HAVANA (AFP) — Celebrated bass player Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez — famed for his work with Buena Vista Social Club — died on Monday, sources told AFP.
The 76-year-old had suffered complications following a prostate operation, group members and an associate producer told AFP.
“They operated on his prostate ten days ago, he came out fine, but later there were complications, I am not sure exactly what,” band mate Amado Valdes told AFP.
The musician, who was the nephew of legendary bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez, died “in a Havana hospital, unfortunately he had various health problems,” according to Freddy Fernandez, an associate producer of the group.
“It is an irreplaceable loss for Cuban music, he is the last remaining member of the bass playing dynasty,” Valdes added.
It also another blow for the Buena Vista Social Club following the loss of Francisco Repilado — better known as Compay Segundo, the pianist Ruben Gonzalez in 2003 and singer Ibrahim Ferrer in 2005. Another band member, “Pio” Leyva, died in 2006.
“It is a great loss for the group and for Cuban music because he was a superb bassist and a brilliant band mate. He was an excellent person and the quality of his music was, honestly, unparalleled,” said Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal, the group’s trumpeter.
Created in 1996, Buena Vista Social Club reunited veteran Cuban musicians some of whom had slipped into obscurity.
It quickly became one of the most celebrated Cuban music projects in the last 50 years after giving birth to the Buena Vista Social Club album and a documentary of the same name. Made by German film maker Wim Wenders it was nominated for an Oscar in 2000.