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Celia Cruz: The Queen of Latin Music

Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba on October 21, 1925 and died in New Jersey July 16, 2003 at the age of 77. Cruz’s first recordings were made in 1948. In 1950, her singing career started its journey to stardom when she began singing with celebrated Cuban orchestra Sonora Matancera.

Initially, there were doubts that Cruz could successfully replace the previous lead singer and sell salsa musicl. However, Cruz helped propel the group and Latin music in general to new heights. The band toured through Central and North America throughout the 1950s.

Cruz remained unknown in the United States but when she joined the Tito Puente Orchestra in the mid–1960s, she gained exposure to a broader audience. Puente had a large following across Latin America, and Cruz became a dynamic focus for the group, reaching a new fan base with her fresh face.

On stage, Cruz consumed audiences with her flamboyant attire and crowd engagement. Those same engaging traits bolstered her 40-year singing career. Cruz went on to record 23 gold records with Tito Puente, the Fania All-Stars and other collaborations.

If you like dancing to salsa music, chances are, you have danced to Celia Cruz. The cuban salsa singer has won countless awards and became the first Latin artist to be honored with a place on the Walk of Legends at New York’s Apollo Theater. She was honored in a concert marking the 50th anniversary of her first appearance at the historic theater.

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