Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club and Omara Portuondo in Rome
After dazzling audiences at the Auditorium Parco della Music when she shared the Sala Santa Cecilia stage with jazz pianist Chucho Valdés in May this year, Cuban diva Omara Portuondo was back in Rome again yesterday evening, this time with the legendary Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, as part of the summer season of outdoor concerts in the Cavea.
Sadly, many of the original Social Club members are no longer with us, but this latest incarnation of the Buena Vista project under the orchestral direction of trombonist Jesus Aguaje Ramos, continues to keep the flame of Cuban music burning brightly all over the world, introducing younger players such as Rolando Luna on the piano and charismatic singers Idania Valdés and Carlos Calunga, alongside stalwarts Guajiro Mirabal on trumpet and lute player Barbarito Torres, as well as the undisputed star of the show, “la mas sexy” Omara Portuondo. There can surely be very few eighty year old performers able to sing and dance with such enthusiasm and energy and be greeted by fans cheering “sexy sexy sexy”!
On a surprisingly chilly July evening, it was Omara who really warmed things up and got everybody up and out of their seats and dancing, and as always, Omara who was the last to leave the stage and her adoring public. Draped in the Cuban flag that she had waved throughout the final number she left us with a tribute to Italian music with brief snatches of two Domenico Modugno classics - Piove (Ciao, Ciao bambina) and Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (better known, of course, as Volare), prompting an impromptu singalong from the crowd!
Once again, a fantastic evening – catch them if you can.