Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In Review--Muchas gracias!

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Omara Portuondo
World Village

Gracias by Cuban chanteuse Omara Portuondo (Buena Vista Social Club), celebrates 60 years of making music. The 78-year old vocalist shines on this album proving that like wine, women vocalists also grow better with age.

This charming collection of songs features delightful duets. O que Sera features Brazilian Chico Buarque, Amame como soy features fellow Cuban Pablo Milanes, the title track features Jorge Drexler and Drume negrita features Cameroon bassist and vocalist Richard Bona. So for those folks out there who enjoyed Omara's duet with the late Ibrahim Ferrer will be thrilled with this new recording. Other guest musicians include Omara's granddaughter, Rossio Jimenez, Cuban pianist Chucho Valdez, percussionist Trilok Gurta, and Cachaito Lopez, among other stellar talent.

The sunny album was produced by Ale Siqueira and Swami Jr. Omara personally chose all the tracks which include favorites from her illustrious career and other tracks from her personal wish list. I would like to extend my thanks to this wonderful vocalist who defies the aging process. Her passion is contagious too.

Whether Omara is singing a lament or a more upbeat song, her humanity and strength come through. And I cannot think of a better recording to end out 2008 then listening to this celebration of Cuban music and our elders.