born on 20/2/1927 in San Luis, Oriente, Cuba
died on 6/8/2005 in La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Ibrahim Ferrer (February 20, 1927 – August 6, 2005) was a popular Afro-Cuban singer and musician in Cuba. He performed with many musical groups including the Conjunto Sorpresa, Orquesta Chepin-Choven and Afro-Cuban All Stars. Later in life, Ferrer became a member of the internationally successful Buena Vista Social Club.
Ferrer was born at a dance in San Luis, near the city of Santiago de Cuba. His mother died when he was 12, leaving him orphaned and forcing him to sing on the streets (busk) to earn money.
The following year, Ferrer joined his first ever musical group—a duet with his cousin—called Jovenes del Son (Spanish: Youths of Rhythm). They performed at private functions and the two youths managed to scrape together enough money to live.
Over the next few years, Ferrer would perform with many musical groups, including Conjunto Sorpresa and Orquesta Chepin-Choven. The leader of the latter composed one of Ferrer's biggest hits, El Platanal de Bartolo.
In 1953 Ferrer began performing with Pacho Alonso's group in Santiago, Cuba. In 1959 the group moved permanently to Havana, renaming themselves Los Bocucos, after a type of drum widely used in Santiago. With Alonso, Ferrer primarily performed son, guaracha and other up-tempo songs. However, he yearned to sing boleros.
In 1996, Ferrer took part in Nick Gold’s World Circuit sessions, when it was announced that an old-style bolero singer would be required. He first participated in the recording of the album A Toda Cuba le Gusta with the Afro-Cuban All Stars, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. This project was immediately followed by the recording of Ry Cooder's Grammy Award winning Buena Vista Social Club album, which showcased Ferrer's talent as a bolero singer and made him widely known outside Cuba.
In 1998 he recorded an album for the Cuban label EGREM, Tierra Caliente: Ibrahim Ferrer con Los Bocucos which includes Ferrer's voice, band leader Roberto Correra's arrangements and lead trumpet, and the Bocucos's accompaniment. The album is in the style of son-jazz big band fusion.
In 1999 Ry Cooder recorded Ferrer's first solo album. In 2000 Ferrer, at the age of 72, received a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist.
In 2001 he appeared on the track "Latin Simone (¿Qué Pasa Contigo?)" on the self-titled debut album of virtual band Gorillaz. Following Ferrer's death, Gorillaz played the song live as a tribute to him at concerts in 2005 and 2006.
In 2004 Ferrer won a Grammy, but was denied permission by the U.S. government to enter the U.S. to receive his award" as a result of extremely restrictive visa laws enacted in the wake of 9/11.
Ferrer released his second solo recording, Buenos Hermanos, in 2003 and continued touring in Europe into 2005. Ferrer's contributed in 2005 to the APE Vision Artists Project Earth album Rhythms Del Mundo: Cuba, a collaboration with artists Coldplay, U2, Sting, Dido, Faithless, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5 and others.
Ferrer's last recording was Mi Sueño, an album devoted to the bolero. It was released, posthumously, in 2006.
Ibrahim Ferrer died at age 78 of multiple organ failure on August 6, 2005 at CIMEQ hospital in Havana, Cuba after returning from a European tour. He was buried in the Colón Cemetery, Havana.
Ferrer was an adherent of the Santería faith, a blending of traditional African religions and Catholicism.
- Salsón (Siboney, 1982) - Ibrahim Ferrer & Conjunto Los Bocucos
- A Toda Cuba le Gusta (World Circuit, 1997)
- Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit/Nonesuch Records, 1997)
- Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Ibrahim Ferrer (World Circuit, 1999)
- Buenos Hermanos (World Circuit/Nonesuch Records, 2003)
- Mi Sueño (World Circuit, 2007)
- Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall (World Circuit, 2008)
- Mi Oriente (Tumbao Cuban Classics, 1999) - Recorded 1956-1961
- Tierra Caliente - Ibrahim Ferrer con Los Bocucos (EGREM, 2000)
- Mis tiempos con Chepín y su Orquesta Oriental (EGREM, 2002)
- La Colección Cubana (Nascente, 2002) - Recorded 1960s-1970s
- ¡Qué Bueno Está! (Blue Moon, 2004) - Recorded 1960-1961
- Ay, Candela (Escondida, 2005) - Recorded 1960-1988
- Rhythms Del Mundo (2006)
- Chepin Y Su Orquesta Oriental - Con: Ibrahim Ferrer (Perlas Cubanas, 2014)
- Lost and Found (World Circuit/Nonesuch Records, 2015)
Singles and EPs
- "Silencio" (1999)
- "Buenos Hermanos" (2003)
- "Boliviana" (2003)
- "El Dandy" (2004)
- "Copla Guajira" (2006)
- Leigh, Spencer (August 8, 2005). "Ibrahim Ferrer". The Independent. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Ratliff, Ben (August 8, 2005). "Ibrahim Ferrer, 78, Cuban Singer in 'Buena Vista Social Club,' Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Teather, David (August 8, 2005). "Ibrahim Ferrer dies at 78". The Guardian. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "Cubans Are Denied Visas For Grammys". New York Times. February 6, 2004. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- Mr. Ferrer can't be with us tonight, The Guardian, 18 February 2004 , accessed 28 September 2015.
- "Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer dies". The BBC News. August 7, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Levine, Art (March 9, 1999). "Viva "Buena Vista Social Club"". Salon.com. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- Turan, Kenneth (June 4, 1999). "Cuban Serendipity". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- "Ibrahim Ferrer & Conjunto Los Bocucos – Salsón". discogs.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Ibrahim Ferrer". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Buenos Hermanos". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Mi Sueño". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Ibrahim Ferrer - Mi Oriente". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Tierra Caliente - Ibrahim Ferrer con Los Bocucos". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Mis tiempos con Chepín y su Orquesta Oriental". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Ibrahim Ferrer - La Colección Cubana". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Ibrahim Ferrer - ¡Qué Bueno Está!". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Ibrahim Ferrer - Ay, Candela". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
- "Reviews". fRoots. No. 340. London: Southern Rag. October 2011. p. 67.
- "Chepin Y Su Orquesta Oriental - Con: Ibrahim Ferrer". amazon.com. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Official website