Eliades Ochoa

Hailing from the countryside near Santiago in the east of Cuba, Eliades Ochoa’s roots are in guajira (Cuban country music) and his trademark cowboy hat and penchant for wearing black have led some to dub him ‘Cuba’s Johnny Cash’. He began playing the guitar when he was six, making a living playing in the cafes and brothels around Santiago. Such was his local reputation that in 1978 he joined Cuarteto Patria, becoming the leader of the legendary group that has been keeping the tradition of Cuban folk music alive since 1940. Not long before he was recruited for the Buena Vista album he had been working with Compay Segundo, reviving the master’s career and recording the first version of Chan Chan with him. His contribution to the Buena Vista Social Club™ sessions included his distinctive guitar playing and his lead vocals on El Cuarto de Tula and his own guajira showcase on El Carretero. Away from the Buena Vista connection, he recorded the 1998 album CubAfrica with Manu Dibango and several solo releases, including 1999’s Sublime Ilusión, and Estoy Como Nunca in 2002. He continues to tour and release music regularly.