Ibrahim Ferrer / Feb 20, 1927 - Aug 6, 2005

The much loved Cuban singer Ibrihim Ferrer rose to world-wide fame as part of Buena Vista Social Club, but not before a long career in Cuba with, among others, Los Bocucos, Beny Moré and Afro-Cuban All-Stars, with his first Cuban hit record coming in 1955. He had been an orphaned street youth singer who became a Santero, as well as a singer of sones, guarachas and boleros. In 1962 he toured Europe with Los Bocucos and met Nikita Kruschev. He continued his singing career in Cuba, largely shut off to the world. Said Ferrer: "The music got better after the Revolution because we weren't playing for tourists so much. There was a greater identification between the musicians and the audience, which was Cuban."

He first retired after a 1991 tour of Chile. But he agreed to join the Ry Cooder-produced BVSC in '96, becoming it's cover star and a multi-million seller. After the success of BVSC, he recorded a Grammy-winning solo album at the age of 74, itself selling two million copies, but the Bush II administration government denied him entry to collect his award, citing a rule that categorized Ferrer as a "terrorist". He also appeared with Gorillaz and his final album (Mi Sueño) was of his beloved boleros. He passed away right before a tour of Europe.

Here's Ferrer, backed by Cachaito, Roberto Fonseca and Manuel Galbán performing "Perfidia", a classic written by Chiapas-born composer Alberto Domínguez around 1939.

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