More than 20,000 recorded tracks by the likes of Irakere, Los Van Van, Bola de Nieve, Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo, among many others, will get new life thanks to a global licensing agreement struck Tuesday (Sept. 15) between Sony Music Entertainment and the Havana-based Egrem (Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales, or Enterprise of Recordings and Musical Editions in English).
Egrem’s catalog, the most extensive catalog of Cuban music in the world, encompasses audio and audiovisual recordings produced since the 1960s.
Cuban “son” star Ruben Gonzalez, waves to the crowd as he performs traditional Cuban ballads at Salon 21 Sunday, March 7, 1999, in Mexico City. Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer (not seen) leaped to international attention last year with release of the “Buena Vista Social Club” album that rescued from obscurity a whole generation of elderly Cuban “son” musicians.
Although portions of the catalog have been licensed before by various labels in different parts of the world, this marks the first time a multinational has access to the entire stable of recordings for the whole world as part of a multi-year agreement.