, he became one of the first guitarists to use his right hand to mute the strings and create dry tones, moving the guitar's sound closer to that of a percussive instrument.

In 1963, he joined Los Zafiros, a vocal group that combined traditional Cuban styles with bolero, doo-wop, calypso, bossa nova and rock. That fusion transformed Los Zafiros into one of the most popular Cuban groups of all time. more on this story

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