Many people know the song “Dos Gardenias” from the film Buena Vista Social Club, in which it was sung by the great Ibrahim Ferrer. This is one of the most famous of the bolero songs and was written by the legendary Isolina Carrilo in the 1930s.
The classic performance of this impossibly romantic song was by the Cuban singer and band leader Antonio Machin.
Imagine how I felt when I found a video of Machin’s performance. It reminds me that one of the most thrilling consequences of the digital age is that it has allowed the resurrection and wide distribution of classic, long hidden performances.
Watch how subtly and minimally Machin moves. The bolero singers were a special breed, masters of romance. He works his magic with his voice rather than any elaborate body movement.
Antonio Machin was impossibly cool. I am not sure I have ever seen anyone fit into such a superbly tailored suit with more grace and natural elegance.
I think my new personal “field of dreams” fantasy is to wake up a band leader in a Havana nightclub, circa 1935.