Monday, December 07, 2009

At 79, Omara Portuondo on tour -- and headed to U.S.

Omara Portuondo, who's whose voice you may know from the Buena Vista Social Club album (i.e. track 7), is on tour again, and will be making five stops in the United States in February/March. The shows are in DC, Cambridge, NYC, Miami, and outside Philly.

Sadly, Portuondo is one of the last living stars of the BVSC group: Compay Segundo and Ruben Gonzalez died in 2003, and Ibrahim Ferrer in 2005.

I saw Portuondo twice, in 2000 or maybe 1999 and then in 2001.

Cuban musicians continued to tour in the United States for the first years of the Bush Administration; Afro-Cuban All Stars and Cubanismo both toured as late as 2003. Then at some point the visits were completely blocked.

The policy changed under the Obama Administration, as Reuters outlined last week. Afro-Cuban All Stars toured earlier this year and Portuondo helped host the Latin Grammys. Reuters says Los Van Van is planning a 70-stop U.S. tour next year. It's not completely clear how many Cuban musicians will be given visas.

Anyway, yours truly will not be missing Portuondo's show in DC.


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