What You Didn’t Know about Celia Cruz

celia 3

Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, or for short Celia Cruz, was one of the most accomplished singers of the 20th century. Hailing from humble beginnings in the poor neighborhood of Santos Suarez in Havana, Cuba, her mother knew immediately that she was destined to be a singer.

It was on the radio in diverse Santos Suarez where Cruz would grow up listening to all types of music. Rumba, mambo, guaracha, bolero, cha-cha, salsa and son cubano was apart of her musical education. As a youth Cruz and her sister were taken to cabarets to sing by their aunt. At radio stations, Cruz sang tango “Nostalgias” (unrequited love songs) to win cakes during the “Hora del Te” broadcast, often coming first place.

Her piercing and powerful voice carried a great warmth. At a music conservatory, her own professor took notice of it and told her to drop out and let her talent shine as she was already gaining momentum on the radio for her recorded and live performances in the late 1940s.

Her vocal style was distinctive because it incorporated pregon, the wails of street vendors (usually fishmongers and peanut vendors). As an Afro-Cubana, her early music was influenced by santeria (Cuban blend of Christian and traditional African religious music) songs which used the religious African dialect of Lucumi.

After leaving school she was the singer for a dance group, Las Mulatas del Fuego. In 1950 she was the lead singer of Sonora Matancera, one of the most prominent Cuban orchestras. But that didn’t come easy, because when she joined Sonora, she was replacing a previous singer and she had to gain the public’s support. By her bandmates sticking up for her, Cruz eventually became well love not only in Cuba, but throughout all of Latin America. Slowly, she was becoming the leading female voice of modern salsa at a time when the music was dominated by men.

Soon, Cruz’s life will change forever, for better and for worst in the early 1960s. While travelling with Matancera in Mexico, Fidel Castro came to power turning Cuba into a communist country. With all but one bandmember refusing to go back under such a regime, Castro issued them a lifetime ban. Over a year later she would take up residency in New Jersey and marry Matancera trumpet player Pedro Knight.

In the mid 1960s, she followed the New York music scene which had musicians from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Outside of salsa, she also sang guaracha and all the other types of Latin music she grew up listening to. This was a time of experimentation when many artists would blend and mix many different musical styles and perform with musicians from different styles of music.

By the 1970s, Cruz made music with Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, and the Fania AllStars. She had a catch phrase, Azucar, which she used to energize her audience and band. Also, she became a fashion icon because of her bold, daring, and wild costumes and wigs.

In the 1980s and 1990s, she performed and was featured on songs with Wyclef Jean, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, and David Byrne. By the early 2000s, The Celia Cruz Foundation was created in order to help impoverished students that wanted to study music.

Celia Cruz made music until her death from brain cancer in 2003. Within the 55 years that she made music, she released 75 albums, 23 of which went gold. Throughout her career, Cruz was honored as the Queen of Salsa, La Guarachera de Cuba, and the Queen of Latin Music.

Fun Facts

  • She was awarded an American National Medal of the Arts
  • For the 2015-2016 TV lineup, Telemundo will have a musical drama about The Queen of Salsa
  • While with La Sonora Matancera, Cruz and the group appeared in five motion pictures
  • She sang the spot for WQBA in Miami
  • There is an exhibit in Washinton D.C. dedicated to her


Subscribe to our weekly e-Newsletter for the latest news, trends & events: click here, its quick & easy.



J. Lo and Marc Anthony back at it again

Photo by San Diego Info News

Photo by San Diego Info News

The divorced parents of the adorable twins Max and Emme, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, couldn’t quite get enough of each other and have made the decision to move forward and put aside their differences to make sweet, sweet music together of course.

The multitalented Lopez has plans on making a new Spanish album, and who better to executive produce it than Anthony, the King of tropical salsa who has five Latin Grammys to his name.

This will be her second Spanish album and her ninth overall. Her last album, A.K.A. was in 2014.

Currently, she is filming the second season of the drama Shades of Blue, which she stars and executive produce. Shades second season will most likely debut in early 2017.

Marc Anthony will be on his Vivir Mi Vida world tour from Nov. 7-Dec. 4 for his 13th album 3.0, which came out in 2013.






The comeback of New York Giants wide receiver has been confirmed as done for this season. Victor Cruz announced Monday that he will returning to the operating table. This time it’s for surgery on his calf, which he tore Saturday running routes in practice.

“There are certain things that happen to your body that you just can’t explain,”

Victor explained.

Its been mostly frustration for this young man who won the hearts of Giants fans with his touchdowns and celebratory Salsa dances. He was part of Big Blue’s fourth Super Bowl championship in 2011. He suffered a major injury in 2014 after signing a five year, $43 million dollar contract.

In Week 6 of 2014, he tore his patellar tendon. After tearing a calf muscle in August he was eyeing a return in Week 12 this year but it was determined that the best option at this time is surgery. Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin empathized with his former star.

“Very disappointing, and I feel very badly for Victor in terms of this one issue, obviously the most difficult to get over the hump with.”

Victor Cruz has not lost faith in a return. He expressed the hope that his fans share that sentiment. Cruz knows the work that it will take to get in a position to play on the field once more.

“I know that I have to retool my brain and my body to get to 100% and come back on the other end firing.”

Dominicans vs. Puerto Ricans — Who will win?

Bachata or Salsa? Mofongo or Sancocho? It’s time to pick a side and squad up! Flama presents the ultimate battle between Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.

Victor Manuelle revives Salsa


With the creative collaboration of cinematographer Miguel Ferrer, Victor Manuelle’s video interpretation of “Que suenen los tambore”, became a cultural cascade. Filmed in the beautiful city of Hidalgo, this dynamic duo was able to capture the essence of history with harmony with it came to matters of the heart of Mexico.

“A message of unity, healing and mutual support.”

These lyrics made a strong impact in the hearts of the children and young adults in the city of Hidalgo. Imprinting a strong message of unity not only between cultures but between genders. It’s also defined a clear notion of respect.

To be able to be the voice of the youths of today, and not only protect our culture but emphasize the importance of each and everybody no matter what race or gender is something that Victor holds very dear to his part and has made a priority to accomplish during the up n’ coming year.

Victor Manuelle is looking forward to his tour set to start early next year. With great prestige leaving behind the same heartfelt message in the US, moving onto Latin America and then ending his tour in Puerto Rico.

“On behalf of us, we are bringing joy through our music.”

Glad Marc Anthony Does Not Suffer From Gamophobia

Gamophobia (pronounced ‘ga-me-PHO-bia’) is the fear of getting married, being in a relationship, or commitment. We can gladly say that Marc Anthony is not suffering from that.

Marc Anthony‘s first wife was former Miss Universe, Dayanara Torres. The two wed in 2000 and had two boys, Cristian Anthony Muñiz (5 February 2001) and Ryan Anthony Muñiz (16 August 2003). Their rocky relationship was very public and their divorce was finalized on June 1, 2004.


Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony had undeniable chemistry on and off stage. They wed on June 2004 and later had adorable twins Emme Maribel Muñiz and Maximillian David Muñiz. Surprisingly they announced their separation in July 2011 and Anthony filed for divorce on April 9, 2012. Their divorce was finalized on June 18, 2014.


It’s been reported that Shannon De Lima started dating Anthony in early 2012, roughly five months after he and J.Lo called it quits. As soon as the divorce of wife #2 was finalized he married De Lima on November 11, 2014 in the Dominican Republic.

Marc Anthony, Shannon De Lima

We hope the third time is a charm and wish him a long lasting marriage with his gorgeous new wife.

Amor Cronico – A Love Letter to Cuba by Cucu Diamantes




By: Deyanira Martinez

Cucu Diamantes, the famous interpreter of urban musical fusions and Grammy-nominated artist for her album “Cuculand” in 2009, announces the November 4th launch of her film, “Amor Crónico” on iTunes, Amorcronico.com, DVD and On Demand. “Amor Crónico,” rather than a movie is a musical documentary, which follows the singer to her native Cuba, while showing a side of this beautiful island rarely seen by foreigners.

Cucu visits the most important Cuban cities in buses, trucks and bicycles loading at all times a gigantic shoe that serves as a prop at the various shows across the island. Tall, slim, exuberant and with an imposing personality, this unique artist who has achieved success merging rhythms as rock, salsa and afro Latin music was once was called Ileana Padrón.

One day she realized that she was bored with having a normal life and a traditional name so she left the island and changed her name. “I love diamonds and I’m a bit Cuckoo,” explains the singer. Cucu possesses a tremendous blend of races—Chinese, Spanish and Afro-Cuban— and this blend of cultures has been the key to the development of her talent. “I grew up in a humble Afro-Cuban neighborhood and listened to the playing of drums from my window every morning.” She says that the exposure to jazz and rock as an art student strengthened her passion for urban fusions.

With a Cuban accent and a strong and confident voice, Cucu speaks of the satisfaction of filming “Amor Crónico.”

This film represents many feelings of my generation in and out of Cuba as well as a unique homage to the music and classic films of the island.

Ms. Diamantes left Cuba at age 17 to study arts in Rome and later her love and passion for music brought her to New York City. “I don’t believe in frontiers defining our provenance. I feel at home and I’m a local in many cities at the same time—Havana, Rome and New York.” This explains the origins of Cucu Diamantes’ amazing performances in several languages.

This documentary/movie/comedy is the first tour by a Cuban American living in the U.S. in more than 50 years. Viewers see aspects of the island’s daily life, the countryside and the spontaneity and beauty of the Cuban people despite poverty, the U.S. embargo and the financial challenges the islanders face.

For many, Cucu is a combination of the talent and style of Celia Cruz, La Lupe and Amy Winehouse, but she reiterates that she has always had her own style and that the 8 years as lead singer in the famous group Yerba Buena is the influence that has marked her as a professional.

Cucu—rebel, philanthropist and advocate for social justice—still says that there is a long road ahead. She’s currently working on a new album, acting in several films to be released in 2015, and continues to be one of the few artists who travels and frequently performs in Cuba. This talented woman continues to offer the most amazing mixture of rhythms and a beautiful bit of Cuba in each presentation.


Willie Colón insulta y agrede reportero de Univisión, Eliecer Marte


Willie colon Eliecer Marte


Con Insultos y agresión fue como reaccionó Willie Colón durante una entrevista con el periodista Eliecer Marte del programa Sal y Pimienta de la cadena Univisión.

En un encuentro en la ciudad de Nueva York, el comunicador le pregunta sobre su hijo Patrick Colon quien fue arrestado en el 2011 por pornografía infantil y le cuestiona si es cierto que se distanció de el luego del arresto.

Colón le responde que todos sus hijos son iguales y no se ha distanciado de ningunos. Luego le dice “ya te pasaste” se para de su asiento y al darle la mano al corresponsal de TV, le pega en la cara.

Eliecer Marte, trata de pedir aclaraciones, el salsero le responde “get that f*ck out of my face” “Salte de mi maldita cara.” El joven comunicador le persigue para que le entregara el micrófono y lo enfrentan diciéndole que su comportamiento es una falta de respeto para el y su trabajo como periodista.

Previo a este incidente, el boricua se expresa del cantante Marc Anthony diciendo que su compatriota no es salsero, que hace un karaoke del fallecido Hector Lavoe, y lo catalogó de oportunista.


Mira el video AQUI!

Polito Vega: The King of Radio

[Originally published in DTM Magazine Issue #61; September 2009].


By: Javier Castaño

He was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He’s a frustrated singer. He seldom takes his cap off. He speaks loud and most of his fans recognize him by his voice. In his basement office in midtown Manhattan, he likes to talk about music – any kind of music, from salsa to reggaeton.

Salsa is the genre that has giving me more satisfaction. I love Cha Cha Cha, Guajira and Changó, but the most beautiful of all is Son Montuno. Salsa is alive and it is going to be alive forever,” he said while talking over the cellular phone with friends and collegues.

You’ve probably figured out who we’re referring to. He’s the same person that hosts a radio program on weekends about salsa (Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8PM.) His name is Polito Vega and his charismatic smile has been the same all these years.

Polito Vega was born on August 3, 1938 and was raised in La Playa de Ponce before he came to New York in 1959. Radio is the only profession he has known. He’s been a commentator and was forced to work the night shift when he was learning to communicate to people via microphone from an isolated radio cabin. He also worked for Telemundo television for three years, hosting the show Club de la Juventud. Then he went back to radio.

His first show was Fiesta Time in 1960 on WEVD-AM radio station. “At that time I was afraid of speaking in front of a microphone, but I started gaining the approval of management and what is more important, getting accepted by the public,” said Polito Vega., while smiling and posing for some pictures. “I am tired of being interviewed and I don’t want to pose for any more photos.”

The reason why he’s being persuaded by the media is because Polito Vega is celebrating 50 years as the King of Radio in the Hispanic market of New York City. He has not worked in another city but he is well known on the East Coast of this country and Puerto Rico. At 73 years old, Polito Vega feels satisfied. “I have accomplished my more important goal by going through five decades of working in radio without interruptions. I had difficult times and always tried to do my best,” he added.

When asked about the lowest and highest points in his career, he thought for a few seconds, leaned back, breathed deeply and said: “At the beginning I thought I wouldn’t had problems. Until a new boss came in 1963 and canceled my show of romantic music called Carrusel Melodico. I felt really depressed and took me a few years to compose myself again. My highest point is when I’m being honored with a two-day concert at Madison Square Garden. I feel very good having all these musicians performing in my honor. I am the happiest man alive.”

The celebration is being organized by Spanish Broadcasting System, which owns WPAT-93.1 FM Amor and WSKQ-97.9 FM Mega in New York City, among other radio stations in the United States. Polito Vega is recognized by two phrases: “Cambio, cambio,” that he used in the past, and “Andando, andando,” that he currently uses to attract the attention of the people who listen to him every week. He plays salsa, but also boleros and even reggaeteon. “To survive, I have to learn and adapt to new trends in music taste,” he said. “And nobody is saying that it is easy.”


During the early 1960s the radio stations only played guitar music and some trios and boleros. Musicians like Machito, Felipe Rodriguez, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente were around, but no DJ played their music. It was Polito Vega who played the first salsa single, which was brought to him by Jerry Masucci, founder of Fania Records. The 45-rpm record was made by Johnny Pacheco and entitled ‘El Campeon.’ Then came Che Che Cole by Wille Colon and that was when salsa really started in the Big Apple. Polito Vega was there the whole time backing the music.

If you want success in life, you have to study and prepare for changes. Leave the ego behind and treat people with decency and respect. I try no to offend anyone because I don’t want to go to bed with problems in my head,” said Polito Vega, who wants to be remembered as a happy person.

Retired? Polito Vega is not planning to take it easy any time soon. He said that he’s having a good time and he’s still full of energy. “Maybe I will retire in five years from now, but I am not sure it will happen that soon.”

For the first concert at Madison Square Garden on Friday: Enrique Iglesias, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, Laura Pausini, Luis Fonsi, Christian Castro, Don Omar, Gloria Trevi, David Bisbal, Arthur Hanlon, Alexander Acha and Fanny Lu. For the concert on Saturday: Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuelle, El Torito, Millie Quesada, Olga Tañon, Oscar de León, Elvis Crespo, Grupo Mania, Toño Rosario, Los Hermanos Rosario, Luis Enrique, El Canario, India, Tito El Bambino, Henry Santos (Aventura), Alexis y Fido, Aymee, Domingo Quiñonez and Flex.



Por cuarto año consecutivo se celebrara por todo lo alto El Megaton Mundial de Polito Vega en la arena más famosa del mundo, El Madison Square Garden. El domingo 21 de Septiembre, se darán citas las más grandes estrellas de la música latina para honrar y celebrar la trayectoria del Rey de La Radio: Polito Vega.

Este Mega Concierto reunirá en un mismo escenario a Juan Luis Guerra, Juanes, Carlos Vives, Don Omar, Chayanne, Camila y muchos más. Las expectativas y respuesta del público han sido impresionantes y se rumora que este concierto está casi vendido en su totalidad con precios que oscilan desde $21.00 hasta $400.00 dólares.

En entrevista exclusiva para LatinTRENDS, Polito Vega manifestó la satisfacción que siente por este evento en su honor y el inmenso cariño que ha recibido de sus oyentes en estos 54 años de carrera. El Rey de la radio ha formado parte de la historia musical de las más grande figuras y ha contribuido a impulsar las carreras de las viejas y nuevas generaciones de artistas.

Polo throwback01

Este locutor estrella ha estado frente a los micrófonos desde 1960, con su popular estilo de animación, su carisma y sabor de pueblo. A través de su carrera, ha recibido innumerables reconocimientos de manos de la comunidad y de la entidades gubernamentales de la ciudad.

Al preguntarle a Polito si esta considero el retiro después de más de cinco décadas en las cabinas de radio, este confirmo que está analizando la posibilidad y que de tomar una decisión, esta podría ser anunciada durante la presentación de este gran concierto, mientras con una gran carcajada, nos confirma que “ya casi estoy colgando los guantes”.

A pesar de sus 76 años de edad, este gigante de la radio con una trayectoria inimitable ama lo que hace y el contacto con su público, admite que desde que murió su esposa y compañera de toda vida hace dos años no es el mismo y ha perdido un poco la alegría, pero al ver sus ojos brillar y el entusiasmo que poner al hablar de su trayectoria y relatar anécdotas de la época dorada de la salsa, me atrevería a asegurar que tenemos Polito Vega para un buen rato y como dice el mismo siempre, Polito sigue “andando, andando, andando”.