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Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco

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, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Gracias a Celia y a Pacheco por su impeccable interpretaci o n , c o n t a g i o s o ritmo y por la energia positiva que aportaron a este genero .
Tuve la oportunidad de verla muchas veces
En la pero Concierto. Pero en Puerto Rico u
Can Dance in the Concerts.
Ramon
Muy bueno tus música gracias por todas estas Buenas
slj08036
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you do not post this comment on at least 3 songs you will die in 2 day. Now that you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 144 minutes when press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works!!
Live would have been one of life's treasures! Energy, Love, And Grace in one remarkable lady!
Sing negrita! David best!
Immortal history and dynamic Latin music which I was lucky enough to witness live. God bless you Celia
selia es la megor de las megores
the best !!!unica con la lupe!!!
La mejor .........nun c a habra otra igual...circ a 1992 trabaje con Ella en el primer show que charitin grabo para Univision .yo empesaba mi Carrera como ingeniero de sonido y me trato con un respeto y con un carino como si me conociera toda la vida .....que clase tenia como ser humano....to d o te lo pedia de favor con una AZUCAR y dulsura .....otros artistas deberian aprender de su clase.......
azucar mi negra.
No one will ever fill her shoes.....fu e y sera la reyna por siempre. ....qué viva su azuuuuuucaar r r r r r r r !!!
Can't sit still when u listen to Celia Cruz. Viva la mujer!
martini.sale e n
ay, viva la salsa, viva La guarachera de Cuba!
I'm am one of fourteen children. .I am 54.have always sang.my 1st love music. Latino music. .I dated j.Pacheco. nice. Daisy. .we danced sang. .its a long time ago. But the music is fresh. .in my soul. The masters have live forever long after we pass. God bless c.c..j.p..t. . p . . o u r Latin music masters
Celia is the queen of cuban music que viva la negrita celia la mejor de todo cuba te ama celia
Celia is the queen of cuba que vive cuba
SALSA es lo mio, wepaaa :-*
Celia was and still and always be the best......
Celia cuando muera me quiero encontrar contigo y mi madre que te admiraba pa forma un giisao de pura salsa
lazaro.sanch e z d a v i l a
mami misses you so much........ . A Z U C A ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
FELIZ CUMPLEANO CELIA. !!!!
nancyweissbe i n
Miss ya, Celia Cruz my friends and i dance like crazy to your music RIP
Salsa Queen....you r music will love on forever!
charon_jade4 7
PUERTO RICO, CUBA, STO. DOMINGO and the rest of this entire world will truly miss U, my dear friend....Lo v e all of your great music....R. I. P.
La negrita linda, PR luvsssss u, RIP
C**o Celia como te esterano
josequinones 6 2
You are missed dearly..love your music always.
sofy1022
none like celia !
la mejor combinacion del caribe ...cuba y puertorro... b o r i c u a l a n d
She is the latina queen. _
OMG i love her she was my aunt alot of people say i look like her she realy was the queen of salsa will always love her ......
Guantanamera Guajira Guantanamera ! ! ! ! ❤❤❤������
rvega12
Very much missed and loved!
rkelly70
The queen. "AZUCAR"
¡AZÚCAR!!!! Gone but never forgotten... ¡Siempre vivirás en nuestros corazones, Celia!

Quimbara
Azucar!!!
@Juan A. Rodríguez what a blessing!
Lantin music would never have been as instrumental had it not been for Great Artist! as these two: RIP Celia....tha n k you Johnny P.
la canti di la canti
Love Celia, always been a fan and she will forever live.
the queen lives on!
Love you Celia, God bless the Queen forever***** *
Celia and Johnny were an item when it came to catching an audience for their music. R,I.P, Celia
QUE COMBINACION PONCE PR FROM PHILADELPHIA PA
john.snyc
May God Bless Celia forever long live the Queen of salsa
Juan A Rodriguez

I got the the best memory when I called her name Celia! And she waived at me, she had just finished singing with El Combo at a concert held at Madison Square Garden, where the late Franky Ruiz featured also. I wished I would have ran into her in person so I could have given her a hug and a kiss...and express her my appreciation for her everlasting music contribution to the entire world. Que Dios la bendiga! Y las gracias por darnosla.
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