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Music Review: Ibrahim Ferrer – Mi Sueño

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No, (unfortunately) Ibrahim Ferrer has not risen from the dead, nor has he recorded an album in heaven. BUT, luckily Mr. Ferrer did (almost) make his lifetime dream come true before he passed away on August 6 of 2005; he always wanted to record a pure bolero album. With Buena Vista Social Club, Ferrer was often pushed towards playing rumba, son and guaracha, but on Mi sueño (My Dream) he could finally dedicate himself fully to the most romantic genre of Latin music.

When he passed away, recordings for this album were stopped halfway. But Ferrer had already recorded some high quality demo's that – long live technology! – were enriched with modest arrangements afterwards. Buena Vista Social Club - Ibrahim Ferrer - Mi SuenoIf bolero's are often very, very corny, Ibrahim Ferrer with his magic touch turns them into true gems.

Everyone knows "Quizás, Quizás" (or the English version by Nat King Cole "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"), but never was it so touching: in this version, Ferrer is accompanied by another Cuban monument, Omara Portuondo. The result of this is the most fragile interpretation of this song I have ever heard.

Actually, this applies to all songs on this album. Ferrer's old, frail voice gives them such subtlety and fragility, that you'll never want to hear anybody else sing them. The romantic "Quiéreme Mucho", the jazzy "Perfidia", they're all to die for. Also, the arrangements built around Ferrer's voice (by pianist Roberto Fonseca) are so well chosen, Ibrahim Ferrer today would be proud to hear how his dream ended up sounding.

If Rhythms del Mundo – Cuba was a cheap spin-off of Buena Vista Social Club's international succes, this album is Cuban all the way. And beautiful indeed.

¡Adiós Ibrahim!

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