Lenia Diaz of Celia Cruz All Stars (Courtesy Amigos Together For Kids Foundation)
5:30 am on 07/31/2012
This month marks the ninth-year anniversary of the passing of multi-Grammy winning salsa legend, Celia Cruz. Some might not know she had multiple platinum and gold records, more than 100 worldwide recognitions, as well as a doctorate in music from Yale. And, for many, the late Cruz is more than just a performer, she is their inimitable queen.
Three years ago, her ex-manager, Omer Pardillo, who had worked alongside Cruz for 12 years, decided to keep her musical legacy alive by putting together an impassioned group to continue playing her music live. This group of talented Cuban-born musicians, residing in Miami, are aptly named the Celia Cruz All Stars.
“Celia always wanted for her music and legacy to stay alive for future generations,” says Pardillo, who is also the keeper of her estate and founder of the Celia Cruz Foundation, which offers financial aid to Latino students who wish to study music. He says approximately 5 percent of the proceeds from Celia Cruz All Stars goes to the Foundation.
The 11 members of Celia Cruz All Stars have a lot in common. Besides all of them calling Cuba their home country, as well as living and breathing salsa music, it is the first time these A-list musicians will be performing at the Festival Cubano – the largest annual Cuban festival in the U.S.