Q - p.1223 stars out of 5
- "[W]onderfully arranged and played....This is a far headier brew than her recent sets."
Uncut - p.1025 stars out of 5
- "[S]he's created a great soundtrack for the summer, and as perfect a Latin album as you could hope to find."
Dirty Linen - p.83
"The rich rhythms and romantic style easily remind one of an earlier era of Cuban music....Portuondo delivers a rich, multi-layered sound - guitars, percussion, horns, and background vocals - that engage the senses."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1073 stars out of 5
- "[The album] feels like an invitation to bring your drink and make yourself comfortable in the boudoir. It also marks a significant musical progression..."
Personnel: Omara Portuondo (vocals); Omara Portuondo; Carlinhos Brown (vocals, percussion); Manuel Galb n (guitar, acoustic guitar, piano); Jorge L. Chicoy (guitar, electric guitar); Carlos Emilio (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Swami Jr. (7-string guitar); Julian Leaper, Perry Mason, L zaro Dagoberto Gonz lez, Edward Marzan Betancourt, Mario Fernandez, Christopher Tombling, Dagoberto Gonz les Piedra, Yordanys Ravelo Machado, Abilio Betancourt Bejerano, Julian Corrales, Zoe Jake, Caridad Vald‚s Men‚ndez, Ariel Sarduy, Silvio Duquesne, Kathy Share, Augusto Diago, C. Thompson, Gustav Clarkson, Patrick Kiernan, Boguslav Kostecki, Rita Manning, Gavyn Wright, Bruce White (violin); Peter Lale (viola); David Daniels , Martin Loveday (cello); Eduardo Rubio, Policarop "Polo" Tamayo (flute); Toninho Ferragutti (accordion); Nailor Proveta, Nicholas Bucknail, Philip Todd, Javier Zalba (clarinet); Andy Findon (bass clarinet); Miguel DeLa Hoz (trumpet); Simon Burwell (keyboards); Emilio Vega (vibraphone); Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez (bass guitar); Ramses Manuel Rodr¡guez (drums); Miguel "Ang " Diaz (congas, bongos); Emilio DelMonte, Jr. (congas, timbales); Ang Diaz, Adel Gonz lez (congas); Carlos Gonz lez (bongos, claves); Carlos Julio Guerra (bata); Enrique Lazaga (guiro); Alfredito Valdez, Jr., Alberto Vald‚s (maracas); Marcos Suzano (pandeiro, shaker, tabla); L‚o Bit Bit, Boghan Costa (surdo); Amadito Vald‚s (timbales); Ale Siqueira (Theremin); Angela Loppo (background vocals); Papi Oviedo (tres); Roberto Fonseca (piano, Clavinet, organ, keyboards); Ramses M. Gonz lez (drums).
Audio Mixers: Jerry Boys; Simon Burwell.
Recording information: EGREM Studios, Havana, Cuba (2003); Livingston Studios, London, England (2003); Recorder Studios, Paris, France (2003); Studio Ilha Dos Sapos, Salvador (2003).
Photographer: Christian Jaspars.
Translator: Rodrigo Amorim.
Unknown Contributor Role: Lazaro Hernandez.
Arranger: Demetrio Muniz.
Though Omara Portuondo has been singing and performing in her native Cuba since the late 1940s, her career experienced a radical resurgence after her participation on the 1997 album BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB. Portuondo possesses a deep, sultry voice that remains in superb condition, and she uses it to croon over complex island rhythms with seemingly effortless ease, as on the easy shuffle of "El Madrugador" and the dance-floor filler "Mueve La Cintura Mulato."
FLOR DE AMOR, the singer's second release on the World Circuit imprint, shows a heavy Brazilian influence. Bossa nova and samba styles are identifiable here, though Portuondo keeps the whole firmly rooted in Cuban jazz and folk traditions. Polyrhythms simmer throughout, but the vibe is elegant, romantic, and decidedly low-key, evoking the tropical nights and lazy street cafes of the singer's native Havana. This ballad-heavy collection includes songs of love, heartache, and romantic longing, which are no less bewitching for being sung by a woman in her twilight years; in fact, the experience in her voice lights each song beautifully from within.