BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 14 July, 2003, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Buena Vista maestro dies
Compay Segundo
Compay Segundo rose to worldwide fame in 1999
Cuban musician Compay Segundo, who starred in Wim Wenders' film Buena Vista Social Club, has died in Havana aged 95.

The performer suffered from a severe kidney infection, his Spanish record company Dro-EastWest, said, and had to cancel a series of concerts planned for this summer around Europe.

Segundo, who played the clarinet and a Cuban string instrument called the tres, came to worldwide attention in 1999 with the release of Wenders' film, which followed the legendary Buena Vista Social Club musicians as they played in Cuba and abroad.

The soundtrack to the film sold more than four million copies around the world.

Segundo had been bedridden at his home in the Miramar district of Havana, according to local reports, where he was being looked after by a doctor and his family.

Born Francisco Repilado in Santiago in 1907, Segundo learned his musical skills in the 1920s, but did not pick up his nickname until the 1940s - Compay was slang for compadre and Segundo referred to his bass harmony voice.

His group, Compay Segundo y sus Muchachos, was formed in 1956 and was still active at the time of his death.

However, following the 1958 revolution, he disappeared from music to roll cigars for a living.

But he returned to acclaim in the late 1980s.

In 1996 he released a new album - Lo Mejor de la Vida (The best in life) - to mark his 90th birthday, and his 1999 album Calle Salud was critically acclaimed.

Compay Segundo: Your tributes
14 Jul 03  |  Music


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific