Graham Reid | | <1 min read
The great Cuban singer - who came to world attention via the Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago - is still going even though she is in her late 70, which may be some kind of testament to the life-affirming powers of Cuban rum or that country's health-care system.
As with the final album by her late BVSC colleague Ibrahim Ferrer (the gorgeous and heartbreaking Mi Sueno), Portoundo has gone back through her past for songs she always wanted to record and here she pulls out beautiful ballads, some playful pieces and many which are given a jazzy shuffle by the international musicians on hand. There are also gentle orchestrations on material such as the romantically reflective Lo que me queda por vivir.
As moving and uplifting as much of this music is, so too are the liner photos which show the young and always beautiful Portuondo at various stages of her career which took her from dancer to cabaret to international touring in the late 50s/early 60s and on to become one of the most distinguished and intimate vocalists of her era.
And in every photo she looks happy or is laughing. Her comment on Lo que me queda por vivir reiterates her philosophy: "This song represents to me what life has to give me, and as the song says it will be a smile".
How could you not invite this remarkable woman into your home?