This article was updated on March 14 to reflect a change in venue.
The Cuban-inspired music group Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club will play in Doha next month as part of a world-wide “adios” tour, organizers have announced.
The ensemble will perform at the Sharq Village & Spa (no longer at the Sheraton Grand) on Mar. 25, according to local organizers Phoenix Entertainment.
The line-up will include renowned singer 85-year-old Omara Portuondo, who has been part of the project since 1996.
They cost QR350 for general admission to a standing area, while VIP seated tickets cost QR700. Both include one drink. Ticket holders must be 21 years old and over.
The touring version of the band was formed after a recording was made in 1997 under the name Buena Vista Social Club, which was inspired by the private members’ club in Havana that shut down in the 1940s.
Featuring Cuban musicians, some of whom had played at the club during its heyday, the recording became a world-wide hit and led to two live performances in Amsterdam and in Carnegie Hall in New York the following year.
These shows were covered in a documentary by German director Wim Wenders that also included interviews with some of the musicians, and its enormous popularity led to it being nominated for an Oscar.
Some of the original members joined a 13-person touring version of the group, which has performed across the world since 1997.
They are now embarking on a final “goodbye” tour, starting in Hong Kong in mid-March and finishing in London in early April, according to their online schedule.
So far, Qatar is the only destination in the Gulf for the tour. Previous plans to host the show at the Qatar National Convention Center (which is mentioned on the band’s site) have since been changed and the venue will now be the Sheraton Grand gardens, Phoenix Entertainment’s Bilal Taha confirmed.
Veteran performer Omara Portuondo is expected to perform as part of the band’s Qatar line-up.
After beginning her career as a dancer at the famous Tropicana cabaret when she was still a teenager, she has been singing since the late 1940s with numerous groups.
She toured the US with the singing group Cuarteto d’Aida in the 1950s and highlights included performing alongside Nat King Cole at the Tropicana.
Portuondo sang on the first Buena Vista album as well as two more – Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo (2000) and Flor de Amor (2004).
Despite her age, she has continued to perform with the touring group and remains the only original singer to do so.
Who’s going? Thoughts?