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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Singer Ferrer buried in Havana
By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Havana

Funeral of Ibrahim Ferrer
Ferrer was buried in a simple black coffin
A funeral has been held in Havana for the Cuban musician Ibrahim Ferrer.

Ferrer, who died on Saturday at the age of 78, was a lead singer with the Grammy award winning group the Buena Vista Social Club.

The band found international fame in the late 1990s, after being promoted by the US guitarist Ry Cooder, and featuring in a film by Wim Wenders.

Ibrahim Ferrer is the third elderly member of the band to die in the last two years.

A recording of the voice of Ibrahim Ferrer was heard at his own funeral for around 200 of his friends and family who had come to say a final goodbye.

Ibrahim Ferrer

It was a simple ceremony for the man who was described as having a voice like an angel.

His body was carried in a plain black coffin and placed in a large stone grave.

The unpretentious farewell was perhaps as he would have liked it.

Juan De Marcos, the Cuban musician who persuaded all the elderly members of the Buena Vista Social Club to get together and record an album, remembered the singer as the reluctant star.

"Ibrahim was always a shy guy," he said.

"He never wanted to be in front of the band. He thought that the proper place for him was in the back of the band because he never was in the front of any band in his life."

His death follows that in 2003 of Compay Segundo and Ruben Gonzalez, the two other key members of the group.

Together they all had an extraordinary second career in the final decade of their lives.

Their music, all but forgotten just 10 years ago, does now look set to live on.

  • Also buried on Monday was Noel Nicola, one of the founders of modern Cuban trova music, who died at the weekend aged 58.

    More than 100 people, including fellow trova stars Silvio Rodriguez, Vicente Feliu and Gerardo Alfonso, attended the funeral at Havana's Colon Cemetery.

    They gave a rendition of one of Nicola's most famous songs - Es mas, te perdono.

    Born in Cuba to a family of musicians, Nicola performed around the world and composed music for films and theatre during a career that spanned more than 40 years.

    Modern Cuban trovas recall American protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s, focusing attention on social problems through musical storytelling.

    See footage of the veteran Cuban singer

    Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer dies
    07 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
    Obituary: Ibrahim Ferrer
    07 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
    US blocks Cuban Grammy nominees
    06 Feb 04 |  Entertainment
    Buena Vista legend laid to rest
    15 Jul 03 |  Entertainment
    Joining the Buena Vista Social Club
    09 Apr 01 |  Entertainment



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