Album: Buena Vista Social Club (1997)


  • This song contains lyrics in Spanish which tell the story of a couple - Chan Chan and Juanica - who are building a house and go to the beach to get some sand.
  • The group was named after a private club in Havana, Cuba that was a popular place for music in the 1940s. About 20 Cuban musicians were involved in the project along with American guitarist Ry Cooder. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
  • Cuban bandleader Compay Segundo wrote this in 1987. He recorded it himself and and it became a very popular song among Latin musicians. In an interview with PBS, Segundo said: "It's a number that has four notes, and four chords. There's very few numbers that you can sing the whole song with four notes. I've been to Santa Clara-Las Villas province and everybody up there knows it; I've been to Santiago de Cuba and everybody there knows it too. I go by a school and when a kid sees me, he says, 'Look, it's Compay Segundo,' and starts singing, 'I'm going from Alto Cedro to Marcane then from Cueto, I'm going to Mayari.'"
  • Compay Segundo: "I didn’t compose Chan Chan, I dreamed it. I dream the music. I sometimes wake up with a melody on the head, I hear the instruments, all very clear. I look over the balcony and I see nobody, but I hear it as if it was played on the street. I don’t know what it was. One day I woke up listening to those four sensible notes, I put them a lyric inspired on a children tale from my childhood, Juanica y Chan Chan, and you see, now it’s sung everywhere." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 3

  • Jorge from Bronx, NyGreat compilations of Great from that era,This album is so great every song is a gem,In fact got to see the movie on PBS stations while doing the public support,lol,Ry Cooder is whom made this possible,in which he was a great bluesman in his heyday.
  • Patequi from Pasadena, CaThe four towns mentioned in ChanChan are located on the Sierra Nipe corridor in the northern sector of the former Oriente province, now Holguín. Mayarí is on the Bay of Nipe-the largest of the 4 townships in sugar cane country. From there the route begins towards the southern side of the province to the province capital of Santiago de Cuba, going through Cueto, Marcané and Alto Cedro.

    Compay is from Siboney-a suburb of Santiago in the southern region of Oriente but used to travel to the morthern side because his auntie was a resident of Marcané, from there he would go to the beaches of Mayarí Bay, hence having sex on the beach metaphors.
  • Keely from Bronx, NyThe lyrics are a metaphor for having sex on the beach.
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