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Buena Vista Social Club Bassist Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez Dies

Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez, bassist for the Cuban supergroup the Buena Vista Social Club bassist, died in Havana Feb. 16 of complications following prostate surgery. He was 76.

Born in Havana, Lopez became an original of the group of aging Cuban musicians assembled by American guitarist Ry Cooder in 1996. BVSC sold millions of records and was the subject of a documentary film by Wim Wenders. Unlike some of the other members of the group, Lopez had never retired-he had been an active musician since the 1940s.

Lopez began playing bass at age 9, and worked initially in the danzon group of his aunt Coralia. He began composing at 13 and had formed his own band by 17. He played with many great Cuban outfits through the years, including the vocal group Los Zafiros and Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna. He also worked with Irakere.

Originally Published