Omara Portuondo Celebrates the Tropicana

Omara Portuondo

Fiesta Cubana (EuroArts 2058028, 2010)

Fiesta Cubana is a great opportunity to watch Omara Portuondo, one of the legendary voices of Cuba, still at her prime. She was recorded live with her band at the Tropicana in Havana, December 1-3 of 2009. It was a special occasion, celebrating the Tropicana’s 70th anniversary.

Even though this DVD is advertised as an Omara Portuondo video, you really get a double bill. There is a performance by Omara and her band, but there are also performances by the musicians and showgirls of the famed Cuban nightclub.

Omara Portuondo offers a vibrant and at the same time melancholic concert that includes boleros, son cubano, guajiras, mambos and jazz, with songs such as ‘Tal Vez’, ‘Amame Como Soy’, ‘Yo Vi’, and ‘La Sitiera’, as well as audience favorites like the perennial ‘Guantanamera’ and Chico Buarque’s ‘O Que Será’.

Her band during this concert includes Harold Lopez Nussa on piano; Omar Gonzalez on double bass; Andrés Coayo on percussion; Rodney Yllarza Barreto on drums and percussion; and Jorge Luis Valdes Chicoy on guitar. There is not a lot of information about the Tropicana’s musicians, but the house band is excellent.

The DVD features bonus material, which includes an interview with Omara Portuondo and a performance by equilibrists.

The Fiesta Cubana video celebrates the voice of Omara Portuondo, a living legend and one of the most recognizable voices in Cuban music.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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