Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz
Birth: October 21, 1925 en La Habana, Cuba
Deceased: July 16, 2003 en Fort Lee, New Jersey

Celia Cruz Alfonso of Charity, known as Celia Cruz, was an actress and singer of Cuban montuno, guaracha and salsa, she developed her career in Cuba, Mexico and the United States.

Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba, on October 21, 1925 and died in Fort Lee, New Jersey, United States, July 16, 2003.

She began to sing lullabies to sleep to the smallest of his family. She used to watch the dances and orchestras through the windows of cabarets. Singing and dancing in the Havana corralas and participated in radio amateur, as ‘Teatime’ or ‘The supreme court of the art’, which won first prizes as a cake or a silver chain, until its interpretation of tango ‘Nostalgia’ payment received $ 15 at Radio García Serra.

In Venezuela she was hired to record early 78s commercial rpm by the record Commercial Serfaty, backed by the Orchestra ‘Leonard Melody’. In 1948, Roderick ‘Rodney’ Neyra founded the group mulatas fire dancers. Celia was hired as a singer, obtaining a great success. Later she was hired by Radio Cadena Suaritos. In 1950 she met the businessman Rafael Sotolongo, who sought because she wanted to sing with the Sonora Matancera. Upon learning of the interview, the managers of the radio where he worked, was fired. He debuted with Sonora Matancera in August 1950. At first, the public not welcomed, but Rogelio Martinez, director of the group, had faith in her. Martinez convinced the owner of the record SEECO Records, Sidney Siegel (called Mr. Siegel) challenging him and finally, in December 1950, recorded in 78rpm format. It was such a success that Mr. Siegel gave the nod and Celia began his recordings with the Sonora Matancera. It was in the group for fifteen years. Some of his successes were: ‘Burundanga’ ‘Candy’, ‘Your voice’, ‘Rhythm tambó’ and ‘bottled soup’. Accompanied by Sonora, she had brief appearances in Mexican musical films like Salon Mexico ‘(1950) and’ A Galician in Havana ‘(1953).

In July 1960, already initiated the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro, the Sonora gets permission to operate in Mexico. In 1962 he married Pedro Knight. Three years later both left the Sonora and she became their representative. Celia Cruz began her career as a solo percussionist Tito Puente together with whom she recorded eight albums. Young Hispanics in New York discovered in 1973 at Carnegie Hall, when integrated the cast of the ‘salsópera’ ‘Hommy’ by Larry Harlow. Later, she participated in a legendary concert recorded live at the Yanquee Stadium with The Fania All-Stars, a team of leaders from Latino groups who recorded for the Fania label set.

In the 80s, Celia Cruz recorded and toured extensively in Latin America, giving many concerts and participating in television programs. In 1982 she was reunited with the Sonora Matancera, and recorded the album ‘Happy Encounter’. That year, she also paid tribute at Madison Square Garden. In 1989, he won his first Grammy and was invited to celebrate the 65 years of the Sonora Matancera in Central Park in New York. In 1990, get to travel to Guantanamo (Cuba) to give a concert. Later she participated in the record tribute was paid to the singer and Spanish actress Lola Flores, recording a duet with her now famous theme ‘Burundanga’ and participates for the second time as an artist in Miss Venezuela. In 1995, she received a tribute in Venezuela in which she received a star on the Walk of Fame in Caracas and was honored with the order ‘alfredo sadel’, one of the highest decorations awarded to an artist Venezuela.

In 97, she accepted a new challenge from Televisa to star in the dramatic telenovela ‘The soul has no color’. On October 25, 1997 the city of San Francisco declared that day ‘Celia Cruz Day’. The following year she launched her album ‘Mi Vida Es Cantar’ that leaves one of the issues identified her since, ‘Life is a carnival’. Noteworthy in 1999 its participation in the Pavarotti and Friends concert, which was invited by the tenor. That same year signed a new contract with Sony Music to who would perform his last recordings. In 2001 agains he won the Grammy for his album “Always I’ll live.” The next years she recorded a new album, ‘La Negra Tiene Tumbao’, which penetrates in modern variants of Caribbean rhythms, influenced by rap and hip-hop.

After a performance in Mexico, she was found to have cancer in the brain (glioma, very aggressive brain tumor). She operated to remove it and then tried to resume her career. He recorded his latest album, ‘Gift from the Soul’ in 2002, and despite his illness, acted at the Latin Grammy, winning the award, and participated in the musical singing for the first time live ‘La Negra Tiene Tumbao’. In March 2003, her last year of life, Telemundo paid tribute, with artists like Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Gloria Gaynor, and Patti LaBelle among others.

For her express wish, her remains were first taken to Miami for two days to receive the homage of admirers of the Cuban exile, returning and finally resting in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx (New York).



  • It is rumored that actually was born in 1924. This can not be verified by his refusal to confess his age.
  • She left the teaching career to enter the National Conservatory of Music.
  • She met her husband, Pedro Knight, when it was a day to Radio Progreso rehearsing with the Sonora Matancera. He was the second trumpet. They married in 1962.
  • She asked to put a few grams of land of Cuba (which was picked up when singing at Guantanamo in 1990) in his coffin when he died.
  • She was nominated for 13 Grammys and won 2 and 6 Latin Grammys and won 3. obtained two honorary doctorates: Yale University (1989) and the University of Florida (1992). Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987 and in Miami, Calle 8, has been renamed ‘Celia Cruz Way’
Tipo Trabajo Año
music Canciones que yo quería haber grabado primero 1965
music Cuba y Puerto Rico son 1966
music Son con guaguancó/A ti México/Bravo 1967
music Quimbo Quimbumbia 1969
music Etc., etc., etc 1970
music Nuevos éxitos de Celia Cruz 1971
music Algo especial para recordar 1972
music Celia & Johnny 1974
music Tremendo caché 1975
music Recordando el ayer 1976
music Only they could have made this álbum 1977
music The Brilliant/Eternos/A todos mis amigos 1978
music La ceiba 1979
music Celia, Johnny & Pete 1980
music Celia & Willie 1981
music Feliz encuentro 1982
music Tremendo trío 1983
music De nuevo/La candela 1986
music The Winners 1987
music Ritmo en el corazón 1988
music Azúcar negra/¡Azúcar!/Boleros 1993
music Irresistible 1995
music Mi vida es cantar 1998
music Hoy y ayer 1999
music Siempre viviré 2000
music La negra tiene tumba'o 2001
music Regalo del alma 2003
music Dios disfrute a la reina 2004

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