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    Celia Cruz

    She was born in Havana, Cuba in 1925. She was told by her grandmother that she could sing before she could talk. Her grandmother use to laugh and tell the family that she practiced her singing at night. (She was thought to have cried most of the night.) Cruz' work in radio during the 1940's in Cuba led to her fame and she traveled throughout Latin America with a female band. She won her first award singing on an amateur hour TV show. Cruz sang a version of a tango song that was very popular in Cuba.

    In the 1950's Celia Cruz joined the Sonora Mantancera as a lead female singer. Then she was able to go to the Tropicana, the best establishment for Cuban music. If you performed at the Tropicana, you had made it in the singing world of Cubans.

    She then went to Mexico for a one year contract right before Fidel Castro took over Cuba. She and her band never returned. Cruz moved to New York in 1961. By this time she was a well- known Cuban singer and independent from her band. She became known as the "Salsa Queen" due to her style of music. During the 1990's she gained greatpopularity among the younger generations, as her music reappeared. Cruz has been honored by five Presidents of the United States. She died of brain cancer in 2003, but her music and legend continue to thrive throughout the world.

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