Eternal Omara Portuondo: the last original member of the Buena Vista Social Club celebrated 90 years from the stage

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Living legend of the Cuban song and protagonist of the golden age of the Tropicana, he also announced that he has a new album on the way.

The incombustible Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, the Diva and last survivor of her generation from the Buena Vista Social Club, arrived this Thursday, October 29, at the age of 90 as a living legend of Cuban music and without leaving the stage, where he celebrated his nine decades with a special concert in which, in addition, he announced a new album.

The show, broadcast the day before on Facebook, was recorded without an audience at the Sauto de Matanzas theater, an architectural gem of the 19th century in which the renowned Faílde orchestra, the Muñequitos de Matanzas and Haydée Milanés, who sang along with Omara emblematic songs of the Cuban songbook.

The nonagenarian artist played Twenty years, Drume bold, Today like yesterday and the classic of classics Black tears, with the clear and powerful tone that has become his brand. And he received video congratulations from his compatriots Pablo Milanés and Alain Pérez, the Dominican Johnny Ventura, the Mexicans Lila Downs and Reyli Barba, and the Guatemalan Gaby moreno, who interpreted Maybe maybe duet with Omara.

“Thank you for filling our hearts with that energy and that blessed voice that only Omara Portuondo can have,” said Moreno, who took the moment to announce that he has “the honor” of producing the singer’s next album, which has accumulated around thirty albums since 1958, when he debuted with his mythical today Black magic.

Omara Portuondo is one of the great exponents of traditional music on the Caribbean island, where she is also revered as “the filin’s bride”, (from English feeling, feeling), genre of Cuban song born in the 1940s.

“Congratulations Omara, Cuban diva, unique singer, an exceptional person whom we admire and love from the deepest feelings and emotions of identity and Cuban identity. Happy birthday! “, He wrote this Thursday on Twitter Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

His long career started in 1945 as a dancer of the famous Havana cabaret Tropicana, but it was in the song where the young Omara found her space. It was the golden age of traditional Cuban music and he soon shared the scene with the now legendary César Portillo de la Luz and José Antonio Méndez.

Together with the mythical Elena Burke, Moraima Secada and her sister Haydée Portuondo He was a member of the Quartet of the D’Aida led by Aida Diestro, who accompanied stars like Edith Piaf, Pedro Vargas, Rita Montaner, Snowball, Benny moré already Nat King Cole, during the latter’s performances at Tropicana.

The triumph of the Cuban Revolution meant the closure of Buena Vista, and the withdrawal of its musicians to a situation of inactivity, in favor of artistic expressions that responded to the political interests of power.

Nonetheless, Omara managed to launch her solo career, and beginning in the 1970s, she became associated with the Orquesta Aragón, with which she traveled extensively and recorded several albums, including acclaimed ones. Words Y Challenges, with the Spanish label Nubenegra.

Already in her 70s, the singer confirmed and amplified her status as an international star with the success of the Buena Vista Social Club, the album recorded with the “sponsorship” and the production of the American artist Ry Cooder for the World Circuit Records label, which resulted in a return to world tours, and the approval of the public and critics.

Since then, Portuondo’s activity maintained an enviable intensity, and included several visits to Argentina. “I still walk up the ladder of the future”, I said to Clarion in 2015 the singer, who in September 2018 shared the presentation of the album at the Alicia Alonso Theater in Havana Eleven: Concert for two, which united Argentina Patricia Sosa with his compatriot and longtime partner, Chucho Valdes. That night, the Buena Vista diva dispatched herself with a moving version of The day you Love Me, which he asked to repeat as an encore.

Omara Portuondo won a Latin Grammy in 2009, in the category of tropical music, for her album Thank you; He also received the National Music Award, the most prestigious of its kind in Cuba, and in 2019 received the Latin Grammy Award for Musical Excellence, among many other awards.

Tireless, in the midst of the pandemic Omara Portuondo released her album Butterflies on digital platforms, which earned him a nomination for the Latin Grammys to be delivered on November 19, and has joined social media campaigns for frequent hand washing as a preventive measure against the coronavirus. And in case anyone has doubts about their desire to continue giving music to the world, now announced a new album on the way.

Source: EFE

E.S.

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