The Queen of Salsa

From September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month. This is the perfect time to take time to appreciate Hispanic culture and fellow Hispanic and Latino peers. We should appreciate Hispanic and Latino figures such as Celia Cruz “The Queen of Salsa”.

Celia Cruz was born on October 21st 1925 and in Havana, Cuba. Her legal name was Ursula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso. She started her career by performing on radio stations. Her first album was released in Venezuela was “Celia Cruz Canta” in 1956. She then worked with the band “La Sonora Matancera” for 15 years. With working with the band, she met the love of her life Pedro Knight.

In 1960 Cruz was exiled from Cuba and s the band “La Sonora Matancera”. In 1965 she became a solo artist. Working along the side with Johnny Pacheco and his company of “La Fania” in 1975. While working with Johnny Pacheco she released the album” Celia & Johnny” and a couple of other albums.

The many other people Celia Cruz worked with are Willie Colon, Tito Puente, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, and etc. Some of her biggest hits were “Quimbara” “La Vida es un Carnaval” “Rie y Llora” and many more. She had 23 Golden Albums, three Grammy awards, four Latin Grammy’s and the National Medal of Arts.

Cruz later was diagnosed with brain cancer. On July 16th 2003 Celia Cruz passed away in her home in New Jersey. Her legacy lives on and she was honored at the Grammy’s in 2016 for the posthumous Lifetime Achievement award. Celia Cruz influenced the whole category of salsa music with her eccentric outfits, her iconic phrase of “Azucar!!!”, her voice, her representation of the Afro-Latino community, and just her general impact on the Latino community. She will always and forever be the “Queen of Salsa.”