Strictly Press release: Durham Brass Festival presents… Cuban diva legend to dazzle in Durham at Brass Festival finale Omara Portuondo is recognised as one of the world’s finest divas, reaching the heights of global success whilst starring in Wim Wenders’ classic documentary entitled the ‘Buena Vista Social Club™’. The film documented the World Circuit Record’s recording sessions between some of the greatest names from the history of Cuban music. Ms Omara Portuondo will be bringing her gracious vocal style to this year’s Durham Brass Festival, when she headlines the festival finale at The Gala Theatre in Durham on Thursday 14 July. The show is part of her European tour with performances of songs taken from her critically acclaimed album ‘Flor de Amor’ (Flower Of Love) and is the third and final performance in the Durham Brass Festival’s challenging series “Celebrations and Surprises”. In its fifth and most challenging year, the Durham Brass Festival – a Durham Brass Initiative project - can celebrate a great achievement of bringing together a superb selection of musical talent; a festival programme that has brought charm, elegance and splendour to an already sizzling brass band music scene. ‘Flor de Amor’ (Flower Of Love) is Omara Portuondo’s second solo album for World Circuit and marks a change in creative direction, which reveals a more richly textured and subtle side to Omara’s vocal sound. The album is a collection of musical love letters that are backed by a combination of Cuban and Brazilian influences. Music critics have described ‘Flor de Amor’ as: “Wonderful… magnificent… a delight… a triumph… a revelation.” (For a full biography on Omara Portuondo please visit the official website of World Circuit Records - www.worldcircuit.co.uk). A 13-piece orchestra packed full of great musicians will join the flamboyant and undisputed first lady of Cuban culture during a show that promises to light up the Durham Brass Festival in spectacular fashion. A night world music lovers will never forget. Omara fondly remembers the origins of her music. She says: “Since I was a little girl, my family and I used to sing and listen to a lot of music at home. “The beauty of the music by itself is an inspiration for me. My family and friends give me the energy and the desire to make music, although the higher inspiration comes from life with its bliss and sorrow.” The 74-year old Havana-born singer and former dancer reflects on her wonderful musical journey that has brought joy to masses of music fans across the globe; and speaks of her expectations about the Durham Brass Festival ‘Celebrations and Surprises’ show. Omara adds: “Throughout my life I’ve had the luck of bringing our Cuban music to a world stage. Thanks to the success of the Buena Vista Social Club ™ our music has achieved a lot and that makes me feel so happy; culture is something very important. “In England the audience has always welcomed us very warmly. I am delighted to be performing there again and I can’t wait to enjoy an unforgettable night when emotions will be running high as we share them all together in Durham.” Celebrations and Surprises is a part of the 2005 Alive Festival of Music – a year long celebration of music across the North East. The programme introduces visiting musicians from outside the UK to work in Durham City. Celebrations and Surprises highlights the work of musicians and composers from different cultures aiming to bring new audiences, new experiences and new creative collaborations to the Durham Brass Festival. [Celebrations and Surprises is supported by Durham City Council]. Alison Lister, Festivals Co-ordinator for Durham City Arts says: “We are delighted and honoured to have such a prestigious talent like Omara Portuondo playing at this year’s Durham Brass Festival. This show represents precisely what the Festival has aimed to achieve, which is bringing some of the best names in music to a city fast becoming recognised as one of Europe’s cultural hotbeds.” On Thursday 14 July Buena Vista Productions presents: Omara Portuondo at The Gala Theatre, Millennium Place (Durham City) commencing at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £17 / concessions - £15 and can be purchased by contacting The Gala Theatre Box Office on (0191) 332 4041. For further information about Durham Brass Festival 2005 please visit www.brassfestival.co.uk or call (0191) 301 8245. ENDS Media Contact: Garry Smith Strictly Press 0191 2892809. Notes to Editor: 1). Durham City Arts is the lead member of Durham Brass Initiative - the consortium comprises of: Durham City Arts, Jazzaction, County Durham Cultural Services, Northern Regional Brass Band Trust, Durham University Music School, Derwentside District Council, District of Easington Council, Chester-le-Street District Council and Sedgefield Borough Council. The arts consortium works to support and promote the playing and appreciation of brass music in the North East of England and beyond. 2). Durham City Arts is the arts development agency for the City of Durham. They initiate arts and cultural projects that reflect local priorities and aim to promote an understanding of, and involvement in, the arts through partnerships, planned activities and grant based schemes. 3). For a full biography on Omara Portuondo please visit the official website of World Circuit Records - www.worldcircuit.co.uk. Omara´s album “Flor de Amor” was nominated at the Grammy™ awards on the "Best Traditional Tropical Album" category and she was the winner of the Billboard Latin Award in its 16th edition, in the category of the “Tropical Album of the Year (Female)”. Another great website to visit for a full biography on Omara Portuondo is www.montuno.com. 4). For further information about Wim Wenders’ ‘Buena Vista Social Club™’ documentary film please visit: www.wim-wenders.com/movies/movies_spec/buenavistasocialclub/buenavistasocialclub.htm. 5). In the build up to Omara Portuondo's concert The Gala Theatre's cinema will be showing ‘Buena Vista Social Club™’ on the following dates: Sunday 3 July (14:00) and Tuesday 5 July (18:00). 6). The second concert in the Celebrations and Surprises series will be taking place on Wednesday 6 July, when the Abram Wilson Sextet play The Concert Room at Durham University Music Department, Palace Green (Durham City) - the show commences at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £7.00 / concessions - £5 / students - £3 and to purchase your tickets please contact (0191)332 4041. Find out more about Abram Wilson at www.abramwilson.com (part of the official Dune Music website).