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20 February 1927, San Luis, Cuba, d. 6 August 2005, Havana, Cuba. The release of the Grammy Award-winning Buena Vista Social Club in 1997 initiated a new era for Cuban music, propelling long-forgotten performers into the spotlight and making belated stars out of the artists such as pianist Rubén González, band leader Juan De Marcos Gonzalez, and singer Ibrahim Ferrer. The latter had actually retired from singing five years before he was contacted by producer Ry Cooder who was seeking a softer voice to sing boleros for the album. The success of Buena Vista Social Club, however, prompted the recording of a solo album, the elegant and eloquent Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer, which went on to sell in excess of one-and-a-half million copies.
According to legend, Ferrer was actually born at a social club dance. He was orphaned at the age of 12, selling sweets and popcorn on the streets in order to survive....