October 1930, Havana, Cuba. The only female artist of the Buena Vista Social Club collective, Portuondo has been dubbed the Edith Piaf of Cuba and the fiancée of feeling for her passionate and moving performances in the cabarets and nightspots of Havana. However, her first album widely available outside of Cuba was not released until her seventieth year.
Portuondo was born in Havana to a woman from a wealthy Spanish family, who ran off with a black baseball player at a time when mixed race marriages were still frowned upon. Although apparently initially reluctant to go on stage because she did not want to show her legs (her mother convinced her otherwise), Portuondo began her entertainment career as a dancer at Cubas Tropicana cabaret. She moved onto singing and still performs at the iconic venue today. In the early 50s, Portuondo formed the Cuarteto Las DAida, notably providing backing vocals for...
Read the Full Biography of Omara Portuondo
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