Omara Portuondo

Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, the only female member of the Buena Vista Social Club, won a Latin Grammy two years ago. She was 78 years old at the time. Now she's celebrating her 80th birthday with a whirlwind concert tour that makes a stop in Houston today as part of the Society for Performing Arts International Series. Called the musical sweetheart of the island country for more than 50 years, Portuondo has had an illustrious career despite limitations imposed on artists by the Castro regime. Early on she was a singer and dancer at Cuba's world-renowned Tropicana Club (where she once performed with Nat King Cole). She was a member of Los Loquibambla before joining BVSC. The group performed a variety of music styles, including bossa nova with a large dose of American jazz. With BVSC, she provided an alternative to the singing styles of cohorts Ibrahim Ferrer and Compay Segundo. Expect fireworks at today's concert. At 80, Portuondo's voice has diminished a bit, yes, but her performances still pack quite an emotional punch. 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit $24 to $54.
Fri., Oct. 8, 8 p.m., 2010


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