Gracias

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Who says you can't teach an old diva new tricks? At 78, Omara Portuondo, the Cuban vocalist who had nearly settled into retirement before the advent of the Buena Vista Social Club in the late '90s gave her international recognition, makes a bold move with Gracias. Although Portuondo's Cuban roots are evident throughout -- as if she could ever lose them -- the singer looks toward Brazilian forms, into jazz and beyond for this collection, produced by Brazilians Alé Siqueira and Swami Jr. And if Portuondo sounds closer to 48 than her actual age, it's easy to imagine that was part of the plan: there is a barely contained youthful spryness to her delivery of this material, an ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Who says you can't teach an old diva new tricks? At 78, Omara Portuondo, the Cuban vocalist who had nearly settled into retirement before the advent of the Buena Vista Social Club in the late '90s gave her international recognition, makes a bold move with Gracias. Although Portuondo's Cuban roots are evident throughout -- as if she could ever lose them -- the singer looks toward Brazilian forms, into jazz and beyond for this collection, produced by Brazilians Alé Siqueira and Swami Jr. And if Portuondo sounds closer to 48 than her actual age, it's easy to imagine that was part of the plan: there is a barely contained youthful spryness to her delivery of this material, an implicit statement that Portuondo is thrilled to be stepping out of the proverbial box in which she's lived -- metaphorically speaking -- for the better part of a half-century. To drive the point home, the producers have recruited an all-star support team boasting wide credentials: Israeli-born jazz double-bassist Avishai Cohen and Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona, Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu, and vocalists Chico Buarque from Brazil and Jorge Drexler Uruguay are among the contributors, as are Cubans Pablo Milanés vocals, Chucho Valdés piano, Roberto Fonseca keyboards, percussionist Andres Coayo and producer Swami Jr., who provides the rich acoustic seven-string guitar on several tracks. A string section adds sweetening here and there, and Rossio Jiménez shares vocals with her grandmother on one track, the quasi a cappella "Cachita" -- the album's only true clunker. From the sparingly orchestrated lead track, Henri Salvador's ballad "Yo Vi," and its successor, "Adiós Felicidad," which allows Cohen a generous solo spot, it becomes apparent that Portuondo is looking to spread her wings here. On "Rabo de Nube," amidst Cohen's bass bowing, Fonseca's broad sweeps of piano and Fender Rhodes, the seven-string, and Gurtu's tablas, Portuondo emotes with gusto but not in an over the top manner. Rather she eases into her vocal, before letting herself drift along with the cresting wave that the song becomes. On the sprightly "Ámame Como Soy," Portuondo rides atop the rhythm, presenting the Spanish lyrics -- in a duet with Milanés -- in a singsongy voice that manages to avoid the melodramatic flourishes another, less experienced singer might have injected. A variety of moods and sonic approaches lend the album its diverse flavors -- stark drumming here, a rush of strings there -- and while Portuondo does at times lapse into the saccharine, those lapses are forgivable in a set that recharges the career of a singer who could easily have coasted for the rest of her life.
Los Angeles Times
"Gracias" includes tracks in which Portuondo doubles up with Chico Buarque, the Brazilian Renaissance man of performing arts; the Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés, co-founder of the so-called nueva trova style of politicized progressive-folk music; and Chucho Valdés, the Cuban bandleader, pianist and composer. Portuondo has known some of these artists, like Valdés and Buarque, for decades. Other relationships were formed more recently, such as her teaming up with Jorge Drexler, the Uruguayan singer-songwriter who won an Academy Award for composing the song "Al Otro Lado del Río" (The Other Side of the River) for the 2004 Che Guevara biopic, "The Motorcycle Diaries."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/9/2008
  • Label: World Village Usa
  • UPC: 794881898428
  • Catalog Number: 479021
  • Sales rank: 110,981

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Yo VI (3:14)
  2. 2 Adiós Felicidad (3:15)
  3. 3 O Que Será (A Flor Da Terra) (3:46)
  4. 4 Vuela Pena (4:35)
  5. 5 Cuento Para un Niño (4:21)
  6. 6 Amame Como Soy (3:26)
  7. 7 Tú Mi Desengaño (3:54)
  8. 8 Cachita (1:20)
  9. 9 Rabo de Nube (3:21)
  10. 10 Gracias - Jorge Drexler (3:25)
  11. 11 Nuestro Gran Amor - Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez (4:11)
  12. 12 Lo Que Me Queda por Vivir (3:29)
  13. 13 Drume Negrita (3:34)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Omara Portuondo Primary Artist, Vocals
Chico Buarque Vocals, Background Vocals
Trilok Gurtu Tabla, Caixa, Djembe
Chucho Valdés Piano
Pablo Milanés Vocals, Background Vocals
Jorge L. Chicoy Electric Guitar, Tres
Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez Double Bass
Michel Bessler Violin
Bernardo Bessler Violin
Avishai Cohen Background Vocals, Double Bass
Jorge Drexler Vocals, Background Vocals
Andres Coayo Bongos, Conga, Maracas, Claves, Bata, Guiro, Kettle Drums
Richard Bona Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocals, Double Bass
Ale Siqueira Background Vocals
José Alves Da Silva Violin
Ricardo Amado Da Silva Violin
Roberto Fonseca Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals, fender rhodes
Marie Christine S. Bessler Viola
Rossio Jiménez Vocals
Passaroto Viola
Márcio Eymard Marald Cello
Lopes Prazeres Violin
Julio Guerra Bata
Jorge Kundert Ranevsky Cello
Jesuína Noronha Viola
Felipe Fortuna Violin
Daniel Paiva Violin
Antonella Lima Pareschi Violin
Technical Credits
Chico Buarque Composer
Trilok Gurtu Arranger, Sound Effects
Chucho Valdés Arranger
Daniel Viglietti Composer
Amaury Perez Composer
Avishai Cohen Arranger
Henri Salvador Composer
Jorge Drexler Composer
Andres Coayo Arranger
Richard Bona Arranger, Audio Production
Ale Siqueira Arranger, Audio Production
Roberto Fonseca Arranger
Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez Composer
Ernesto Grenet Composer
Pedro Pablo Milanés Arias Composer
Modo Michel Composer
Martín Bernardo Rojas Torriente Composer
Ela O'Farrill Composer
Carlos Freitas Remastering
Bernardo Sancristóbal Santibanez Composer
Ariel Jiménez Composer
Alberto Vera Morua Composer
Swami Jr. Arranger, Audio Production
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