La cantante cubana Omara Portuondo en el concierto homenaje organizado por el músico Roberto Fonseca, durante la clausura del 35 Festival de Jazz Plaza de La Habana, el 19 de enero de 2020. Foto: Ernesto Mastrascusa / EFE.

Omara Portuondo: what was done during the Obama administration for Cuba “has been removed”

the diva of Buena Vista Social Clubthe legendary singer Omara Portuondohe said this Tuesday to EFE that everything that was done during Barack Obama’s mandate for Cuba “has been taken away” and Joe Biden He has done almost nothing for the Island since he has governed.

The also known as “the girlfriend of feeling” is forceful when it comes to answering the question of how she perceives the relationship of the neighboring country with the Island and if this has affected the daily life of her compatriots.

Portuondo (Havana, 1930) believes that “the United States does not care about Cuba at all, so nothing has changed and everything Obama did has been taken away. Biden has done almost nothing in Cuba.”

The crisis is due to blocking that the United States continues to impose unfairly on us”, although he recognizes that “some of the ideas in Cuba that no longer work must change, but what harms us the most is the blockade”.

Farewell in Europe

At 91 years old, he is still on tour and tonight he begins a farewell throughout Europe at the La Mar de Músicas festival in the Spanish city of Cartagena. As he has announced, when the tour European will only act in Cuba or in nearby countries.

He has many memories of his time at Buena Vista Social Club (BVSC), but without a doubt having been able to be next to Francisco Repilado (Compay Segundo) is one of the things he likes the most, because “he was a nice and very normal person, as they say, he had a spark”.

By chance Omara Portuondo and her band recorded in 1996 in one of the halls of the legendary EGREM studios in Havana at the same time as BVSC and, while singing “Veinte Años”, Ry Cooder decided to record the take that became part of the record.

Buena Vista Social Club, back 25 years later

Omara usually remembers in her interviews the hardships she suffered in her childhood, which she believes helped her to be who she is, an admired singer: “Of course, there are many artists in the world who have experienced the same thing, so I think that It is a test that life puts on you, that teaches you”.

Their memories

He came to be in the mythical Tropicana club about which he usually tells many anecdotes. Omara had seen her sister Haydée rehearse there so often that she knew all her steps, so in 1945 she was asked to fill a dancer’s spot that she had freed up.

“There was an atmosphere of work and camaraderie. The most important artists in the world have passed through there. We had the privilege of working with Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Benny More, and other Cuban artists like Bola de Nieve or Rita Montaner”, he recalls.

He says that the secret of his longevity, in addition to the cookies with water and brown sugar that he ate in the 1930s, has been the swimming that he practiced very often.

He made his solo debut with the album Black magic, from 1959, in which he crosses Cuban music and jazz. In 2009 she won with the disk Thank you the Latin Grammy in the category Best Contemporary Tropical Album and in the midst of the pandemic the release of his album took place butterflies.

Among the recent collaborations in which he participated stand out in 2017 “Échame a mi la culpa”, with Julio Iglesias; in 2020 “Lágrimas Negras”, with Raphael; in 2021 “Horizontes de Niebla”, with Rozalén, and in 2022 “Te Venero”, with C. Tangana on the album The Madrilenian.

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