The Diaz Ayala Cuban and Latin American Popular Music Encyclopedic Discography of Cuban Music

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Celia Cruz Biographical Notes

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Born in Havana, October 21, 1925. Singer. From a very humble family. While studying to be a school teacher she also trained and kept alive her love of singing.

She made her debut in an amateur program at age 14. Early in her career she sang tangos, later she sang the Afro-Cuban genre and finally sang the whole spectrum of Cuban dance music, from bolero to the son, through the guaracha and the conga.

In the 40s she had her first opportunity to sing in a major radio station, Radio Cadena Suaritos. She travels to record in Mexico and Venezuela. In 1949 she began to sing with La Sonora Matancera and from the earliest recordings she finds popular favor. She left Cuba in 1960 with the Sonora and remained with them until 1965. In Mexico she recorded with the Memo Salamanca orchestra , and in New York with Tito Puenteorchestra. By the mid-70s, Celia finds her niche - salsa.

She recorded and performed with the most important figures of Salsa: Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, Johnny Pacheco, Sonora Ponceña, etc. Besides the 5 or 6 movies she made in Mexico before 1960, she has appeared numerous times in documentary films and video clips about salsa. and in the film "The Mambo Kings Play love songs." She has performed throughout Latin America and Europe. She is the highest-grossing salsa performer, with over 50 LP's recorded. Celia is truly legendary.

We can divide her career into two stages: until the mid-70s, when she is known as "The guarachera of Cuba", with remarkable success, she is the embodiment of certain genres of Cuban music. Beyond the 70s, at an age when most artists are ready to retire, she becomes the undisputed queen of salsa movement, Experimenting with new arrangements, other orchestras, new venues (such as outdoor concerts with thousands of people), sharing the stage with different singers and bands, and the constant travel throughout the world, singing and dancing on stage, as if she was only 20 years old. She managed to do all this thanks to her extraordinary combination of natural powers: a very powerful mezzo voice that has not diminished over the years, a unique rhythmic sense of music, an iron discipline in her private life (never drank nor smoked) the character of a girl with an optimistic attitude towards life, and a professional pride in the performance of classical music.

U. Valverde: "Reina Rumba", Bogotá, Ed. La Oveja Negra, 1981. Penguin, obra citada p.304. Cristóbal Díaz - Colaboración a "Diccionario de la Música Española e Hispanoamericana", Fund. Autor, Madrid 2000. Eduardo Marceles Daconte: "Azúcar.La Biografía de Celia Cruz". Reed Press,N.Y. Ana Cristina Reymundo: "Celia.Mi vida".Harper Collins Publishers.NY, 2004. Dr. Héctor Ramírez Bedoya: "Celia Cruz, Alberto Beltrán y Celio González-Estrellas de la Sonora Matancera" Medellín, Col. 2007. Esta es la mejor biografía que se ha escrito de Celia.