Chapter

The Taste of <i>¡Azúcar!</i>

Raul A. Fernandez

in From Afro-Cuban Rhythms to Latin Jazz

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780520247079
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939448 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247079.003.0009
The Taste of ¡Azúcar!

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This chapter looks at the career of a female vocalist who, in an artistic world dominated by men, led the way in the internationalization of Cuban dance music—the late Celia Cruz—a central figure for understanding the popularity of Cuban music, the growth of salsa, and, indirectly, the development of Latin jazz. Her involvement in artistic decisions, selection of tunes for performance and recording, direct intervention in every detail of her recordings, and choice of musicians made her one of the founders of a music with worldwide impact. Cruz's musical labors directly contributed to the gradual spread and transformation of what has become a hybridized Cuban music. She laid the foundation that allowed generations of younger musicians to experiment and develop new avenues for this music of the Americas. This transculturation has given Latin Americans from a host of countries a sense of pride, solidarity, and collective pleasure, who recognize in the music of Cruz an aspect of their inheritance that is genuine, modern, and without match.

Keywords: female vocalist; transculturation; hybridized Cuban music; salsa; Latin jazz; Celia Cruz

Chapter.  6756 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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