Ry Cooder has had a long and varied career as virtuoso session musician, recording artist, record producer, film scorer, musicologist and champion of indigenous music throughout the world. He started out as a guitarist of uncommon skill in Los Angeles folk music circles. He was briefly in a band with Taj Mahal called Rising Sons, and was also a part of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. His slide guitar playing and his ability with just about any stringed instrument soon set him apart. As well as playing numerous sessions in the '60s, he worked with the Rolling Stones and is probably responsible for pointing Keith Richards in the direction of the open-tuned guitar sound that has become his trademark. Cooder's solo albums feature dramatic reworkings of some old and sometimes obscure material. He has worked extensively writing and playing movie soundtracks, such as the eerie, atmospheric Paris, Texas and The Long Riders. Cooder has most recently been active with world music, recording a very popular album with African guitarist Ali Farka Toure. His latest and most prominent role is that of producer for an ad hoc group of Cuban musicians on a recording called The Buena Vista Social Club, which has revived the careers of a number of musicians, as well as being massively popular critically and commercially.