Omara Portuondo: Palabras

Omara Portuondo, also seen and heard in the Buena Vista Social Club film, has been an important singer in Cuban music for decades-particularly in the ’50s and ’60s, as a prominent figure in the style known as filin. Her new album, Palabras (Intuition 3186; 44:46), presents a diverse portrait of Cuban music, less about the rootsy sway of son than the merging of styles, sometimes with sensibilities and harmonic colors comparable to Brazilian music. Throughout the varied terrain of the album, Portuondo sings with a mature assurance, delivering each song with the articulate passion that comes with time, devotion and God-given talent.