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Cruz, Celia (the Queen of Salsa)

Born: 1924 AD
Died: 2003 AD, at 78 years of age.

Nationality: Cuban
Categories: Singer


1924 - Born on October 21st in Havana, Cuba. A vibrant, tireless performer, she has won over several generations of listeners with her catchy Afro-Cuban rhythms. She was commonly known as the Queen of Salsa.

1940 - She began to sing on Cuban radio programs.

1947-1950 - She decided to abandon any thought of being a schoolteacher, she studied at Havana's Conservatory of Music.

         - Hired as lead singer for the island's top dance band La Sonora Matancera.

1962 - Married to Salsero Pedro Knight on July 14th.

1966 - Cruz joined the orchestra of Tito Puente, with whom she has performed many hundreds of times.

1973 - She sang a role in Hommy-A Latin Opera, by Larry Harlow, in Carnegie Hall. As a performer she is known for her gaudy costumes as well as her musical skills, which include the art of improvisation.

1986 - The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations gave her the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (Mayor's Liberty Award).

1994 - Received the National Medal of Arts.

1995 - She appeared as an actress in the film "The Perez Family", "Fires Within", "Salsa"  and "The Mambo Kings".

         - She has recorded scores of albums. She released her seventy-fourth, Irrepetible (Unrepeateable). She has also worked Grammies and other musical awards, made successful international tours, and had been honored at special concerts, including sold-out performances at Madison Square Garden in New York on her birthdays.

2003 - Died from brain cancer on July 16th in Fort Lee, New Jersey.


Page last updated: 11:31am, 25th Mar '07