October 21, 1925, Havana, Cuba – July 16, 2003, Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S.
Celia Cruz was a Cuban American singer who reigned for decades as the Queen of Salsa Music, electrifying audiences with her wide-ranging, soulful voice and rhythmically compelling style.
After winning a talent show, in which she interpreted the tango piece Nostalgia, Cruz interrupted her studies to pursue a singing career.
Celia Cruz – Nostalgia Habanera
Her musical breakthrough came in 1950 when she replaced lead singer Myrta Silva of the popular orchestra La Sonora Matancera. Cruz sang regularly with the ensemble on radio and television, toured extensively, and appeared with it in five films produced in Mexico. In addition, Cruz headlined Havana’s Tropicana nightclub in the 1950s.
La vida es un carnaval
After the Cuban revolution, Havana’s nightlife all but disappeared. Along with the other members of La Sonora Matancera, Cruz left Cuba for Mexico and then the United States, eventually settling in New York City.
One of the most popular salsa artists of the 20th century, she earned twenty-three gold albums and was renowned internationally as the Queen of Salsa as well as La Guarachera de Cuba. Leila Cobo of Billboard Magazine once said „Cruz is indisputably the best known and most influential female figure in the history of Cuban music.”
Celia Cruz – Los Mejores Grandes Exitos