Follow Us on Twitter

Ibrahim Ferrer - Mi Sueno

Ibrahim Ferrer, Mi Sueno

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE final album from Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer is a glorious swansong and a lovely fulfilment of a lifelong ambition; a work made possible by the success of Buena Vista Social Club that will ensure his memory remains long after his death.

The name of the album translates to “my dream” and it’s certainly that for Ferrer – a dream come true. “In the past, I was never allowed to sing boleros,” he confessed while recording it. “They used to say my voice was no good for it. Not manly enough. But thanks to Buena Vista, a path cleared ahead of me, a little bird knocked on my door and I got where I was meant to be.”

For most of his career, Ferrer was best known as a rhythmic improviser in the up-tempo Afro-Cuban son style. Surprisingly not a household name, even in Cuba, his fame was restricted to a small group of aficionados and musicians before the success of the Buena Vista Social Club offered him a wonderful new opportunity at the age of 69.

It was his version of the bolero Dos Gardenias that proved one of the album’s highlights and led to him being discovered by a whole new audience.

Sadly, three weeks before final recording of Mi Sueno was due to take place in August 2005, Ferrer died at the age of 78. On his deathbed, he dictated a letter asking that his dream be finished having fortunately left high-quality demos of the songs that he wished to make up the rest of the album.

In the confusion surrounding his death these tapes were temporarily lost, causing a delay in the album’s completion. But once they were found, they not only completed the album Ferrer had always dreamed about, but also are a fitting final testament that finds the singer still in heartfelt voice and singing the songs he loved best.

Recorded with the help of Manuel Galban on guitar and Cachaito Lopez on bass, the album also features contributions from late pianist Ruben Gonzalez and production assistance from Ry Cooder.

It’s a masterful, heartfelt listen that capably celebrates Ferrer’s passion. Highlights include Copla Guajira, which features some wonderful clarinets; Melodia Del Rio, featuring the pianos of Gonzalez and a typically Havana influenced percussion; Cada Noche Un Amor, with its jazzy romanticism; and the tango-bolero of the more upbeat Uno.

The spirit of Cuba is effortlessly conveyed, as is the heartfelt sincerity of Ferrer’s vocals. Like we said, it marks a fine farewell and a fitting reminder that you should never give up on your dreams.

Download picks: Melodia Del Rio, Cada Noche Un Amor, Copla Guajira, Uno, Alma Libre, Dos Almas.

Track listing:

  1. Dos Almas
  2. Si Te Contara
  3. Melodia Del Rio
  4. Cada Noche Un Amor
  5. Dueda
  6. Uno
  7. Convergencia
  8. Quiereme Mucho
  9. Perfidia
  10. Copla Guajira
  11. Quizas Quizas
  12. Alma Libre