Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz

AGE

77 (Deceased age)

HEIGHT

N/A

BIRTH DATE

October 21, 1925-July 16, 2003

PLACE OF BIRTH

Havana, Cuba

BIOGRAPHY

Cruz was a Cuban born salsa singer, and was one of the most successful salsa performers of the 20th century, with twenty-three gold albums to her name. She was renowned internationally as the “Queen of Salsa” as well as “La Guarachera de Cuba”. More

What you didn’t know

  • In 1950, she was the lead singer for Sonora Matancera, a Cuban Salsa orchestra.
  • In 1994, Bill Clinton awarded her the National Medal of Arts.
  • What You Didn’t Know about Celia Cruz

    celia 3

    Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, or for short Celia Cruz, was one of the most accomplished singers of the 20th century. Hailing from humble beginnings in the poor neighborhood of Santos Suarez in Havana, Cuba, her mother knew immediately that she was destined to be a singer.

    It was on the radio in diverse Santos Suarez where Cruz would grow up listening to all types of music. Rumba, mambo, guaracha, bolero, cha-cha, salsa and son cubano was apart of her musical education. As a youth Cruz and her sister were taken to cabarets to sing by their aunt. At radio stations, Cruz sang tango “Nostalgias” (unrequited love songs) to win cakes during the “Hora del Te” broadcast, often coming first place.

    Her piercing and powerful voice carried a great warmth. At a music conservatory, her own professor took notice of it and told her to drop out and let her talent shine as she was already gaining momentum on the radio for her recorded and live performances in the late 1940s.

    Her vocal style was distinctive because it incorporated pregon, the wails of street vendors (usually fishmongers and peanut vendors). As an Afro-Cubana, her early music was influenced by santeria (Cuban blend of Christian and traditional African religious music) songs which used the religious African dialect of Lucumi.

    After leaving school she was the singer for a dance group, Las Mulatas del Fuego. In 1950 she was the lead singer of Sonora Matancera, one of the most prominent Cuban orchestras. But that didn’t come easy, because when she joined Sonora, she was replacing a previous singer and she had to gain the public’s support. By her bandmates sticking up for her, Cruz eventually became well love not only in Cuba, but throughout all of Latin America. Slowly, she was becoming the leading female voice of modern salsa at a time when the music was dominated by men.

    Soon, Cruz’s life will change forever, for better and for worst in the early 1960s. While travelling with Matancera in Mexico, Fidel Castro came to power turning Cuba into a communist country. With all but one bandmember refusing to go back under such a regime, Castro issued them a lifetime ban. Over a year later she would take up residency in New Jersey and marry Matancera trumpet player Pedro Knight.

    In the mid 1960s, she followed the New York music scene which had musicians from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Outside of salsa, she also sang guaracha and all the other types of Latin music she grew up listening to. This was a time of experimentation when many artists would blend and mix many different musical styles and perform with musicians from different styles of music.

    By the 1970s, Cruz made music with Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, and the Fania AllStars. She had a catch phrase, Azucar, which she used to energize her audience and band. Also, she became a fashion icon because of her bold, daring, and wild costumes and wigs.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, she performed and was featured on songs with Wyclef Jean, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, and David Byrne. By the early 2000s, The Celia Cruz Foundation was created in order to help impoverished students that wanted to study music.

    Celia Cruz made music until her death from brain cancer in 2003. Within the 55 years that she made music, she released 75 albums, 23 of which went gold. Throughout her career, Cruz was honored as the Queen of Salsa, La Guarachera de Cuba, and the Queen of Latin Music.

    Fun Facts

    • She was awarded an American National Medal of the Arts
    • For the 2015-2016 TV lineup, Telemundo will have a musical drama about The Queen of Salsa
    • While with La Sonora Matancera, Cruz and the group appeared in five motion pictures
    • She sang the spot for WQBA in Miami
    • There is an exhibit in Washinton D.C. dedicated to her

     

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    Meet Tito Puente Jr.: Heavy Metal Lover. Timbales Master. Grateful Son.

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    By, Daisy Cabrera

    ¡Ran kan kan kan, kan kan! ¡Pero suenan, suenan los timbales!

    Whether getting down in a nightclub, enjoying a cookout with the familia, or jamming to your playlist – the secret to getting the party started is a lively Tito Puente mambo.

    We can’t celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month without celebrating the legendary virtuoso and Latin music genius – Tito Puente. The prolific musician, bandleader, composer and arranger recorded over 100 albums, winning many awards during an illustrious 50-year career. He mastered mambo, son, salsa, bossa nova, merengue and cha-cha-chá styles. He played the timbales, piano, percussion, drum set, saxophone and vibraphone. He performed 200-300 dates yearly, and was known as the ‘King of Latin Music.’ Tito was to timbales what Miles was to the trumpet, Hendrix to the electric guitar, Coltrane to the sax. ICONIC.

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    His award-winning musician son, Tito Puente Jr., carries the maestro’s name, infectious smile, larger than life spirit, bravura showmanship and passion for sharing Latin jazz with the world. He keeps his father’s legacy alive, while leaving his own mark on the world of music.

    “Growing up, I watched this incredible man playing the timbales for thousands of fans, hearing the boisterous sounds of mambo coming from the stage,” Tito Jr. shared. “It was an incredible experience to witness his magic as a kid.”

    But, heavy metal was Tito Jr.’s first true love. And, his iPod is proof of this.  “In the 80s, I was listening to Bon Jovi, Metallica and the likes. That was my thing – playing the drums and rocking out.” In his late teens, he hit the road with his father. Working as a drum tech, he learned how to travel with a band, conduct an orchestra, and present an extraordinary performance. He was militant in perfecting his craft, he explains. “My dad was a powerful entity, performing the high standard of bandleaders from the 1950s. If you couldn’t play in the Tito Puente Orchestra, then you weren’t a good musician.

    While on the road, Tito Jr. also gained a deep respect for the Latin rhythmic pattern – clave. This peaked his interest in mambo, much to his dad’s support. “He encouraged me to formally study music, get an education and pay my dues like he did.” The eager, young musician attended Five Towns College, learning the technicalities of reading and writing music. “Pops wanted to make sure his music was presented in the correct way, and I try to do the same with my music today,” he recalls. “I also learned how to be a good father from him. When my children are older, I’d love to bring them on the road just like my dad did with me.

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    On a personal level, Tito Jr. shares fond memories of the man behind the music. “My dad loved making a mess, especially when he was cooking. From pasta sauce to arroz con habichuela – a lot of food all over the place, even on him!” He stops to chuckle, then continues the endearing story. “If you look at some of the old black and white photos of him, you might see a stain on his shirt or tie. He had to tuck a napkin – or several napkins – in his collar, and my mom was always cleaning up after him.

    Not only was his father music royalty, but so was his godmother – Celia Cruz. “My dad and Celia were very close, and she became my madrina,” he continues. “She used to call me ‘Titico’ and I remember her fondly.” One of his most unforgettable concerts was playing alongside his dad, Celia and La India at Toronto’s Skydome.

    His determination to continue his dad’s momentum is a beautiful thing. “Today’s youth didn’t experience Tito Puente, and wouldn’t know his energy. I teach them about him, and the essence of Latin music so they know how it started and where that big band mambo sound comes from,” he said, recalling his father’s humble beginnings in the barrio to becoming a worldwide superstar. When introducing youth to his dad’s music, he starts off with the 1957 recorded ‘Dance Mania’ Vol. 1 and 2, with the much-celebrated ‘Ran Kan Kan’ song. “It’s an essential album that was recorded live, in one take, and is really something special.

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    My father had stardom, power and spirit – the staple of Latin music and American music for that matter.” Having access to Tito Puente’s enviable vault of over 10,000 arrangements is not lost on his son. When selecting music from the collection, his mom joins in on the process. “She gives me a timeline of when a particular tune came out, and tells me the back story of the song,” he goes on, “For example, she’ll tell me Pops was in a freezing basement in the barrio when he wrote that song in the winter of 1968.

    Tito Jr. continues to record and perform his father’s repertoire, adding his own flavor to the music. With his latest album, Got Mambo? (www.cdbaby.com), the classics meet new music. “For this special album, I went through hundreds of my dad’s arrangements to handpick songs, included my own music and featured several great artists,” he said.

     

    La India Is still the Princess of Salsa

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    Originally published in the May 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

    By Deyanira Martínez

    When she was still a teenager, Linda Viera-Caballero took her first steps in the music industry with the Latino freestyle group TKA. That shy Puerto Rican girl eventually turned into La India, one of the most popular and successful women in the history of salsa music.

    She arrived in The Bronx, New York, when she was just a few months old, and family problems forced her to stand on her own two feet from early on. However, loneliness and inexperience did not prevent her strong, impressive voice from being discovered by one of salsa’s greatest, pianist Eddie Palmieri. Their pairing kicked off the success story of “The Princess of Salsa,” a nickname Celia Cruz, her music godmother, gave her.

    Thirty years have passed since then, and La India just returned from recording with one of the greatest singers of all time, Juan Gabriel.

    La India is back and full of energy to present an album written especially for her by the Mexican crooner. She is also planning a large-scale concert in her native Puerto Rico, and her theme song for Colombian hit telenovela “Sin tetassi hay paraiso” is currently being played on the radio throughout Latin America.

    A beautiful Caribbean woman of indigenous features, strong, decisive and radiating tropical flavor, La India spoke passionately about her life, her career and her plans.

     

    30 YEARS IN MUSIC

    “I find it amazing that I’m still here. I was the first one to cross over from Latin freestyle dance music to tropical music.”

     

    CUBA’S GUARACHERA: CELIA CRUZ

    “She baptized me along with her husband, and made me her godchild. Celia was like a mother to me. I was estranged from my own family. I was kicked out of my home when I was very young, and suffered a lot.

    Celia was an important figure in my life. She never had children, so she saw me as her daughter. We had a very spiritual connection. She was a beautiful human being, and she gave me the advice and support I didn’t have from my mother at that time.”

     

    MUSIC IN YOUR LIFE

    “Music is sacred to me. It’s a way to vent, to feel the emotions many people have inside but are afraid to feel. I have a wonderful following who love me. It’s not just about making it, but about staying there, and I am here to stay. I love what I do. After Celia, I have been the only woman who has sold albums, who has had her own orchestra.”

     

    WORKING WITH JUAN GABRIEL

    “I am very proud of this album. Working with him was incredible. We have very similar chemistry; we’re both intense. His songs have been popular for decades, and he was the one who chose the songs for me for this album.

    Juan Gabriel is such an incredibly intelligent, brilliant person… it was so cool of him to give me this opportunity.”

     

    THE FUTURE OF SALSA

    “It is important to preserve salsa now that we have this new urban music boom. In the 80s, Dominican meringue arrived in New York and salsa declined a lot but, for some reason, it returned. In the 90s, we had romantic salsa, and the rhythm was reinvented by people like Eddie Santiago and Frankie Ruiz, and revived. Later, the new generation came: La India, my hit Vivir lo nuestro” with ‘El Flaco’ (Marc Anthony), a song that took both our careers to the next level.”

     

    GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN-TROPICAL MUSIC

    “Financially, I am not at a man’s level in music, but I am still here, giving love to my audience. Unfortunately, men have more opportunities and make more money. Even Celia earned less than men, and she told me that this was the down side of the business. Still, she always pushed me to keep going.

    Singers such as Celia and La Lupe are no win the world of truth, with God in heaven, but they have left their legacy behind. I am alive, and I will not stop until women are supported the way we deserve.”

    POLITICS

    “I am a Republican, but I am going to vote for Hillary Clinton because I am a feminist, because she is a woman and because she deserves it. Clinton can represent the United States honorably.

    As a Republican, I am very disappointed in the Party, and I will support a woman to become president. On Election Day, I will fly in from Puerto Rico to vote for and support Hillary Clinton in New York.”

     

    LOVE LIFE

    “At the moment, I am single. Not because I want to, but because I feel that, ever since I became famous, many men approach me because I am La India, not because I am Linda Viera-Caballero. I decided not to fall in love again and to focus on my work, reach goals and get where I deserve to be.

    All my love and passion are dedicated to my work and my career right now. My arms are open, and I have faith that, one day, my moment will come and a gentleman will show up who understands my work and is not intimidated by my successor by me making more money than him.”

     

    PLAN AND PROJECTS

    “I will not stop until awards recognize my trajectory and what I am doing with this album, and I will not accept excuses that salsa is not the way it used to be. We have released two number-one hits, and we’ll continue working because the world needs to know that SALSA IS ALIVE.”

    La Princesa de la Salsa – La India Graces May Cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine

                La Princesa de la Salsa –  La India Graces May Cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine

     

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    LatinTRENDS is proud to bring you the legendary “Princess of Salsa,” La India. The Latin Grammy Award and Billboard Latin Music Award-winner granted LatinTRENDS an exclusive and very special cover interview. In the May issue, the singer-songwriter talks about her relationship with Celia Cruz, working with Juan Gabriel on her latest album “Intensamente Con Canciones de Juan Gabriel,” the future of salsa, politics and her love life. La india will also receive an a award at the 14th Annual Latino Trendsetter Awards for her trajectory in music.

     

    About the Latino Trendsetter Awards & Scholarship Event
    The Fourteenth Annual Latino Trendsetter Awards, a landmark celebration of excellence in enterprise, arts, entertainment, health, education and community leadership, will be held at on Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 from 6-10 P.M. at The Symphony Space Theater in New York City. The event is sponsored in part by New York Presbyterian Hospital, Inca KolaCUNY . Media (sweepstakes) partners, La Mega 97.9 & Amor 93.1 and presented by LatinTRENDS. It will commence with a VIP red carpet reception, attended by awardees, influencers and media.The award presentation will be partially open to the public and special guest and will start at 8PM.  It will feature a musical performances by Frankie Negron , a multi-cultural dance performance featuring tango, flamenco, salsa and bachata music. Emerging urban Tropical musician, Doñé, will perform live as well.

    The Event will be co-hosted by Actress, speaker and author, April Hernandez Castillo and Luxury Real Estate Broker and star of Bravo’s Emmy-Nominated Million Dollar Listing New York, Luis D. Ortiz

     

    George Lopez’s new show “Lopez” on TV Land is a semi-autobiographical depiction of his life after success. In this funny and inspiring interview, Lopez talks about the elusive American Dream as classism and racism muddies the waters of success.

    5-time Latin Grammy Award-winner Natalia Lafourcade takes time out of her U.S. concert tour to speak with LatinTRENDS about her album “Hasta la Raíz.” In this issue, the remarkable lyricist talks about taking her listeners on a gorgeous musical journey.

    In the business section, “10 Best Productivity Tools for Entrepreneurs,” offers effective advice on how to get organize and take on the business day in a powerful way. “A Marketer’s Perspective” explains how to reach a bicultural audience, and chef for the Rockefellers, Cecilia Gutierrez shares an endearing tale of how she earned her prominent position, travels around the world searching for culinary inspiration and gives back to her hometown community in Colombia.

    The May issue also includes spotlights on body shaming, mental illness, and advice from freestyle sensation Judy Torres on celebrating Mother’s Day as a stepmother.

     

    About LatinTRENDS
    LatinTRENDS is a multi-media and marketing company that connects with the acculturated Hispanic community via its flagship monthly print magazine, weekly e-newsletter, daily content on LatinTRENDS.com and events. The brand’s content is bi-lingual, covering the latest trends in entertainment, travel, technology, wellness, business and cuisine, including featured Hispanic professionals & entrepreneurs.  Content also covers exclusive interviews with celebrities and innovative people that influence trends in pop culture.

    For more information, see other winners and to purchase tickets (limited amount),clickhere: http://bit.ly/21fgLWf 

    Subscribe to our free weekly e-Newsletter http://bit.ly/1BcjOjX

     

    Download the LatinTRENDS Digital Magazine app on itune newstand and Androids via Pocketmags.com

    CELIA CRUZ WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTON

    Aymee-Nuviola-as-Celia-Cruz-Telemundo-2015-billboard-650

    Telemundo did something quite unique. They produced a drama series that on Tuesday, October 13th, topped the adult 25-54 market, beating out The Voice, Bajo el Mismo Cielo, and Jeopardy, among others.

    The series is “Celia” which was inspired by the life of the “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz. Cruz, who made a career in an era when female singers didn’t even make the stage is played by Jeimy Osorio in her young years. Aymee Nuviola plays the older Cruz.

    It also includes Pedro Knight, her husband and manager, played by Modesto Lacen as the young Knight and Willie Denton as the older Knight. Directed by Victor Mallarino and Liliana Bocanegra, along with Nelson Martinez as executive producer and screen play based on script by Andres Salgado and Paul Rodriquez, Fox Telecolombia and RCN licensed Telemundo was confident enough to release the first three episodes on digital platforms before the linear premiere.

    It worked. On Facebook the first night,it drew 993,238 viewers, and Video on Demand and Telemundo Now saw over 177,000 between them. The promotion for the series on Facebook reached 2.3 million global fans. The cumulative audience reached 2,375,000 total viewers, while ranking number one in Miami and New York in the 18-49 adults in its time slot. Celia Cruz, according to the numbers, remains the Queen afterall.

    MODESTO LACÉN – UN ACTOR ORGULLOSO DE SUS RAICES

      Estrena serie colombiana basada en la vida de Celia Cruz

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    Con grandes sueños y deseos de explorar sus dotes, talentos y romper las limitantes profesionales del teatro en su natal Puerto Rico, Modesto Lacen hizo sus maletas y decidió probar fortuna en Estados Unidos hace más de ocho años. El Camino ha sido difícil y laborioso pero también lleno de innumerable satisfacciones y crecimiento profesional.

    Lacen, un consagrado actor puertorriqueño, con más de 20 películas, decenas de obras de teatro y participación en producciones norteamericanas como Animal al lado de conocido actor Terrence Howard o Back In the Day junto al rapero Ja Rule , ha encontrado grandes oportunidades de interpretar personajes con los que siempre soñó. Podemos ver su trabajo constantemente en series Latinas y Norteamérica, y en estaciones de televisión como CBS, PBS y Telemundo, así como actuando en los prestigiosos teatros de la Gran manzana.

    Y en estos momentos, el actor se encuentra en Colombia trabajando en un ambicioso proyecto televiso, una serie basada en la vida de la reina de la salsa, Celia Cruz, dando vida a Pedro Knight, el esposo y compañero de toda la vida de la cantante,

    “en estos momentos, no podemos ofrecer mucha información, solo que es una serie de 80 capítulos producida por Fox Telecolombia”,

    nos dice el actor.

    Lacen, no es nuevo a este personaje, ya que interpreto al esposo de la salsera por más de 10 meses y en diferentes ciudades de los Estados Unidos en la Obra The Life and Music Of Celia Cruz, pero en esta ocasión a diferencia de la obra de teatro donde Pedro Knight era un actor de Pelo blanco y maduro, esta serie colombiana se enfocara en sus años de Juventud. Esta producción está siendo dirigida por Victor Mallarino Y Lilliana Boca Negra Y tendrá a Jeimy Osorio en el papel de Celia Cruz.

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    Modesto remonta su amor por el arte a la edad de seis años durante paseos al cine con su familia, recuerda que al ver la película Places in The Heart con Sally Field, supo que quería ser actor y que esta sería la pasión de su vida. Alto, buenmozo  y con apenas 38 años, el actor, dice amar los dramas cinematográficos y las obras de teatro desde que puede recordar.

    Este talentoso profesional ha tenido muchos papeles importantes pero el personaje que marco su vida y que más le ha impactado, fue Roberto Clemente en la obra DC-7, La Historia de Roberto Clemente,

    “fue un verdadero reto interpretar a alguien de la envergadura de Roberto y lo que el significa no solo para Puerto Rico, sino para todos los latinos”,

    nos cuenta que la historia de esta estrella del baseball le enseño una magnifica lección de vida,

    “la mejor manera de combatir el racismo es destacándote, siendo cada día mejor y dando el máximo de ti en todo lo que hagas”.

    Estas lecciones las aplica diariamente a su vida personal y a su trabajo.

    Lacen, se identifica tan a la perfección con la vida de Clemente, por enfrentar diariamente retos similares en su condición de Afro-Latino,

    “es un verdadero reto ser minoría por partida doble, en la audiciones a veces me dicen que soy muy negro para ser latino, y muy latino para interpretar a un Afro-Americano. Tengo un acento, soy negro y soy puertorriqueño y esta es una mezcla que llevo con mucho orgullo”

    nos dice sin titubear y con evidente satisfacción.

    Y es que este hombre que se define como luchador, sonador y optimista está muy orgulloso de quien es, de su legado y del sacrificio de sus padres y sus abuelos para que hoy él pueda disfrutar de oportunidades ilimitadas. Los obstáculos y los prejuicios solo le inyectan más energía para luchar por sus sueños. Modesto no es improvisado, con una licenciatura en artes de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, hablando con fluidez, español, Inglés, francés y Portugués  y con la habilidad de bailar de cantar, es uno de los actores más preparados de su generación.

    Este hijo prodigo y querido del pueblo de Loiza,  un pueblito en la costa noreste de la isla, sueña en grande, admira la carrera de los grandes actores, es un fanático del actor español Javier Bardem, por su habilidad de trabajar en varios idiomas y mercados simultáneamente.  Lacen está seguro que le esperan cosas grandes: le encantaría un día poder llevar la vida de Roberto Clemente a las grandes salas de cine, pero mientras tanto dice sentirse feliz de ser quien es, realizado, muy enamorado de una bella escritora latina y listo para romper todas las barreras que existen en el cine y el teatro para los afro latinos

     

     

     (Originally published in the Jan-Feb Issue of Latin Trends magazine)

    Feliz Navidad with a “Latin Twist”

    Its Christmas Time. Here are some songs (videos) to get you in the Christmas Spirit with a “Latin twist”
    Feliz Navidad!

    El Gran Combo – “La Fiesta de Pilito”
    Nobody does a family celebration song like El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. This juicy salsa track name checks all that holiday food you’ll be dancing off as you listen to it.

    Fernandito Villalona – “Feliz Cumbe”

    La Sonora Matancera with Celia Cruz – “Navidad Feliz” (Jingle Bells)
    A young Celia Cruz brought the azucar to “Jingle Bells” in this 1958 version, when Cruz was singing with the great dance band Sonora Matancera. Catch some great footage of Cuban Christmas past in this video.

    Andrea Boccelli – “Navidad Blanca”
    Italian crooner Andrea Boccelli puts his special sugar on this Spanish version of “White Christmas.”

    Jenni Rivera – “Amarga Navidad”
    The late Jenni Rivera didn’t have a problem speaking her mind, and her songs never lacked drama. In this “Bitter Christmas” ballad, she implores her lover to end their tortured relationship and leave her on Christmas Eve. Singing it loud with a glass in hand could be the best anecdote there is to holiday blues.

    Was It Love @ First Dance???

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    So the new #sweetheart name is what? #JenMak #LoSkiy #Makiffer lol

    After recently ending it with Casper Smart, Jlo already has a new man sweeping her off feet!

    Meeting Maksim Chmerkovskiy, during her time on the dancing show, their chemistry was noticeable from the studio audience and televiewers.

    J.Lo met Maks last November when they shared the stage at the 2013 American Music Awards during her tribute to Celia Cruz. We all know Jlo has had her share of industry bo’s but Maks romantic history does not fall short after being in a relationship with DWTS’ Karina Smirnoff and a fling with Kate Upto.

    How long do you think this relationship will last?

    Google honors the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz’s 88th Birthday

    Celia Cruz

    Today marks the 88th birthday of the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz and to honor the singer whose voice was just as sparkling as her image Google has dedicated its browser image to the Late Latin superstar.

    In her iconic blue and white wig and clad in a peacock style gown, Cruz stands in place of the second “g” shining brighter than the golden letters around her.

    Born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad on October 21st, 1925 in Havana, Cuba Cruz became one of Cuba’s brightest and internationally renowned stars. Known for her enchanting voice backed by the spicy salsa beats Cruz was popularly known by her coined phrase “Azúcar” the Spanish word for Sugar.

    Growing up in Havana, Cruz was the second of four children and lived in Santos Suárez. Her mother, Catalina Alfonso-Ollita was a house wife who cared for the family while her father, Simon Cruz worked as a railroad stoker.

    Before becoming a singer, Cruz was expected to become a Spanish language teacher as her father wished however Cruz’s aunt and several teachers encouraged her to use the power of her voice and become a singer.

    While she started out rough, Cruz performed and sang in singing competitions around Cuba which started to earn her attention. Cruz eventually came to the United States after Fidel Castro took power. And although she lived in New Jersey she did not forget where she came from and held Cuba close to her heart and enriched in her music.

    Cruz has recorded dozens of records which earned her seven Grammy Awards and still reigns as loyalty within the salsa scene and Latin music industry.

    Sadly, on July 16th, 2003 at the age of 77 Celia Cruz passed away in her battle with brain cancer. Although she left this world a decade ago, Cruz is still very much alive in her music that will never lose its sweet ¡Azúcar!

    Enter for a Chance to Win “CELIA CRUZ – THE ABSOLUTE COLLECTION”

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    “On stage, Celia was ageless, in life, her good energy and generosity were boundless, her music is and will remain timeless. . . .” Gloria Estefan

    Beautifully and wonderfully designed, “THE ABSOLUTE COLLECTION” contains 30 of her all time classic hits re-mastered, extensive liner notes, brand-new commentary from prominent artists of today, also features over 70 unpublished and never-before-seen photographs and memorabilia wonderfully displayed and arranged across 60 pages; all presented with the complete consent and cooperation of Celia Cruz’s estate.


    Are you a Celia Cruz fan? Enter the contest for a chance to win the Celia Cruz – The Absolute Collection by answering the three trivia questions below that are all about La Reina de la Salsa!

    1) Celia Cruz got her breakthrough in 1950. What was the name of the band she became the lead vocalist for?

    2) When did she become a US citizen?

    3) What’s the origin of her trademark ¡AZUCAR!?

    Email your answers, with the questions, to sweepstakes@latintrends.com with “CELIA CRUZ – THE ABSOLUTE COLLECTION” in the subject line. No Googling now ;-)


    Celia Cruz admired and loved around the world remained at the vanguard of Latin music and fashion, while ruling the charts with her spirited charisma and her unforgettable yell of “¡Azúcar!” (Sugar!). We all came to realize that over six decades there was nothing more delightful than singing and dancing to a Cuban son at any point throughout her remarkable career.

    Now, a decade after her passing, Celia Cruz, The Queen of Salsa, is honored with a tribute that’s worthy of her legacy – The Absolute Collection – a journey, showcase and inside view of the personal and artistic life of the legendary and forever influential musical icon.

    Sony Music Latin, together with the estate of Celia Cruz and many renowned artists, pay tribute to her genius and her timeless music. The Absolute Collection – Deluxe-Book Version includes 30 songs on two CDs, plus a 60-page book with over 70 photos and other memorabilia never previously published most of it from Celia Cruz’s personal collection.

    The detailed liner notes are written by the highly respected author and journalist Tom Schnabel of NPR’s flagship Los Angeles station 89.9 FM KCRW.

    All of the songs were carefully selected and represent every transcendent era of her career. The majority of the tracks are from the great and vast catalog of the legendary Fania Record label where Celia Cruz recorded the majority of her historic recordings. In addition, the audio has been meticulously re-mastered for the optimum audio experience.

    Furthermore, the Deluxe Edition stands out for its brand-new commentary from musical legends who love Celia Cruz…such icons as Marc Anthony, Beyoncé, Quincy Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Pitbull, Rita Moreno, David Byrne and Gloria Estefan just to name a few.

    Celia Cruz – The Absolute Collection is a treasure, timeless collector’s item and pays tribute to every admirer over several generations. A vibrant, tireless performer still remains a much-loved and unequalled icon of Latin culture. Celia Cruz will forever be “La Reina De La Salsa” to her adoring fans and lives on today as the noble face and ambassador of Latin music across the globe.