A documentary-performance airing at 8 p.m. Thursday on WPBT2, offers a glimpse into Albita's musical world -- a primer on her vast talent, knowledge of Cuban music and song selection.
``Toda Una Vida - Cuban Masterworks'' or ``A Lifetime: Cuban Masterworks'' is an intimate and lively one-hour look at what makes the Grammy-award winning Albita Rodriguez tick. It is the work of local award-winning director/ producer Joe Cardona, who often tackles Cuban exile projects. The independent filmmaker has done documentaries on the Operation Pedro Pan children exodus and the Freedom Flights, and on another iconic Cuban singer, the late Celia Cruz.
The Cardona documentary is a perfect fit for fans of Albita, who hosts her own Sunday night Emmy award-winning television show on Spanish-language station Mega TV. Others less familiar with her work will be surprised to see how songs pour effortlessly from her. She seems to sing as easily as she walks and talks, even though during the two-day shoot she took ill and had to be hospitalized suffering from a throat infection.
The set-up is simple and reminiscent of an unplugged performance. Cardona places the singer in a cozy Miami studio and surrounds her with musicians as she stands, barefoot, singing into a filtered microphone. Cardona laid down a circular camera track on the wooden floor, allowing the camera to encircle Albita and capture her from multiple angles as she belts out some soulful lyrics.
The simplicity of the setting gives the documentary much of its power as it intertwines a singing Albita with a revealing interview with the songstress -- accompanied by English subtitles. Her knowledge of Cuban music is impressive.
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