Lattareiden legenda jätti jäähyväiset

Omara Portuondo

Son-musiikin suosituimman fuusion, maailman ympäri levinneen salsan suurin tulkki, ja samalla koko Kuuban kulttuurilähettiläs Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club esitti jättimäisellä maailmankiertueellaan jäähyväiset monella mantereella. Suomessa he esiintyivät Pori Jazz -festivaalilla heinäkuussa 2016. Ympyrä sulkeutui, sillä Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club soitti myös kaikkien aikojen ensimmäisen Suomen keikkansa Pori Jazzissa kesällä 2000.

Yhtye nousi koko maailman tietoisuuteen vuonna 1998 amerikkalaisen Ry Cooderin koottua yhteen Havannassa vaikuttavia muusikoita, jotka olivat hänen mukaansa jääneet vaille heille kuuluvaa arvostusta ja mainetta. Cooderin levytysten ja viimeistään seuraavana vuonna yhtyeen nimeä kantavan Wim Wendersin ohjaaman dokumentin jälkeen kaikille oli selvää, keitä nämä muusikot ovat.

Cooderin kokomassa yhtyeessä oli alunperin mukana muiden muassa laulaja Ibrahim Ferrer, pianisti Rubén González, kitaristi Juan de Marcos González ja toki taiteellinen johtaja, pasunisti ja laulaja Jesus Aguaje Ramos. Enää alkuperäisestä kokoonpanosta mukana kiertueella kulkivat 69-vuotias Eliades Ochoa ja yhtyeen ehkä tunnetuin ja karismaattisin laulaja, 84-vuotias Omara Portuondo. Hän tunnustautuu suureksi Suomen ystäväksi. Portuondo on vierailut maassa jo 1970-luvulta, joskus jopa kaksi kertaa vuodessa ja näin hänelle on syntynyt ystävyyssuhteita suomalaisiin. ”Jo ensimmäisellä käynnilläni ihastuin maahan. Ihmiset olivat tosi herkkiä, suopeita, luonnollisia ja ujoja.

Ujoksi hän tunnustautuu itsekin, vaikka sitä on vaikea uskoa: ”Olin urani alussa hyvin ujo, olen vieläkin. Sitä ei huomaa helposti, mutta olen.”

Hän esittää Kuuballe tyypillistä trova-kansanlaulua. Jatkan sen perintöä, koska se on korkeatasoista. ”Esimerkiksi lauluni, jonka nimi on Veinte Anos, on jo vuodelta 1930.” Portuondo tulkitsee myös levyillään modernia trova-laulua.

Omara Portuondon ura alkoi Tropicana-klubilla Havannassa vuonna 1945, kun isosiskonsa Haydeen tanssiharjoituksia seurattuaan hänet pyydettiin rytmitajuttomuuden vuoksi erotetun tanssijan tilalle.

Viisitoistavuotias ujo tyttö empi, mutta ätinsä sai viimein hänet vakuutettua tarttumaan tilaisuuteen. Minua aina nolotti näyttää jalkojani lavalla. Mutta yritin ja onnistuin.

Koko nuoruutensa perheelle ja ystäville laulaneet sisarukset Haydee ja Omara liittyivät vuonna 1947 Loquibambia Swing -yhtyeeseen. 1950-luvun alussa Portuondon siskokset perustivat yhdessä Elena Burken ja Moralima Secadan kanssa vokaalikvartetin the Quarteto Las d’Aida. Portuondo lauloi Yhdysvaltoja kiertäneessä ja Nat King Colenkin kanssa esiintyneessä ryhmässä 15 vuotta.

Laulettuaan muiden muassa Los Van Vanissa, lähti kotimaataan rakastava Portuondo soolouralle vuonna 1967 Kuuban ja Amerikan diplomaattisuhteiden katkeamisen seurauksena. “Niin monet laulajat olivat lähteneet saarelta ja siellä oli suuri musiikillinen aukko, joka kaipasi täyttämistä”.

”Rytmi ja melodinen linja”, vastaa Portuondo kysymykseen mikä on kuubalaiselle musiikille ominaislaatuisinta. ”Soinnun siihen laittavat muusikot”. Portuondo tuo lavalle kansansa yhteisöllisyyden ja ilon, murtaen ennakkoluuloja.

”Kaikkien hyvien kuubalaisten muusikkojen pitäisi opettaa joka puolella maailmaa musiikkikouluissa. Heille pitäisi antaa sama arvostus kuin Bachille tai Beethovenille”, Portuondo pohtii. Mutta samalla hän antaa tunnustusta myös kotimaansa uudelle sukupolvelle. ”Nuoret tuovat aina uusia ideoita ja heille on annettava mahdollisuus tehdä sitä. Niin kuin on nykyään reggaeton.”

Laulajattarelle on omien sanojensa mukaan kunnia kuulua kuubalaiseen kansaan. ”Jos syntyisin uudelleen ja saisin valita, haluaisin edelleen olla kuubalainen. Minun vihreä krokotiilini!”

”Meitä on 11 miljoonaa koko Kuuban saarella. Saari on krokotiilin muotoinen. Me annamme sille nimen ’Vihreä Krokotiili’. Siellä on niin paljon palmupuita ja ne myös antavat paljon energiaa, kuten koko luonto, jota me emme anna kenenkään tuhota.”

Millä mielin melkein virtuoosimainen vetaraanilaulajatar Omara Portuondo jättää hänelle rakkaalle Suomelle hyvästit? ”Järjestämme isot juhlat, joissa on paljon hyvää musiikkia, surullisten jäähyväisten sijaan! Nyt on tullut mukaan uusia muusikoita. He ovat hyvin tunnettuja, koska soittavat hienoa kuubalaista rytmillistä musiikkia, ja bolerot laulan sitten minä!”

© Teksti ja kuva: Juha Säijälä / Voima

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