Omara Portuondo, legendary Cuban singer who came to U.S. audiences' attention in 1996 as an original member of the Buena Vista Social Club, just performed two concerts in California on her first U.S. tour since 2004:
Link: Omara visa story on Bandweblogs.com
I'm not breaking news on this one, but I'm still in shock I think. Does this mean that the doors have finally, definitively, been reopened to Cuban artists? For the past 5-6 years they have been systematically denied visas and FBI clearances.
I had also heard that Pablo Milanés and chamber orchestra of Zenaida Romeu (who performed at Duke before the halt on visas) both received visas around the same time. Is Omara the first to touch down? I'm not sure, but it would be a nice way to reopen the gates.