For the first time in more than half a century, a Cuban band, the world-renowned Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club will perform at a reception at the White House.
The event will mark the end of Hispanic Heritage Month as well as the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
President Obama is expected to speak at the reception, which will also be attended by Cuba’s ambassador to the US, CNN reported. The White House’s invitation to the Grammy-winning band is the latest overture between the two Cold War foes, who have steadily sought to improve relations during Obama’s administration after five decades of animosity.
According to NBC News, the band derives its name from the original Buena Vista Social Club, a musical and cultural centre from the 1940s to the 1960s that encouraged Afro-Cuban musical styles.
It became known to the world long after the club was closed, after a 1990s recording by Cuban and American musicians put it on the map. The recording went on to become the biggest-selling Cuban album in history. Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club gained international recognition following the 1997 album, with hits like “Chan Chan” and “Candela” defining Cuban music for a generation of listeners around the world.
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