Andy Garcia has directed another tribute to his longtime musical idol, Israel Lopez "Cachao." The pioneering Cuban bassist and mambo originator, first profiled by Garcia in his 1993 documentary "Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos," is the subject of a six-minute film produced for Martell's new Caractère cognac brand. The bongo-playing actor told Billboard he plans to record an album of his own songs with members of the late Cuban great's band.
"The only thing he asked for in life was for the youth to maintain the traditions," Garcia says of Cachao in the short, titled "Mi Maestro." "And that's what our relationship was about, maintaining the traditions of Cuban music. And that's what I'm dedicated to today."
Cachao is credited with inventing the mambo rhythm together with his brother Orestes Lopez. For decades, Cachao lived quietly in exile in Miami, performing in restaurants and at weddings. Garcia, whose own family left Cuba for South Florida, was often in the audience.
"He took me in not only as a musical protegé but as an extended member of his family," says Garcia. He brought the aging Cuban musician out of obscurity in Miami with his documentary and, with the help of Emilio Estefan, a breakthrough album, "Master Sessions Vol. 1." Garcia produced a total of four Cachao albums before his death in 2008, at age 89.