Biography

Celia Cruz

Her voice, talent, and charisma have conspired to produce one of the most impressive track records in the music industry. Celia Cruz has received so many distinctions that if we had to list them, they would fill a large volume. It goes without saying that her more than 70 albums have garnered a healthy amount of gold and platinum records, plus more than a hundred awards from prestigious institutions worldwide. She has received Three GRAMMY Awards and Four LATIN GRAMMY Awards.

Celia Cruz has received three honorary degrees from the following US universities: Yale, Florida International University, and the University of Miami. She’s also appeared in about 10 movies, with The Mambo Kings and The Perez Family among the most recent.

Her first talent award was received in 1947, in her native Havana. Shortly after, she enrolled in the National Music Conservatory, where she studied musical theory, voice, and piano. Soon her music was in demand from the worlds of radio, movies, and television.

In the early 50’s se joined the legendary group La Sonora Matancera, and together they wrote some of the most memorable chapters in Afrocuban music. This alliance grew beyond the borders of her native island, and her talent was soon exported throughout the world.

On July 15th, 1960, she left her homeland for the United States, where she continued to make history. That decade, she recorded several albums with maestro Tito Puente and together they sparked an interest in salsa among Anglo and European audiences. This phenomenon was known as “the Salsa of the 70’s”. Her collaborations with other maestros, such as Johnny Pacheco, Willy Colón, and la Fania All Stars, are also memorable.

It is not exactly clear when they started calling her “The Queen of Salsa”, but she has carried the title with class and distinction. Celia has recorded with some of the biggest names in music: Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, David Byrne, Gloria Estefan, Wyclef Jean. Because her talent transcends generations and tastes, she has also performed with rock groups such as the Fabulous Cadillacs and Jarabe de Palo.

She has been honored with stars and street sections in some of the world’s most visited avenues. In 1987, Hollywood bestowed on her a star in the Walk of Fame. Years later, Miami’s Calle Ocho was named “Celia Cruz Way”, and in 1991, that city also presented her with a star; an honor that she as also received in other celebrity sidewalks, such as the one in San José, Costa Rica, and the Plaza Galería, in Mexico City.

Although she’s received many distinctions, the 90’s have marked a very special period in her career. In this decade, the Smithsonian Institution gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Republic of Colombia awarded her the Presidential Medal in Arts, she received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Hispanic Heritage Awards, and the City of San Francisco declared October 25th, 1997 as “Celia Cruz’s Day”, to name a few.

But undoubtedly, one of the most memorable moments in her life was in 1994, when in the White House she received from the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, the highest honor this country bestows an artist: the National Endowment for the Arts.

Although she had received several distinctions in this newly started millennium, the happiest “Guarachera” in the world has already been rewarded with some of the music world’s top honors. In 2000, the prestigious magazine Billboard (considered “the Bible” of the industry) paid her a special tribute for her 50 year career.  That year, she also won the first Latin Grammy for the best tropical music record.

The year 2001 has continued the awards tradition, and she’s not only been nominated for another Latin Grammy, but she entered the Walk of Fame at the Jackie Gleason Theater of The Performing Arts in Miami Beach. Her fame and friendliness are a magnet that attracted fans of many different languages, something that was more than confirmed when she sang “Guantanamera” along with Luciano Pavarotti in the traditional benefit that the illustrious tenor holds every year in Italy. Just a few days before, Celia had sung in the memorable concert: “VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin”.

In spite of all her talent and the awards she has received, Celia Cruz is incredibly down to earth and her happiness is contagious. These are the traits she’s used to write one of the most important chapters in the history of Afrocuban and world music. It’s enough to mention Celia’s name to have people’s spirits fill with joy and their hearts with music. That’s because she is the highest representative of this musical genre, and the most notable ambassador of Hispanic culture in the world.

Celia Cruz – Awards and Honors

BILLBOARD AWARD Miami, Florida 2005

PREMIO LO NUESTRO AWARD “ Best Female Artist of the Year” 2005

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD BOOK “Longest Working Career as Salsa Artist” 2005

DEDICATION CELIA CRUZ SQUARE – Hollywood – CA 2005

LATIN GRAMMY AWARD “  Best Salsa Album – Regalo Del Alma “ 2004

OYE AWARD “ Best Tropical Album” 2004

STREET DEDICATION “Calle Celia Cruz – Tenerife Spain 2004

STREET DEDICATION “Celia Cruz Way – Union City, New Jersey” 2004

GRAMMY AWARD “ Best Salsa/Merengue Album – Regalo Del Alma” 2003

GRAMMY AWARD “ Best Salsa Album  – La Negra Tiene Tumbao “ 2003

PREMIO LA NUESTRO AWARD “ Album of The Year – La Negra Tiene Tumbao “ 2003

PREMIO LO NUESTRO AWARD “ Best Song of the Year – La Vida Es Un Carnaval” 2003

VOICES FOR CHILDREN FOUNDATION “ Humanitarian Award “ 2003

LATIN GRAMMY AWARD “ Best Salsa Album – La Negra Tiene Tumbao “ 2002

LATIN GRAMMY AWARD  “ Best Tropical Tradicional Album –Siempre Vivire “ 2001

LATIN GRAMMY AWARD    “ Best Salsa Performance – Celia Cruz and Friends “   2000

AWARD “ Gaviota de Plata “ Vina del Mar Festival “ Chile – 2000

AWARD “ Artist of the Millenium “ TELEMUNDO NETWORK  Miami, Florida – 1999

THE RECORDING ACADEMY HEROES AWARD “ Lifetime Achievement Award “ New York City – 1999

DOCTORATE HONORIS CAUSA IN MUSIC University of Miami  Coral Gables, Florida – 1999

GRAMMY AWARD NOMINATION “ Best Tropical Album – Mi Vida Es Cantar “ Los Angeles, CA – 1999

ASCAP AWARD “ Lifetime Achievement Award “ New York City –1999

MEDAL “ Cruz Sebastian de Belalcazar” Cali, Colombia – 1999

HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS “ Hispanic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award “ Washington, D. C. – 1998

ACAPULCO FESTIVAL MEDAL 1998 Acapulco, Mexico – 1998

ACE AWARD “Best Tropical Performance “ New York – 1998

GRAMMY NOMINATION “ Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group “ GUANTANAMERA with Wyclef Jean and Jeni Fujita New York – 1998

PROCLAMATION  city of  SAN FRANCISCO “ Celia Cruz Day In San Francisco October 25th San Francisco, California

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION “ Lifetime Achievement Award “ Washington D.C – 1997

ACE AWARD  “ Best Tropical Music Concert “ New York – 1997

STAR DEDICATION – Costa Rica’s Walk of Fame San Jose, Costa Rica -1997

STAR DEDICATION – MEXICOS’S GALERIA WALK OF FAME Mexico City, Mexico – 1997

SPECIAL RECOGNITION from the State of New York for her concert “ The Lady and Her Music “New York – 1996

ANDALUCIA AWARD ” Universal Artist ” Coral Gables, Florida – 1996

ACE AWARD ” Extraordinary Artist of the Year ” New York City – 1996

STAR DEDICATION – VENEZUELA ” Walk of Fame ” Amador Bendayan “   Caracas, Venezuela – 1995

CASANDRA AWARD Dominican Republic – 1995

DESI AWARDS ” Lifetime Achievement Award ” Hollywood, California – 1995

ACE AWARD ” Best Musical Video ” New York City – 1995

ANGEL  AWARD ” Ole La Vida ” Hollywood, California – 1995

ACCA AWARD ” Pan Art ”  Miami, Florida – 1983 – 1995

Recipient of the President’s Award for the National Endowment For The Arts White House, Washington D.C – 1994

PREMIO LO NUESTRO AWARD  ( nominations ) Miami, Florida ( 1992 – 1993 – 1994 – 1995 )

BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARD – ” Hall Of Fame Award ” Miami, Florida – 1994

UNIVERSITY OF PANAMA ” Life Time Achievement Award ” Panama – 1994

LA MUSA DE ORO AWARD “ Life Time Achievement Award “ Caracas, Venezuela – 1994

MOVIELAND STAR HALL OF FAME Buena Park, California – 1993

APLAUSO 92 AWARD  ” Best Latin Female Vocalist ” Miami, Florida –  1989 – 1991  – 1992

ENCUENTRO AWARD ” Lifetime Achievement Award ” Washington D.C – 1992

HONORARY DOCTORATE HONORIS CAUSA Florida International University – 1992

DESI AWARDS ” Favorite Film Actress ” Hollywood, California – 1992

SCULPTURE IN HOLLYWOOD WAX MUSEUM Hollywood, California – 1992

HISPANIC WOMAN ACHIEVERS AWARD  New York City – 1992

STAR DEDICATION  “ Calle Ocho Walk Of Fame Star “ Miami, Florida – 1991

GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD ” Lifetime Achievement Award in Music ” Hollywood,California – 1991

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN “ Garden Greats Wall “ New York City – 1991

PREMIO LO NUESTRO AWARD  Billboard  Miami, Florida – 1990 -1991

MIAMI’S CALLE OCHO NAMED “ CELIA CRUZ WAY “ Miami, Florida – 1990

GRAMMY AWARD – ” Best Tropical Latin Album ” Los Angeles, California – 1989

HONORARY DOCTORAL DEGREE OF MUSIC-  YALE UNIVERSITY   – 1989

OTTO AWARD ” Lifetime Achievement Award ” Miami, Florida – 1989

STAR DEDICATION  “ HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME ” Hollywood, California – 1987

ACE AWARDS ” Life Time Achievement Award ” New York City – 1987

LIBERTY MEDAL AWARD  New York City – 1986

GRAMMY  AWARD  NOMINATIONS 1979 – 1983- 1985 – 1986 – 1987 – 1988 – 1992 – 1993

DAILY NEWS ” Front Page Award ” – ( Best Latin Female Artist ) New York City  1975 Trough 1982 and1985

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD BOOK ” Carnaval Tenerife ” Islas Canarias, Spain – 1987

BRAVO AWARD ” Best Tropical Female Vocalist ” Los Angeles, CA – 1986

MONARCH MERIT AWARD New York, New York – 1986

TU MUSICA AWARD ” Best Female Vocalist ” 1984

TRIBUTE AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN ( Sold-out Concert ) New York City – 1982

ACE AWARD ” Best Female Vocalist ” New York City –  1978 – 1980

LATIN NEW YORK MUSIC AWARD New York – 1975 – 1976 – 1978

BILLBOARD AWARD ” Best Tropical Album ” New York – 1977

RITA MONTANER MEDAL Miami, Florida

EL HERALDO AWARD ” Best Tropical Vocalist ” Mexico City – 1967 – 1968 – 1970

In remembrance of CELIA CRUZ Awards & Commemorations

2003

Premio Lo Nuestro a La Musica Latina

Album of the Year 2003

La Negra Tiene Tumbao

UNIVISION

Miami, Florida

May-2003

Premio Lo Nuestro  A La Musica Latina

Cancion Del Ano 2003

Tropical

“La Vida Es Un Carnaval”

UNIVISION

Miami, Florida

May-2003

The Mayor of the City of New York

Michael R. Bloomberg

Announced the opening of

Celia Cruz  Bronx High School of Music

In Memory of The Queen of Salsa

Bronx , New York

August – 2003

Buenanueva Foundation

“Celia Cruz Humanitarian Award”

Beverly Hills, California

November -2003

Voices for Children Foundation

“A Festival of Voices”

Voices for Children Humanitarian Award Posthumous

Miami, Florida

December 13,2003

2004

U.S Department of Homeland Security

Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Tribute to Celia Cruz

New York City – 2004

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival

In memoriam of Celia Cruz

Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Spain

February – 2004

Celia Cruz Way (Calle Celia Cruz)

Santa Cruz de Tenerife- Islas Canarias

SPAIN

February 18, 2006

Celia Cruz Park Inaugurations

Union City, New Jersey

March -2004

Celia Cruz star at Celia Cruz Park

Union City, New Jersey

March – 2004

Celia Cruz Way

45TH Street in Union City, New Jersey

March-2004

Elena Mederos Award

National Association of Cuban American Women

In memorian to Celia Cruz

North Bergen, New Jersey

March 28, 2004

School Board of Miami-Dade County name

South Miami Senior High School

The Celia Cruz Center for the Arts

Miami, Florida

May 20th, 2004

CUBA NOSTALGIA

Celia Cruz Foundation Exhibit

Coconut Grove Convention Center

Coconut Grove- Florida

May 23, 2004

Celia Cruz “Toda la Vida Carnaval “

Book published by Jairo Enrique Patino

100 Personajes – Autores

Panamericana Editorial ( bogota, Colombia )

September , 2004

GRAMMY AWARD

(Regalo Del Alma)

Best Salsa Album

(NARAS) Academy of Recording Arts & Science, Inc

PREMIOS OYE ( Award )

La Musa del Premio OYE

“ Regalo Del Alma “ Album

Mexico City , Mexico

November 13, 2004

2005

Honorable Mayor James K. Hahn

City of Los Angeles

Dedicated  “Celia Cruz Square”

The Corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Street

In Hollywood, California

February 18,2005

BILLBOARD AWARDS

Three Nominations

Miami Beach, Florida

March-2005

National Coalition For Cancer Survivorship

Ribbon of Hope Awards Gala

Tribute to Celia Cruz

Washington DC

April 19, 2005

Guinness World Records Book 2005

“Longest Working Career as Salsa Artist”

April-2005

National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian Museum

“The Life and Music of Celia Cruz an Exhibit”

Washington DC

May-2005

Premio Lo Nuestro A La Musica Latina

Artista Femenina Del Ano

UNIVISION

Miami, Florida

May-2005

Nuevo Espasa Dictionary

World Spanish Dictionary

Celia Cruz Biography

June-2005

Canto a La Amistad Concert

Latin Quarter Centro Cultural

Tribute to Libertad Lamarque y Celia Cruz

DADE County Auditorium

Miami, Florida

July 9, 2005

Release of Salsa Talks

Coffee table book

Celia Cruz Cover

August-2005

University of Miami Libraries

Cuban heritage Collection

Presenting Celia Cruz

By: Alexis Rodriguez Duarte

Coral Gables- Florida

September 8, 2005

Release of Azucar – Kids Book by Ivar Da Coll

Published by Lectorum Publications (Scholastic)

New York, New York

2006

Azucar “The Life and Music of Celia Cruz”

California African American Museum

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition celebrates life and legacy of the Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

August 17,2006 – November 5, 2006

2007

Azucar “The Life and Music of Celia Cruz”

BASS MUSEUM OF ART

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition celebrates life and Legacy of Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz

Miami Beach, Florida

May 17, 2007 – August 19, 2007

American Sabor

“Latinos in U.S Popular Music “

Experience Music Project / Science Fiction Museum

A Celia Cruz Stage Dress is display at this Exhibition

October 13, 2007 – September 7, 2008

Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz

The Musical

Premier in New York “New World Stages Theater

September 12, 2007

Smithsonian Steps out Book

American Treasures – From heels to High-Tops

Book published by Harper Collins Publishers

2007

Smithsonian Star Power book

America’s Treasures-From Rock Stars to Movie Stars

Book published by Harper Collins Publishers

2007

2008

Azucar The Life and Music of Celia Cruz

Museo Alameda

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition celebrates life and Legacy of Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

September 26, 2007 – April 27, 2008

Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz

The Musical

Premier in Miami “Adrienne Arsht Center

June 18th , 2008

2009

Walk-A-Thon Honoring Celia Cruz

To benefit “Liga Contra El Cancer”

Tropical Park- Miami

March 7th, 2009

Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz

The Musical

James L. Knight Concert Hall  “Adrienne Arsht Center”

June 2 to June 21 , 2009

Release “ Celia Cruz , La Reina y sus Amigos “ Album

Sony Music Tribute Album

September 17, 2009

2010

Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz

The Musical

The Athenaeum Theater, Chicago

March 18 to March 21, 2010

Smithsonian – National Museum of American History

“ How The Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment “ an Exhibit

Celia Cruz’s Dress on Exhibit

Washington,  DC

April 23 to August 29, 2010

Celia Cruz Discography

1950s – 2003

Canta Celia Cruz (Celia Cruz Sings) (Seeco)

Cuba’s Foremost Rhythm Singer (Seeco)

Grandes Éxitos de Celia Cruz (Seeco)

Cuba’s Queen of Rhythm (Seeco), Released 1956

Canciones Premiades (Seeco), Released 1957

Celia Cruz con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco)

El Nuevo Estilo De Celia Cruz (Seeco)

La Tierna, Conmovedora, Bamboleadora (Seeco)

Las Guarachas De La Guarachera – Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco)

¡La Dinámica! Celia Cruz Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco), Released 1960

Mexico Qué Grandes Eres: Celia Cruz Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco)

Reflexiones De Celia Cruz (Seeco)

Sabor Y Ritmo De Pueblos: Celia Cruz Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco) Released 1965

Homenaje a Los Santos: Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco) Released 1965

Homenaje a Los Santos Vol. 2: Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco)

Homenaje a Yemayá Vol. 3: Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco)

Con Amor: Con La Sonora Matancera (Seeco)

Cuba Y Puerto Rico Son…(with Tito Puente) (Tico), Released 1966

Son Con Guaguancó (Tico), Released 1966

Bravo (Tico), Released 1967

A Ti Mexico: Con La Sonora De Memo Salamanca (Tico), Released 1967

¡La Exitante! (Tico), Released 1968

Serenata Guajira (Tico), Released 1968

Celia Cruz with Tito Puente – Quimbo Quimbumbia (Tico), Released 1969

Etc., Etc., Etc. (Tico), Released 1970

Celia Cruz and Tito Puente — En España (Tico), Released 1971

Alma con Alma/ The Heart and Soul of Celia Cruz (Tico), Released 1971

Nuevas Exitos De Celia Cruz (Tico), Released 1971

Celia Cruz & Tito Puente: Algo Especial Para Recordar (Tico), Released 1972

Celia & Johnny (with Johnny Pacheco) (Vaya), Released 1974

Hommy, A Latin Opera (Fania), Released 1973

Tremendo Caché (with Johnny Pacheco) (Vaya), Released 1975

Recordando El Ayer (with Johnny, Justo, and Papo) (Vaya), Released 1976

Only They Could Have Made This Album (with Willie Colón) (Vaya), Released 1977

Eternos (with Johnny Pacheco) (Vaya), Released 1978

Homenaje a Beny Moré, Volume 1 (with Tito Puente) (Tico), Released 1978

Homenaje a Beny Moré, Volume 2 (with Tito Puente) (Tico), Released 1979

La Ceiba (with Sonora Ponceña) (Vaya), Released 1979

Celia, Johnny & Pete (Vaya), Released 1980

Celia Y Willie (with Willie Colón) (Vaya), Released 1981

Feliz Encuentro (with la Sonora Matancera) (Barbaro), Released 1982

Celia, Ray Barretto, y Adalberto Santiago: Tremendo Trío (Fania), Released 1983

Homenaje a Beny Moré, Volume 3 (with Tito Puente) (Tico), Released 1985

Celia Cruz, (with Johnny Pacheco) – De Nuevo (Vaya) Released 1986

The Winners (with Willie Colón) (Vaya), Released 1987

Ritmo En El Corazon: Ray Barretto & Celia Cruz (Fania), Released 1988

Tributo A Ismael Rivera (Vaya), Released 1992

Azucar Negra (RMM/Sony), Released 1993

Irrepetible / Unrepeatable (Universal/RMM), Released 1994

Celia Cruz En Vivo Radio Progreso, Vol. 1; (Barbaro) Released 1995

Celia Cruz En Vivo Radio Progreso, Vol. 2 (Barbaro), Released 1995

Celia Cruz En Vivo Radio Progreso, Vol. 3; (Barbaro) Released 1995

Celia Cruz En Vivo Radio Progreso, Vol.4 (Barbaro), Released 1995

Celia Cruz En Vivo Radio Progreso, Vol.5 (Barbaro), Released 1995

Celia’s Duets (RMM), Released 1997

Mi Vida Es Cantar (RMM), Released 1998

Las Muchas Celias (Cubanacan), Released 1998

La Guarachera de Cuba: Celia Cruz con La Sonora Matancera en Los Estudios CMQ, 1950-1953 (Tumbao), Released 1998

Celia Cruz & Friends: A Night Of Salsa (RMM), Released 2000

Siempre Viviré (Sony Discos), Released 2000

La Negra Tiene Tumbao (Sony), Released 2002

Regalo Del Alma (Sony Discos), Released 2003

Su Musica Por El Mundo En Vivo ( Eventus Entertainment ) Released 2008

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