She was born in Havana in 1930. From a very early age, she used to listen to her parents singing, as a duet, the traditional songs which became her first musical reference. Also from an early age, she received singing, musical, dancing and performance classes.
During the 1940´s she was introduced to the public by the Mil Diez radio station as "The bride of feeling". Such presentation resulted in a record-breaking success.
It is a well-known fact that Omara Portuondo paved an important way to Cuban music when she founded vocal groups like the Loquibambia group, organized by the legendary pianist Frank Emilio (a group with which she consolidated her connection with both the jazz and the feeling), or when she joined the Orlando de la Rosa Quartet singing the popular songs of this composer.
Besides, she also engaged in professional dancing as member of the sensuous Mulatas de Fuego (The Fire Mulatas) at the Tropicana Cabaret, and as part of the dancing group led by choreographer Alberto Alonso. She also joined the Anacaona Orchestra.
Some years later, in 1952, she joined the outstanding Las D´Aida Quartet, a female group with whom she sang different genres together with Elena Burke and Moraima Secada, two memorable singers of Cuban songs, thus creating a refined vocal group. In 1967, she left the group and began a sound career as soloist. As such, she made her debut in Joaquin Rivera´s show, "Diluvio Musical" (Musical Deluge), in the renowned "Parisien" Cabaret, at the National Hotel.
That same year, she represented Cuba at the Sopot Festival held in Poland during the celebration of the "Record"s Day" with a phonogram entitled "Esta es Omara" ("This is Omara"). When she returned back to her country, she became one of the leading voices of the Cuban song.
It is worthwhile mentioning the fact that Omara Portuondo was one of the first singers who included the new songs of the emerging Movimiento de la Nueva Trova (The Nueva Trova Movement) in her repertoire during the 1970´s. Her interpretation of Silvio Rodríguez´s song "La era está pariendo un corazón" was so memorable that it remained as a musical hit in the Cuban radio and television stations for many years.
Since her debut, Omara Portuondo has been a top singer in Cuba and has represented her island in many countries all over the world throughout her intense musical career. She is one of the most respected and dearest artist in history. Recently, as member of the "Buena Vista Social Club", she traveled throughout the world offering her genuinely Cuban art.
In 2009 she won the Latin Grammy award with her CD Gracias, in the category of Best Contemporary Tropical Album.
The Great Omara is a singer who broke the mold, a genuine rumbera, an authentic interpreter of feeling, the ballad singer par excellence and the impetuous sonera who has given a conclusive proof of her capacity to sing all genres of the Cuban music with great excellence.
Her most outstanding virtues include an ever fresh and flexible voice, an impeccable tuning, a unique style in her interpretation, her musicality and her extensive repertoire which, together with her charisma and her modesty, have turned her into one of the greatest Cuban singers of all times.