Manual Galban just died, at the age of 80. He was lead guitarist of the Cuban doo-wop group Los Zafiros (“The Sapphires”). The group rose to prominence in the 1960s, but whereas mambo, son, and rumba were predominant, Los Zafiros followed more of a pre-Castro American pop style. Their strongest period was from the early to mid 1960s, but the members reckless behavior, drinking, and self-destructive behavior led to several members’ death and the group broke up in 1970.
Galban was brought back to life by inclusion in the Buena Vista Social Club in the mid 1990’s, and later by his album with Ry Cooder with the made-up name Mambo Sinuendo.
Los Zafiros were a unique band and their sound is cool and captivating. And very much unlike other Cuban music, now or then. I participated in a film documentary on the group:
And please: check out this fantastic period video. It is utterly charming and captivating: