Cuba’s legendary diva Omara Portuondo has been honored with a nomination from the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards for her latest album, Gracias (World Village, released December 9, 2008). Portuondo is a 4-time Latin GRAMMY nominee: She also won a "Prémio Música Brasileira" Brasilian Music Award last year for her duets album with Maria Bethania, and a Billboard Latin Music Award in 2005. Gracias, which was awarded the Cubadisco 2009 Grand Prix in May, is nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album or “Mejor Álbum Tropical Contemporáneo”.
Gracias is Portuondo’s most recent solo album in a professional musical career spanning 60 years. She first found fame in her home country with Las D’Aida quartet, and in the 1970s and ‘80s became a highly acclaimed solo vocalist in Cuba.
Omara returned to the international spotlight when producer Manuel Domínguez, the owner of Spain’s Nubenegra label, flew Omara to Spain to record a new album, Palabras, in 1995. The album’s artistic producers were nueva trova duo Gema y Pavel, who had settled in Madrid. On Palabras, Omara was backed by Cuban and Spanish musicians. She gave her unique vocal styling to songs coming from several different eras, the vieja trova of the ’20’s and ’30’s, the dance music of the ’40’s, filin from the ’50’s and ’60’s, and finally nueva trova from the ’60’s and ’70’s. She even recorded an old favorite, a Spanish song she had heard in a movie when she was a young girl.
Her 1998 album, Desafios, also on the Nubenegra label, was a collaboration with Chucho Valdes, Cuba’s best pianist. It was the Buena Vista Social Club, however, that launched her into worldwide fame, along with such major figures as Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González and Compay Segundo.
Gracias was produced by Alê Siqueira, with musical direction from Swami Jr., and it features such guest artists as Jorge Drexler, Richard Bona, Cachaíto López, Chico Buarque and Chucho Valdés. It is a special gift from the artist to herself and to the songwriters for whom she feels the highest regard. These are the songs she has always longed to sing.
The Latin GRAMMY Awards will broadcast live from Las Vegas on the Univision Television Network, November 5 at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central.
Buy the Omara Portuondo CDs:
- In North America: Gracias. Other releases available: Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo, Lagrimas Negras Canciones y Boleros, Flor de Amor, Duets, Maria Bethania & Omara Portuondo, Palabras, Desafios
- In Europe: Gracias. Other releases available: Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo, Omara Portuondo and Maria Bethania, Omara Portuondo and Maria Bethania
Buy the Buena Vista Social Club recordings:
- In North America: Buena Vista Social Club At Carnegie Hall (2 CD). Other recordings available: Buena Vista Social Club (original CD), Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo, and Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Manuel Guajiro Mirabal
- In Europe: Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall. Other recordings available: Buena Vista Social Club (original CD), Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer, and Buena Vista Social Club Presents Manuel Guajiro Mirabal
Complete list of nominees available at: http://www.latingrammy.com
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central