Picks and Pans Review: Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo
The Buena Vista Social Club, a loose confederation of mostly elderly Cuban musicians, has won a rabid following in the U.S. since the 1997 release of its rousing Grammy-winning debut album. Now the haunting vocals of the Club's lone female member, the 69-year-old Omara Portuondo, are featured in this, the latest installment of the Buena Vista album series. Joined here by vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer, guitarist Eliades Ochoa and other Club regulars, as well as a multitude of journeymen Cuban musicians, Portuondo's soothing, lilting vocals are set to the gently swaying rhythms of boleros and Cuba's traditional—and intoxicating—son. Listen for a Spanish version of George Gershwin's "The Man I Love."
Bottom Line: Cuban balm