Friday, October 8, 2010

Omara Portuondo Performs at the Byham


Media Contacts:

Veronica Corpuz
(412) 471-6082

Diana Roth
(412) 471-8717

High-res images:

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents

Omara Portuondo

Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.

Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street

“The queen of Caribbean Vocalists.” – Los Angeles Times

Pittsburgh, PA: Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear one of Cuba's greatest musical ambassadors as The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents Omara Portuondo on Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 7:00 p.m., at the Byham Theater. From starring in the Buena Vista Social Club, to dancing in the famed Tropicana Cabaret, to lending her lush vocal styling to the Quarteto Las d’Aida, Omara Portuondo has proven herself as a legendary Havana singer as well as an extraordinary performer. This performance is part of the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series.

Born in Havana in 1930, Omara Portuondo began her career as a dancer in the acclaimed Tropicana Cabaret, alongside her sister Haydee. In 1952, Omara and Haydee, while involved with the Cabaret, began to experiment with their vocal talents and passion. Together, with Elena Burke and Moraima Secada, they set up a vocal quartet, directed by pianist Aida Diestro. This group, Quarteto Las d’Aida, became one of the greatest quartets in the history of Cuban music. Omara stayed with the Quarteto Las d’Aida for 15 years. Ms. Portuondo also performed as a duo with Rolando Espinosa during her dance career and this experience presented her with the opportunity to become a teacher of dance in the 1960’s at the Escuela de Instructores de Arte.

Omara later joined one of Cuba’s most important orchestras, La Orchesta Aragón, with which she traveled all over the world and also recorded several albums, such as the one she did with Adalberto Álvarez in 1984, Palabras, and Desafíos, with Chucho Valdés.

What really catapulted Omara Portuondo to her international fame was her appearance on the album and film Buena Vista Social Club (World Circuit), on which she sang “Veinte Años” with the late Compay Segundo, and “Silencio” with Ibrahim Ferrer. In the following years she traveled the world and recorded various songs with a star-studded group which included great names of Cuban music such as Rubén González, Orlando “Cachaíto” López and Manuel “Guajiro” Mirabal.

In addition, to her musical work, the International Red Cross in Montreaux appointed her International Ambassador (2004), making her the first Cuban artist to achieve such a distinction; and her recording, Flor de amor was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Traditional Tropical Record category. In the 16th edition of the Billboard Latin Music Awards, in 2005, Flor de amor obtained the Tropical Record of the Year award in the female category. Ms. Portuondo’s recording Gracias is an album that highlights her 60 year career and includes a selection of songs that have defined her career.

Tickets ($25.75 - $42.75) for the Omara Portuondo performance on November 7, 2010, at 7:00 p.m., at the Byham Theater, may be purchased at the Box Office at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue, online at, or by calling (412) 456-6666. To purchase 10 or more tickets at special discounted rates, please call (412) 471-6930.

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