Gracias from Omara Portuondo

With Gracias album (released in December 2008), Omara Portuondo wanted to revisit the songs that she has found most moving and to work with the songwriters she most admires, such as Silvio Rodríguez, Pablo Milanés and Jorge Drexler. But these are not the only star guests on this recording, as if the list was not already impressive enough (other great names being Chucho Valdés, the African musician Richard Bona and the Brazilian maestro Chico Buarque). Some striking collaborations present on this project, must be mentioned, starting with O que será in duet with Chico Buarque and finishing with Ámame como soy with Pablo Milanés, a song with lyrics that could stand as a metaphor for the whole album.

Speaking about the album, Omara says: "I selected these tracks because they are very popular and people know them in Cuba. I like all of these songs and I wanted to work with younger people who play modern music which is still rooted in tradition". Indeed, the backing band for this 13-track disc features the likes of jazz bass virtuoso Avishai Cohen and rising Cuban star Roberto Fonseca on piano. From cabaret dancer in decadent pre-Castro Cuba to vocalist of intimacy and passion in the world-famous Buena Vista phenomenon, Omara has been a performer and entertainer for six decades. This album marks out her territory of sweet, sentimental nostalgia in favorite songs from all the eras she's lived through. Simply, this CD can be played over and over just to discover what it must have been like to be Omara Portuondo at every beautiful age.


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