World Circuit Records will reissue Omara Portuondo’s ‘Buena Vista Social Club Presents’ on 6th September. Remastered and available on vinyl for the first time, ‘Buena Vista Social Club Presents’ is a collection of eleven beautiful songs from one of Cuba’s most celebrated singers. Variously tagged the Edith Piaf or Billie Holiday of Cuba, Omara started her career as a dancer at the Tropicana at the age of 15 and went on to tour the world as a singer with all-girl groups Orquesta Anacaona and Cuarteto D’Aida. She later came to significant worldwide notice as the only female singer on the Buena Vista Social Club album and film, and after recording subsequent albums with other Buena Vista artists Rubén González and Ibrahim Ferrer, World Circuit went back to the EGREM studios in Havana to record with Omara. The result is an album resonant and evocative of the heyday of the big band era. World Circuit has recently unearthed archive footage of Omara performing ‘El Hombre Que Ame’ in London’s Hyde Park in 2000, as part of a Buena Vista Social Club/Afro-Cuban All Stars show at the Route of Kings.
The album drew international plaudits on its release in 2000 and was followed by a global tour with fellow Buena Vista stars, giving a whole new generation the opportunity to see the illustrious group live. Since then, Omara has regularly embarked on sold-out world tours, appearing at major theatres and festivals across the planet including a headline performance at the One World stage at Glastonbury in 2003. Now 88, Omara is currently on her last ever world tour, which also saw her performing an unforgettable show at The Barbican.
August 30th – Paris, FR – Philharmonie de Paris-Amphithéâtre
‘Buena Vista Social Club Presents … Omara Portuondo’ takes as its theme unrequited love. Her sonorous and expressive voice is set against a large sound-scape provided by the brilliant Cuban arranger Demetrio Muñiz, (director of Havana’s famous Tropicana cabaret). Muñiz introduced a rich and varied accompaniment to the recordings, including lush string sections, Compay Segundo’s clarinet group, traditional Septeto style, ‘50s style jazz big band and a string quartet, amongst other unusual combinations. The resulting sound could only have been made in Cuba. “The recording means so much to me,’ reflects Omara. “My heart is filled with so many lovely memories and emotions. I am grateful to everyone who has accompanied and supported me on my beautiful musical journey.”
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