You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Los Zafiros guitarist Galban dies

Cuban musician was also a charter member of the Buena Vista Social Club

Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80.

Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, the vocal group, which prominently featured Galban’s liquid guitar work, became wildly popular in Cuba, and toured internationally. The hard-living act broke up in 1975; its history was recounted in Lorenzo DeStefano’s 2004 documentary “Los Zafiros: Music From the Edge of Time,” which featured Galban.

After a 1972-75 stint as leader of Cuba’s national music ensemble Direccion Nacional de Musica, Galban formed the popular unit Batey, which he led for 23 years. He later joined the group Vieja Trova Santiaguera for two years.

In 1996, Galban’s international profile rose after he was drafted by American guitarist Ry Cooder as a charter member of Buena Vista Social Club, formed to document the work of Cuban performers such as Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo and Ruben Gonzalez. Galban recorded and toured with the Social Club and its individual members, and appeared in Wim Wenders’ 1999 feature about the group. In 2003, he recorded an instrumental duet album, “Mambo Sinuendo,” with Cooder; it won a Grammy Award as best pop instrumental album.

Galban’s final album “BlueChaCha” is awaiting release.

More Music

  • The Future She Built

    Inventor of the Inclusion Rider Discusses Why the Initiative Is Necessary at Panel

    Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80. Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie […]

  • Kid Cudi Kanye West

    Kanye West Announces Two New Albums, Including One With Kid Cudi

    Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80. Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie […]

  • Elton John Biopic: Taron Egerton Boards

    Taron Egerton to Play Elton John in Biopic 'Rocketman' at Paramount

    Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80. Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie […]

  • Lucian Grainge

    Vivendi Prepping 'Potential' Stock Listing of Universal Music Group

    Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80. Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie […]

  • Kelsea Ballerini

    Kelsea Ballerini Signs With Nashville Power Manager Jason Owen

    Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80. Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie […]

  • Prince

    Prosecutor Won't File Charges in Prince's Death Investigation

    Guitarist Manuel Galban, a member of the Cuban supergroup Buena Vista Social Club and the pioneering doo-wop act Los Zafiros, died of a heart attack July 7 in Havana. He was 80. Galban, who began his professional career in 1944, joined Los Zafiros in 1963. Patterned after such American acts as the Platters and Frankie […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content