"The Queen of Salsa"
Legendary salsa singer Celia Cruz died on July 16, 2003.
They called Celia Cruz
the Queen of Salsa, the greatest female singer to emerge from Cuba. Her rich contralto voice thrilled audiences for
more than half a
century, first as the toast of 1950's Havana, then in a series of films through the 1950's
and 60's, and in the movie of Oscar Hijuelos's book, "The Mambo Kings
Play Songs of Love," in which she performed with her regular touring partner,
Puente the King of Mambo. As witnessed by this film, and her duet with David Byrne,
"Loco de Amor," in his movie, "Something Wild," she
was one of the few
Latin stars to have acquired an all-American audience.
Celia left Cuba after the 1959 revolution, along with Cuba's most
popular band, Sonora Matancera, and since recorded with all the Latin greats. The
salsa song "La Dicha Mia" (My Luck), written for her by Johnny Pacheco, tells of
this move and her subsequent musical career. "I left Cuba and headed for New York,
looking for another atmosphere" and recorded with "the great Tito Puente,"
she sings. Next comes "the great Dominican, Johnny Pacheco" ("We caused a
sensation."), and collaborations with Willie Colon, Papa Lucca and his Sonora
Poncena, and the singer Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez.
The greatness of Celia Cruz was immediately apparent in
her performances. On stage, even approaching eighty, she had dazzling energy, sensuality and
rapport with the audience, chatting and joking with them, dancing throughout a two-hour
set. In the songs, she ad-libbed and improvised with extraordinary style and speed.
Notable songs include ---
Celia Cruz will be missed. Remember her through her music.
Buy this album: "50 Años Cantando Para Ti" (2003)
Buy this album: "Cuba Los Boleros" (2002)
Buy this 2 disc set: "Cocktail Hour" (2001)
Buy this album: "Siempre Vivire" (2000)