Man I feel lucky sometimes. Whenever I'm feeling blah say, I can think back on some of the great things I've seen/heard in my life and that tempers the feeling.
Particular to why I feel lucky at this moment has to do with music. Be it a smoky jazz number, an aria or even a good rock or rap number, I got the music in me.
Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing Omara Portuondo in concert. She was 'presented' by the Buena Vista Social Club. Shhh - confession: I've not actually seen the film BVSC but I know Omara's voice from a friend at work introducing me to her. I went with Arlene and Ssea who I don't see often but who are a lot of fun to be with. I pitched the idea to them and they were all for going whereas I couldn't muster much interest from other friends. Good for them! Good for me!
It was Omara's Flor de Amor tour supporting her latest album. I was familiar with most of the material which helps especially since she is Cuban and doesn't generally sing in English. It's beside the point that it's not in English really since the sound is so lovely and aren't all songs when they're boiled down about love, sex or death anyway?
She performed 8 of the numbers off the album and 7 or 8 others and kept Roy Thomson Hall alive for 2 hours. And actually she did sing one partly in English (The Man I Love).
The band of about 12 or 13 (hard to tell as they came on and left depending on the song) was smokin' hot and lively. Great musicians and a very spirited Omara. She was sweet like your friend's mother might be given a stage to dance and sing on. She sidled, sashayed and stepped all across the stage playing to the whole crowd. She incited us to clap, get up offa our seats and to sing along. There's nothing quite so freeing as singing at the top of your lungs when you're not even sure what you're singing. Again, I'm a white boy who speaks one language, the language of music. Couldn't resist. I meant English.
So Omara has me clapping and singing along happily and what I'm singing to mimic her and everyone else sounds like 'Biore'. Hmm, am I singing about pore strips here? Or maybe a love gone right? I'll never know. Don't care. I think the word sublime is overused but it fits here. I expected a good show and it was a great show. Sort of like a James Last Experience but more Latin. Ladies and gentleman, The James Latin Experience with Omara Portuondo! Everybody swing!
At ease with the crowd and clearly adored, Omara had no trouble letting her band shine which wasn't tough considering they were so tight. Everybody on the stage let loose. Okay so now I've made them tight and loose, I'll have to think on that.
When was the last time a violin solo got a standing ovation? Okay, maybe Lucia Micarelli on Josh Groban's tour with her unexpected rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody but that was a different thing. Hate to say it Josh but she outshone you.
What is it about Latin music that makes me throw my hands up in the air? I dunno. Ask Mercedes Sosa. She had the same effect on the crowd when I saw her a few years back. And she barely got up off of her stool. The crowd was frenzied and cheering for her too and she was like a raw force of nature.
Omara's orchestra were all great and a mix of young and more mature artistes. Rather than go on and on, let it stand at I can't say enough good but you really have to hear it/see the whole thing live. I can say that because I have.
I've sung proudly and loudly about the pore strips and now I'm off to bed.