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Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz was one of Latin music's most respected vocalists. A ten-time Grammy nominee, Cruz, who sang only in her native Spanish language, received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award, a National Medal of the Arts, and honorary doctorates from Yale University and the University of Miami. A street in Miami was even renamed in her honor, and Cruz's trademark orange, red, and white polka dot dress and shoes have been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute of Technology. The Hollywood Wax Museum includes a statue of the Cuba-born songstress. According to the European Jazz Network, Cruz "commands her realm with a down-to-earth dignity unmistakably vibrant in her wide smile and striking pose."

One of 14 children, born in the small village of Barrio Santos Suarez, Havana, Cruz was drawn to music from an early age. Her first pair of shoes was a gift from a tourist for whom she sang. In addition to spending many evenings singing her younger siblings to sleep, Cruz sang in school productions and community gatherings. Taken to cabarets and nightclubs by an aunt, she was introduced to the world of professional music. At the encouragement of a cousin, Cruz began to enter and win local talent shows. Although her father attempted to guide her toward a career as a teacher, Cruz continued to be lured by music. In a 1997 interview, she said, "I have fulfilled my father's wish to be a teacher as, through my music, I teach generations of people about my culture and the happiness that is found in just living life. As a performer, I want people to feel their hearts sing and their spirits soar." Enrolling in Cuba's Conservatory of Music in 1947, Cruz found her earliest inspiration in the singing of Afro-Cuban vocalist Paulina Alvarez. Her first break came when she was invited to join the band la Sonora Matancera in 1950. The group was revered as the Latin equivalent of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Cruz remained with the group for 15 years, touring throughout the world. She married the band's trumpet player Pedro Knight on July 14, 1962. With Fidel Castro's assuming control of Cuba in 1960, Cruz and Knight refused to return to their homeland and became citizens of the United States. Although they initially signed to perform with the orchestra of the Hollywood Palladium, Cruz and Knight eventually settled in New York. Knight became Cruz's manager in 1965, a position he held until the mid-'90s when he began to devote his attention to serving as her musical director and conductor of her band.

Leaving Sonora Matancera's band in 1965, Cruz launched her solo career with a band formed for her by Tito Puente. Despite releasing eight albums together, the collaboration failed to achieve commercial success. Cruz and Puente resumed their partnership with a special appearance at the Grammy Award ceremonies in 1987. Signed by Vaya, the sister label of Fania, Cruz recorded with Oscar D'Leon, Cheo Feliciano, and Hector Rodriquez in the mid- to late '60s. Cruz's first success since leaving Sonora Matancera came in 1974 when she recorded a duo album, Celia & Johnny, with Johnny Pacheco, trombone player and the co-owner of Fania. She subsequently began appearing with the Fania All Stars. Cruz's popularity reached its highest level when she appeared in the 1992 film The Mambo Kings. Cruz also appeared in the film The Perez Family. She sang a duet version of "Loco de Amor," with David Byrne, in the Jonathan Demme movie Something Wild. In 1998, Cruz released Duets, an album featuring her singing with Willie Colon, Angela Carrasco, Oscar D'Leon, Jose Alberto "El Canario," and la India. Cruz continued to record and perform until sidelined by a brain tumor in 2002. While recovering from surgery to remove the tumor, she managed to make it in to the studio in early 2003 to record Regalo de Alma. Her surgery was only partially successful and she died July 16, 2003. The passing of the "Queen of Salsa" left a huge gap in Latin music, but also a remarkable catalog to document her reign. ~ Craig Harris
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: A Un Ano... Lo Original De Celia Cruz

1. Yerbero Moderno

2. Cao Cao Mani Picao

3. Caramelos

4. Burundanga

5. Bajo La Luna

6. Juancito Trucupey

7. Me Voy A Pinar Del Rio

8. Suavecito

9. Mata Siguaraya

10. Nostalgia Habanera

11. La Sopa En Botella

12. Tumba La Cana Jibarito

13. Mi Bomba Sono

14. El Que Siembra Su Maiz

15. Yemaya

16. Saludo A Elegua

17. Chango Ta Veni

x

Track List: Exitos Eternos

1. La Vida Es Un Carnaval

2. La Negra Tiene Tumbao

3. Que Le Den Candela

4. Sazón

5. Usted Abusó

6. La Guagua

7. Oye Como Va

9. Mi Vida Es Cantar

14. Por Si Acaso No Regreso

x

Track List: Regalo Del Alma

1. Ella Tiene Fuego

2. José Caridad

3. Rie Y Llora

4. Ay Pena, Penita

5. Díagnostico

6. La Niña De La Trenza Negra

7. Me Huele A Rumba (Rumba Na Ma)

8. No Estés Amargao

9. Pa' La Cola

10. María La Loca

11. Yo Viviré (I Will Survive)

x

Track List: Boleros Eternos

1. Siento La Nostalgia De Palmeras

2. Te Busco

3. Bolero Bolero

4. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas

5. Espinita

6. Aunque Me Cueste La Vida

7. Piel Canela

8. Quien Sera?

9. Cuando Tu Me Quieras

10. Luna Sobre Matanzas

11. Desvelo De Amor

12. Tuya Mas Que Tuya

13. Mi Amor Buenas Noches

14. Palmeras Tropicales

15. Esperame En El Cielo

16. Tu Voz

x

Track List: At The Beginning

1. Yerbero Moderno

2. El Que Siembra Su Maiz

3. La Guagua

4. Desvelo De Amor

5. Caramelos

6. Virgen De La Macarena

7. Espinita

8. Agua Pa' Mi

9. La Clave De Oro

11. El Marinero

12. Cao,Cao Mani Picao

13. Nostalgia Habanera

14. Burundanga

x

Track List: Siempre Viviré

1. Celia's Oye Como Va (Oye Como Va)

2. La Sopa

3. Dos Días En La Vida

4. Contrapunto Musical

5. La Pachanga

6. Por Si Acaso No Regreso

7. Yo Viviré (I Will Survive)

8. La Medicina Cubana

9. Quítate De Ahí

10. La Llave

11. Uno

12. Tu Voz (Ranchera Bolero Version)

x

Track List: Mi Vida Es Cantar

1. El No Te Quiere Na

2. Mi Vida Es Cantar

3. Patica De Chivo

4. Me Estan Hablando Del Cielo

5. Cal Y Arena

6. Siento La Nostalgia De Palmeras

7. Canto A Lola Flores

8. Salsipuedes

9. La Vida Es Un Carnaval

x

Track List: La Guachera De Cuba

1. Cao Cao Mani Picao

2. Las Frutas Y Mi Son Cubano

3. Ritmo, Tambo Y Flores

4. Abre La Puerta Querida

5. Yembe Laroca

6. Rumba Para Parejas

7. Agua Pa' Mi

8. Reina Rumba

9. Baila Yemaya

10. Quede Zaina

11. El Guajirito Contento

12. Tatalibaba

13. La Danza Del Cocoye

14. El Disgusto De La Rumba

15. Bonco

16. La Guagua

17. Ya Llego El Carnaval

18. A Todos Mis Amigos

19. Tu Voz

20. No Se Lo Que Me Pasa

x

Track List: 100% Azucar! The Best Of Celia Cruz: Con La Sonora Matancera

1. Ritmo, Tambo Y Flores

2. Elegua Quiere Tambo

3. Tu Voz

4. Burundanga

5. Melao De Cana

6. Juancito Trucupey

7. Saoco

8. Mi Soncito

9. No Encuentro Palabras

10. Me Voy A Pinar Del Rio

11. Chango Ta' Veni

12. La Cumbanchera De Belen

13. Ritmo De Mi Cuba

14. Caramelos

15. El Que Siembra Su Maiz

16. Mango Mangue

17. Suavecito

18. Oye Mi Rumba

x

Track List: Las Guarachas De La Guarachera

1. La Cumbanchera De Belen

2. Cao Cao Mani Picao

3. Ritmo De Mi Cuba

4. Caramelos

5. Vamos A Guarachar

6. Juancito Trucupey

7. Mi Tumba Se Rompio

8. Bongo

9. Chango Ta' Veni

10. Suena El Cuero

11. El Lleva Y Trae

12. Oyela, Gozala

x

Track List: Bravo

1. Bravo

2. Con Una Sola Miradita

3. La Campeona

4. Mas Puerte Que Tu Amor

5. Su Majestad La Rumba

6. El Cinturon

7. Guatanamera

8. Suenan Los Tambores

9. Guardame Tu Amor

10. Ay, Vecino

11. Asi Va Mi Cantar

12. La Jaibera

x

Track List: Azucar

1. El Yerberito Moderno

2. La Negra Tiene Tumbao

3. Suavecito

4. La Guarachera

5. Me Acuerdo De Ti

6. Oye Mi Consejo

7. Bravo

8. Guantanamera

9. Cuando Sali De Cuba

10. Metida Con You

11. Mi Treque, Treque

13. Bomboro Quina

15. Dile Que Por Mi No Tema

17. Bemba Colora

18. Quimbara

19. Toro Mata

20. Cucala

22. Usted Abuso

23. Burundanga

24. El Guaba

27. La Dicha Mia

29. Nadie Se Salva De La Rumba

30. Bamboleo

31. El Chisme

32. El Negro Bembon

x

Track List: La Experiencia

2. Cuando Sali De Cuba

4. Ay! Mi Cuba

5. Quimbara

7. El Tumbao Y Celia

8. Usted Abuso

10. A Papa

12. La Equivocada

13. La Dicha Mia

14. Arrecotin Arrecotan

x

Track List: Reina Rumba

1. Reina Rumba

2. Mambo Del Amor

3. Vamos A Guarachar

4. Melao De Cana

5. Suena El Cuero

6. El Merengue

7. Guede Zaina

8. Cao Cao Mani Picao

9. Matiagua

10. Ritmo, Tambo Y Flores

11. Elegua Quiere Tambo

12. Baila Yemaya

13. Cachunga

14. Rock And Roll

15. Baila Yemaya

16. Baila, Baila Vicente

17. Me Voy A Pinar Del Rio

18. Madre Rumba

19. Tumba La Cana Jibarito

20. El Pai Y La Mai

x

Track List: Rie Y LLora (Radio Single)

1. Rie Y Llora

x

Track List: Sabor Y Ritmo De Pueblos

1. Rinkinkalla

2. Al Son Del Pilon

3. Retozon

4. Cuba Bella

5. Oye Mi Rumba

6. Vengan A La Charanga

7. Cogele El Gusto

8. La Milonga De Espana

9. Chango

10. Merengue Arrimao

11. Traigo Para Ti

12. Imoye

x

Track List: Son Con Guaguanco

1. Bemba Colora

3. Es La Humanidad

4. Lo Mismo Si Que No

5. Oye Mi Consejo

8. Permiteme

9. No Hay Manteca

10. El Cohete

11. La Adivinanza

12. Amarra La Yegua

x

Track List: Tributo A Ismael Rivera

1. Las Caras Lindas

2. Quitate De La Via Perico

3. Perfume De Rosas

4. A Bailar Mi Bomba

5. Maquinolandera

6. Arrecotin Arrecotan

7. Yo No Quiero Piedras En Mi Camino

8. El Negro Bembon

9. Seis De Borinquen

10. El Nazareno

x

Track List: Viva Mexico

1. La Bikina

3. Tu Y Las Nubes

4. Esperare

5. Mas Fuerte Que Tu Amor

6. Bravo

7. Mi Lindo Bohio

8. El Coquero

9. Ayayay

10. Salambo

11. Latinos En Estados Unidos

13. Por Esa Puerta

Comments

Report as inappropriate
July 16, 2003! RIP our Queen of Salsa! I just so happened re-read her Bio while dancing and realized that today marks the anniversary of another year without our Dear Celia. May her music live on! #LaNegraTien e T u m b a o #RIPMiHerman a A r l e n e
Report as inappropriate
La Reina....muc h love!!!
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Se dice aaaaaazzzzuu u u u c a
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Azucar mi candela ,Celia Hilaria de LA caridad Alfonso Cruz,te amo,Gracias por el talento inpirada en ti mi madre de LA libertad en general mundial,Mafe r e f u n olofi.Ache OSHA.Elegua. A z u c a r
Report as inappropriate
sergiopina78
ASUCAR !!!!!!!!
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Xavier Freeman 6 / 7 / 16
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Celia sang at least occasionally in English: https://www. y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = 5 - D Z n u n 9 1 7 c
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rip celia cruz
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Love her
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She's my favorite singer AZÚCAR !
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❤️❤️❤️❤️☺️☺️
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I like Celia's songs #ASUCAR
Report as inappropriate
gloripol
I beg to differ with the writer. Celia once sang in another language "creol" when touring in Haiti çerca 1953/54.
Report as inappropriate
expocigar
La reina la guarachera del mundo saliste de cuba siendo una estrella y pusiste el nombre de CUBA en el mundo entero te queremos mucho Celia te conocí en una presentación que diste para la noche latina del circo R Brothers y fue maravilloso cuando gritaste AZÚCAR, me sigues dando grandes recuerdos desde el cielo tengo mucha música tuya y créeme nunca olvidaré tu nombre CELIA CRUZ.
La Sonera del Mundo.
Report as inappropriate
I LOVE EXITOS ETERNOS
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angel201510
I Love Celia
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sergiopina78
La mejor Celia Cruz . Azucar!!!!!!
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Me udiese gustado conoserte a hora estoy viendo celia están chevere poder ver siquiera algo de tu hermosa carrera ,
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Still is no replace for Celia Cruz y no ha nacido nadie still, que viva la guarachera de Cuba,
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We all love u RIP
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Best Celia Cruz the best
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There wont ever be any one like Celia Cruz, and that is for sure. She is the best representati o n of the Cuban broad band of music.
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They took Cuba away from, but she had Cuba inside her hart. Long live the queen if the Salsa.
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Love her music. R.I p. Celia
Report as inappropriate
The Goddess that lives in the hearts and minds of the true believers of the music she sang and loved with the dignity of sharing it with us you can feel it in your bones you will dance shake and move and forget all your worries smile with joyful bliss in the moment
Thank you celia
Report as inappropriate
ndomski7707
Mis
Report as inappropriate
Celia La Grande por siempre, en el cielo tienes bailando a todos.
Report as inappropriate
Don't read this post it actually works you will be kissed on the next closest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will dies in two days now that you started reading this don't stop post this on five songs in the next 143minutes once your done press f6 ur lovers name will pop up in letters on ur screen. This is so scary it actually works
Report as inappropriate
matratus
Carnaval.... . . m u s t dance now.
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Celia cruz, la mejor, no soy cubana pero me encanta su musica Rip celia, te amamod
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Celia eres una de mis favoritas

I miss you Celia
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Te amo Celia
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I'm speechless.. . h e r sound...simp l y perfect
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Celia forever. Eternal. The Queen lives.
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Me mi wosta esta caseon
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I love your song
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angelbelloas e
Tu. Voz me hace templar y las lagrimas aun se me salen como cuando te hoy en persona hace mas de cuarenta anos atras en coral way en el Montmatres
ASE
Report as inappropriate
Hahaha! Yes I bragging. I have bragging rights; Why? Because I saw Celia Cruz y su esposo/novio @ one of her last talented enjoyable concierto. Where you may ask!?
I watched her a few years ago with my beautiful Mami @ Foxwoods Connecticut. There wasn't No seating down nessacery because Celia had you on your feet dancing All night. QUE VIVA CELIA CRUZ EN MI CORAZON EN MI ESPIRITO
Whepa!!
Report as inappropriate
Celia Cruz la major la Unica e irrepetible ninguna como ella
Report as inappropriate
Donde puedo encontrar, "el maja" que es la versión del guaba pero cubana.
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La vida is un carnival. No tengas mal humor. Very good music
Report as inappropriate
Divi brant and raw can't replace the elegance and purity
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I was lucky enough to see her perform in person in a small venue. She was amazing!! Azucar!!!
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I can't believe i actually found her now I thought she wasn't on pandora ����
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FANTASTIC
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When Celia Cruz passed away...I felt a deep sorrow. She had been part of our lifes for so long. Her music and her memory will always live on.
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Oooaaa la vida es un carnaval!!!! !
Report as inappropriate
No no shoemaker I don't Yas ja no te lo mereces y mucho mas de no haber podido ver songs de mi hi holding que grosero pero si te vas de mi casa y me y gril or boys a mi casa
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La inolvidable Celia Cruz...honra nuestra! ...QEPD..
Report as inappropriate
La reyna
Show more

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