Fiesta Cubana with Omara Portuondo & Band (EuroArts)
May. 26, 2010
Cuba remained a musical enigma for most Americans for decades until 1997, when guitarist Ry Cooder introduced the Buena Vista Social Club, a group of the island nation’s most influential performers who brought the sounds of Cuba to life for a new generation of fans. BVSC member and singer Omara Portuondo resurfaced this past New Year’s Eve to headline the 70th anniversary celebration of Havana’s famed Tropicana nightclub, a performance captured on this newly released DVD. The 80-year-old singer is in fine form, offering a mix of Cuban guajira, bolero, mambo and son song styles with her five-piece ensemble. Hard-core fans may be disappointed by how much time the colorful, kitschy Tropicana “ballet”—with costumes as outrageous as any Vegas lounge performance—spend on screen, but the entire show glimmers with the energy and style that beats at the heart of Cuban music.