Celia by Celia Cruz
My Life

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For the first time in her own words comes the personal story of a life filled with heartbreaking setback and triumph, from one of the most celebrated talents the world has ever known.

After Celia Cruz passed away on July 17, 2003, more than a half million people stood in line for hours in order to pay their respects, in both Miami and New York. Millions more paid tribute to her, holding impromptu memorials in living rooms and crowded street festivals throughout the world.

Filled with the sound of her unmistakable voice, as fans played the songs that she will forever be remembered for, the Queen of Salsa's passing was marked with the same celebratory fervor Celia Cruz emulated throughout her life and career; a career that spanned the entire latter half of the twentieth century.

Yet Celia Cruz's life had been largely mired in rumor and speculation. When she was alive, Celia Cruz never granted anyone total access to her life story and photo archive. Finally, comes a book that chronicles her own story, in her own words.

From her modest childhood in Cuba to her exile years in Mexico to her remarkable career and life in America, Celia was a woman of contrasts. Her flamboyant costumes contrasted with her simple and straightforward demeanor. She was open and accessible to her fans, but staunchly private about her personal life. She was uninhibited without decadence, honest without offense, confident but not arrogant, and generous without fault. Yet above all, Celia was authentic, and it was this authenticity that resonated so deeply with her public.

Based on more than five hundred hours of taped interviews recorded just months before her death, Celia includes never-before-published personal photos and anecdotes, letting fans glimpse a life that, while lived in the full view of the public, had remained largely private.

Celia celebrates the soul of a life blessed with talent -- strengthened by an unquestioned work ethic as well as an unwavering faith in God and humanity -- in these, her final words to the public she adored, and who equally loved her back.


About Celia Cruz

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Ana Cristina Reymundo has been the Editorial Director of Nexos magazine since 1998. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Hispanic Media’s 100’s list of Top 100 US Hispanic journalists. She lives in Hurst, Texas.
Published June 26, 1905 by Rayo -- Harper-Collins. 260 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A young girl smitten with Celia’s music narrates in free verse: “You sing to us, for us, in Spanish— / The language of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Ecuador .

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The New York Times

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CELIA CRUZ, the Cuban— -born singer widely known as the Queen of Salsa, usually performs at Madison Square Garden these days.

Nov 03 1983 | Read Full Review of Celia: My Life

The Guardian

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Nobody does musical geniality better than the South Americans Their bonhomie was embodied by the venerable old conductor, Cruz's husband, who waved his hands about a bit before spending the entire gig standing beaming at the audience as if all his life's dreams had come to fruition there and then...

Jul 31 2001 | Read Full Review of Celia: My Life

Publishers Weekly

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In high school, Cruz began singing at local clubs, concentrating on music that ""blended traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms with the flavor and folklore of the tropics."" Newcomer Maren paints a sinuous full-bleed portrait of Cruz's first big break in 1950, when she was hired as lead singer for a pop...

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Publishers Weekly

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Another explanation—that Cruz's success derived from her inimitable vocal style, passion for Cuba and its music, and her desire to keep expanding her oeuvre by recording with new artists and embracing all types of Cuban music (rumba, cha-cha, mambo, etc.)—is less a focal point of this book, but e...

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Entertainment Weekly

With towering hair, high heels, long, painted nails, and a commanding contralto, Cuban singer Celia Cruz was larger than life.

Jul 09 2004 | Read Full Review of Celia: My Life


Before she died of cancer at 79 in 2003, Cruz logged 500 hours of interviews with cowriter Ana Cristina Reymundo for a biography that gives intriguing peeks into her life.

Aug 02 2004 | Read Full Review of Celia: My Life


Salsa queen Celia Cruz was as exuberant in her dress as she was in her richly emotive music.

Dec 20 2004 | Read Full Review of Celia: My Life

Time Out New York

This tender tribute to salsa singer Celia Cruz stitches together live concert footage and candid interviews with Cruz, her friends, her family and fans from around the globe (she's pretty big in Japan—who knew?).

May 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Celia: My Life

Project MUSE

When Cuban-born Celia Cruz arrived in New York City in 1962, she faced audiences that dismissed her as irrelevant to their current musical and cultural preferences.

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