Omaru Portuondo

If you’ve been following the Buena Vista Social Club and its extended family, you must be familiar with this legendary Cuban chanteuse. Her last outing on Nonesuch won her great critical praise, landed her a sold-out theater tour in major markets and established her as one of Cuba’s greatest heritage artists. This collection, on the U.K.-based Tumi Music label, displays some of her greatest recordings from 1973 to the present and features an equally impressive line-up of guest stars. Los Van Van, the wonderful Juan Formell and even Inti-Illimani lend their talents to this fine compilation. Although not the perfect introductory piece to represent Portuondo’s body of work, Dos Gardenias is broad enough in scope and focus to suck in those world music-fearing naysayers. Check out “Gracias a la Vida” (1973) or “Que Manera de Quererte” (1997)—just a few of the standout tracks from Havana’s latest export.