Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer, and record producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music from the United States, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.
Cooder's solo work has been eclectic, encompassing many genres. He has collaborated with many musicians, notably including Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, and The Doobie Brothers, Carla Olson & the Textones (both on record and in film). He briefly formed a band named Little Village. He produced the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997), which became a worldwide hit. Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.
Cooder was ranked eighth on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" (David Fricke's Picks). A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at number 32.
Cooder is referenced in the lyrics of "At the Hundredth Meridian" by the iconic Canadian band, The Tragically Hip: "Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy" (Fully Completely, 1992). Lyricist and front-man Gord Downie announced a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer in May 2016.