The wonderful Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer, who was a leading voice in
the Buena Vista Social Club, has died in Havana at the age of 78. He had suffered from emphysema in recent years, and felt ill on a flight returning home from Europe earlier this week.
"I felt like he was my brother," said fellow Buena Vista performer,
guitarist Manuel Galban. "He was a great musician and a great
In the wake of the success of the Buena Vista Social Club album and film, Ferrer released a brilliant album in 1999, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer, and in 2000 he was awarded a Latin Grammy as best new artist.
Ferrer was born in 1927 in the eastern Cuba city of Santiago. By 1941, he was already singing professionally with Santiago bands. By the late 1950s, he was a well known singer with the famous Cuban bandleader Pacho Alonso. When Alonso moved to Havana in 1959, Ferrer went with him and stayed with the band for two decades. He had retired from singing in the early 1980s, but returned to perform with the Buena Vista Social Club.