How do you improve on perfect?
By releasing a compilation of previously unreleased masterpieces and live performances, that’s how!
Buena Vista Social Club became a cultural phenomenon when released in 1997 and truthfully if that was the only release that would ever see the light of day, fans the world over would have been satisfied for it is the definition of perfect. That was certainly the case until the release of Lost And Found in 2015. This isn’t just an album of demos or questionable live performances. Lost And Found is an absolute masterpiece that will leave you speechless; it really is that good!
Bruca Manigua (Live) [feat. Ibrahim Ferrer] gets me up on my feet and dancing. It is addictive and like all good Cuban music will have you immediately connect with the rhythm. As a live recording, it is exceptional and the mix is absolutely perfect as the audience is well positioned within the soundstage and when I close my eyes, I can see the players in their specific positions on stage. Astonishingly good!
Macusa (feat. Eliades Ochoa & Compay Segundo) is an exquisite recording that flows beautifully from the live performance of Bruca Manigua. I could listen to Macusa on repeat until the end of time.
Tiene Sabor (feat. Omara Portuondo) shifts the tempo of the album a little, but this is one moment when I really understand the importance of a standing desk, when writing reviews, for I can’t stop moving to the beat.
Bodas de Oro (feat. Rubén González & Jesús Ramos) is one of my favourite songs on Lost and Found for I adore the brooding, yet upbeat, nature of the brass instrumentation along with the entire musical element. It is a very special composition and one that I simply adore.
Black Chicken 37 (feat. Orlando López & Angá Díaz) has an incredible rhythm. The layers of music are extraordinary and the depth of the soundstage is so involving that I feel as though I’m the centre of the universe when listening to Black Chicken 37. This is one song I would suggest you turn the volume up on as you won’t be sorry once you’re ensconced in the music.
Habanera (feat. Manuel Mirabal) slows things down a little and while it takes the senses a moment to adjust to the reduced tempo, Habanera is such a smooth and beautiful tune that you’re bound to adore it. I know I do.
Como Fue (feat. Ibrahim Ferrer) continues the sonic smoothness with a gorgeous vocal that while modern, could have easily been recorded and performed live in the 40s or 50s. Como Fue is timeless and utterly magnificent.
Guajira en F (feat. Jesús Ramos) gets the body moving again, at a faster tempo, with a very addictive rhythm and vocal styling. Although, the faux ending bothers me as I don’t feel it adds anything of value to the song.
Quiéreme Mucho (feat. Eliades Ochoa) is a beautiful musical interlude, albeit a short one.
Pedacito de Papel (feat. Eliades Ochoa) is a solid addition to the album but is nothing to write home about. I feel it is a little bare bone and while that may work for some, the musicality that is there, along with the vocal, is beautiful. It would, however, have been nice to have heard a deeper and more developed soundstage.
Mami Me Gustó (feat. Ibrahim Ferrer) is essentially an impromptu live jam session that is utterly brilliant. I love it!
Lágrimas Negras (feat. Omara Portuondo) is a Cuban classic, dating back to 1928 when first recorded by Trio Matamoros. The original was brilliant, but this interpretation takes the song to another level that can only be described as spectacular.
Como Siento Yo (feat. Rubén González) is a lovely piano track but I wouldn’t call it spectacular, it is merely adequate.
Ruben Sings! (feat. Rubén González) is a really intriguing final track. It, arguably, seems a little out of place and makes me wonder why it was included. Nevertheless, the vocal isn’t off-putting, you do get used to it, and I still feel encouraged to listen to Lost And Found again and stay within Buena Vista Social Club’s incredible catalogue of music.
Overall, Lost And Found is an exceptional release that should be in everyone’s music collection, especially if you’re interested in World and Cuban music, but particularly if you already have the eponymous album and Buena Vista Social Club At Carnegie Hall. This is also the perfect album to gift a music lover, when you’re unsure of what they already have, as it is exceptionally good, yet there is a high chance that not all music lovers will have this ancillary release.
While this review was based upon the sonically beautiful Apple Music stream, Lost And Found is also available on the iTunes Store and if you prefer owning your music physically, Lost And Found is also available on Vinyl and CD.