Return to Buena Vista Social Club with Omara Portuondo

Following on from her recent triumphant show at London’s Barbican Centre, World Circuit Records is reissuing Buena Vista Social Club Presents…Omara Portuondo on 6th September. The record is a collection of 11 songs by Portuondo, who has variously been described as the Edith Piaf or Billie Holiday of Cuba. She started became a dancer at the Tropicana at the tender age of 15 then toured the world with all-girl groups, Orquesta Anacaona and Cuarteto D’Aida. Ironically, it took becoming the only female singer on the Buena Vista Social Club album and film to truly come to worldwide prominence. That record was the biggest selling world music album of all time.

After further collaborations with Buena Vista Social Club members, Portuondo’s showcase Buena Visa Social Club Presents album was released in 2000, and followed by a global tour with other Buena Vista Social Club members. Now aged 88, her recent Barbican performance was part of her last ever world tour. Here’s footage of a previous performance at Hyde Park in London in 2000.

The remastered version of the album amps up Portuondo’s expansive and expressive voice and jazzy big band soundscapes combined with strings and clarinet. She appreciated the opportunity for a retrospective: “my heart is filled with so many lovely memories and emotions. I am grateful to everyone who has accompanied and supported me on my beautiful musical journey.”

With over 30 years of experience in producing world music albums, World Circuit Records are now taking the opportunity to look back at their history and revitalise several of their cornerstone releases with remastered versions released on vinyl and digitally.

As well as Portuondo’s record, Ali Farka Touré’s Savane will be released on September 6. It was recorded in his home village in the desert north of Mali and completed just before his death in 2006. 

Radio Tarifa’s classic world fusion album Rumba Argelina and Cuban guitarist Guillermo Portabales’ El Carretero, a collecton of his ’60s recordings, are both due out on October 4.

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