Omara y mas

Posted on Oct 26, 2009

I have taken a short break from blogging this month but before we get to November. I wanted to share my experience as an emcee for the Omara Portuondo show last Tuesday, October 20th at the San Francisco Jazz Festival. The show took place at the Palace Of Fine Arts theatre near the S.F. Marina. Omara is an amazing legendary Cuban singer who has over 5 decades of a great show biz career including stints with Anacaona, Cuarteto D’Aida, Orquesta Aragon and her own solo career. She was brought to the world’s attention in 1997 as part of the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenom. Her duet with Ibrahim Ferrer “Dos Gardenias” elevated her to the world stage again after a star studded career in her native Cuba. She was so gracious when I spoke to her backstage. She remembered the phone interview that we did close to a year ago when her latest recording “Gracias” was first released. She was particularly overjoyed when I relayed the news to her that an old friend from the island, drum legend Walfredo De Los Reyes Sr. was in the audience. What a set! Omara dazzled from jazz tinged material to son to brazilian flavored compostions expertly performed by her tight supple band. To watch this woman move at her age with effortless passion (she must be in her late 70’s) to a swinging son and singing to a male in the audience was a delight. The power and sensuality of her voice was still evident on moving ballads such as “Adios Felicidad”. After the show, I was able to help Walfredo, Rebeca Mauleon, Emiliano Echeverria, Orlando Cepeda and a few other friends get in backstage to talk to Omara. Just the encounter of Omara and Walfredo was worth it. As soon as they saw each other, they started singing to each other as if they were back in Cuba many years ago. A beautiful moment.