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Cruz, Celia

Born: 1924 AD
Died: 2003 AD
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.