MONDAY

Seventy-two-year-old Cuban vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer’s romantic success story disproves the axiom that there are no second acts in life. A member of Cuban great Benny More’s band in the ’60s and ’70s, by the ’90s, Ferrer was living in a tiny Old Havana apartment making ends meet by shining shoes. Out for a walk one day, Ferrer was spotted by music arranger Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, who was looking for older musicians from the pre-salsa son era to record with American guitarist Ry Cooder. The rest is history: the Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club CD, the Wim Wenders documentary of the same name, world tours by various Buena Vista participants. While the triumph of this Cuban cottage industry has engendered a backlash—How about some attention for younger Cuban musicians? Or performers from Puerto Rico?—the passion and chops Ferrer & Co. display on last year’s Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer prove that these complaints are just sour grapes. Ferrer’s phrasing is exquisite, whether on driving horn- and percussion-led sons or tender boleros. Guitarist Manuel Galban brilliantly blends Latin, surf, and lounge, while vocalist Omara Portuondo’s strong delivery powers the duet “Silencio.” Sentimental but not syrupy, rhythmic but not repetitious, the approach fostered by these Cuban vets lives up to the hype. Ferrer performs with Buena Vista pianist Ruben Gonzalez y Su Grupo at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, at DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and C Streets NW. $35-$45. (202) 432-7328. (Steve Kiviat)