Google Honors the Late Tito Puente with Special Google Doodle

Tito Puente’s legacy lives on… with a special doodle.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google is commemorating the late Puerto Rican musician, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer, known as the King of Latin Music, with a charming new Doodle video, created by New York-based Puerto Rican illustrator Carlos Aponte.

Tito Puente“Tito was part of my musical experience growing up in Puerto Rico. My aunt introduced me to Tito Puente via La Lupe, a famous singer in Puerto Rico and New York,” says the illustrator. “Tito was like a Svengali for talents like Celia Cruz. He was a household name. So Tito was part of my Puerto Rican soundtrack.”

Featuring the lively “Ran Kan Kan,” the animated clip takes viewers back to Puente’s childhood at 110th Street and Third Avenue in Spanish Harlem, where the budding artist bangs on pots and pans in his room bedecked with a Puerto Rican flag. It follows Puente’s various stints as a musician, showing him as a U.S. Navy ship’s bandleader (he served during World War II) up to him ruling over New York City nightlife as the undisputed King of the Timbales.

Tito Puente, Google DoodleThe Google Doodle also celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Tito Puente Monument, which was unveiled in his hometown of East Harlem, New York, on this day (Oct. 10), located on the northern end of Central Park.

In 2000, the same year the musical legend died, 110th Street was renamed Tito Puente Way.

Born Ernesto Antonio Puente Jr. on April 20, 1923, in Spanish Harlem to Puerto Rican parents, the young Nuyorican musician grew up surrounded by the rich Latin diversity the city is known for. He led his first orchestra in the late ‘40s, and by the 1950s, he became an unrivaled master of timbales and vibraphone. In 1969, he was bestowed the key to New York City.

In his lifetime, he released an immense discography that includes more than 100 full-length albums that showcased his propulsive dance rhythms and jubilant brass melodies. He penned timeless hits such as “Oye Como Va,” which was famously covered by Santana, “Mambo Gozón” (1958), “La Guarachera” (1966) with Celia Cruz, and many more. In the late ‘60s, Tito Puente joined New York’s maverick troupe Fania All-Stars, also starring Eddie Palmeri, Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz.

His journey began with “Ran Kan Kan,” his first recorded track, which is featured in the Google Doodle. In 1992, “Ran Kan Kan” entered the top 10 of Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart. In 2010, “Guantanamera” by Celia Cruz, featuring Puente, landed at No. 2 on the World Digital Song Sales chart. In 1995, Puente was given the Billboard Latin Music Lifetime Achievement Award.

Last year, Google Doodles honored Latin culture independence days, celebrating Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico. Another Doodle celebrated a Chilean holiday with a drawing of a huemul, represented on the country’s national shield.

Illustrator Aponte has also provided artwork for the Latin Recording AcademyThe New Yorker and The New York Times. He currently teaches drawing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With his Doodle, he hopes people will take away this message: “Love what you do, train, study, and be the best you can be. If you excel, everything else will fall into place. There are no shortcuts. Those who make it easily don’t last long. Tito was a perfect example; he was the best!”

Carla Morrison Among Artists Confirmed for Season 3 of HBO’s “HBO Latino Presents: A Tiny Audience”

Carla Morrison is preparing for her Tiny moment… 

A Tiny Audience is unveiling its season 3 lineup, with the 35-year-old Mexican indie-pop singer and composer among the participating artists.

Carla MorrisonPresented by HBO Latino, the series features intimate live specials with some of Latin music’s hottest acts, including Paulina Rubio in season 2, where the artist is filmed in a live and unfiltered way, revealing a personal secret to the small audience and performing songs that are meaningful to them.

In its new season, HBO Latino Presents: A Tiny Audience will present Morrison, Danna Paola, Jessie Reyez, Justin Quiles, La India, Mike Bahia, Ximena Sariñana, Jay Wheeler, Becky G, Zion y Lennox, Robin Thicke, Manuel Medrano, Leslie Grace, Guaynaa, El Fantasma, Aleks Syntek and a tribute to Celia Cruz.

Season 3 premieres on April 22 on HBO/HBO Max in the U.S. and DirecTV/DirecTV GO in Latin America.

Camila Cabello Hints at New Bilingual Track on Social Media

Is Camila Cabello preparing to release new music?

The 24-year-old Cuban/Mexican singer has fans on alert after she posted a cryptic message on social media.

Camila CabelloIn the short teaser, Cabello recorded herself in a car lip-synching to what appears to be a new bilingual song’s lyrics, “Asi es la vida si, and that’s just life, baby.”

Cabello didn’t add any details or caption to her post, but if released, it would follow “Don’t Go Yet” and “Oh Na Na,” the lead singles released ahead of her upcoming third solo studio album titled Familia.

Additionally, the chart-topping artist — who hasn’t announced release date for her new album — teased the set posting on Instagram stories about her album’s thank yous.

“This album to me means community, I guess the opposite of you on your own,” she previously told Billboard about the album. “It’s more you with other people land sharing in that joy and success, whatever that means. Interdependence realizing how important everybody is in your life. A lot of it is inspired by my relationships. My relationships to my family, my relationship to my friends, my relationship to my partner…it’s all about connections with other people, hence, Familia.”

While the teaser is a short eight seconds, the tropical-tinged pop track is in tune with Cabello’s Latin influences, which she’s incorporated in her music.

“Growing up, my family listened to a lot of Latin music, so a lot of salsa, Celia Cruz’s ‘La Vida Es Un Carnaval,’ a lot of Latin songs,” Cabello said in an earlier interview with Billboard. “My first memories of dancing were watching High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls and group ensemble moments trying to learn the dance. I remember trying to learn the Soulja Boy and the Dougie, and it’s such a bonding thing for people to be able to dance together. It’s so connecting.”

Camila Cabello’s “Don’t Go Yet” Featured on ‘Just Dance 2022’

Camila Cabello is getting people to just dance

The 24-year-old Cuban Mexican singer and former Fifth Harmony member’s single “Don’t Go Yet” – the lead single from her highly anticipated third solo studio album Familia –  is now featured on Just Dance 2022, the wildly popular interactive dance game.

Camila Cabello

“I knew obviously when my collaborators and I wrote the song that it was such a party, good-time song but I didn’t realize until I played the game that I was like, ‘Oh, it’s so perfect for dancing with your friends,’ and made me want to play Just Dance,” she said.

Speaking about her inspirations for “Don’t Go Yet,” Cabello shared that she listened to a lot of Latin music in her youth and got some of her earliest dance lessons from watching television.

“Growing up, my family listened to a lot of Latin music, so a lot of salsa, Celia Cruz‘s ‘La vida es un carnaval,’ a lot of Latin songs,” Cabello explained. “My first memories of dancing were watching High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls and group ensemble moments trying to learn the dance. I remember trying to learn the Soulja Boy and the Dougie and it’s such a bonding thing for people to be able to dance together. It’s so connecting.”

Though Cabello has yet to provide fans with a release date for Familia, the singer did share what the album means to her: “This album to me means community, I guess the opposite of you on your own. It’s more you with other people land sharing in that joy and success, whatever that means. Interdependence realizing how important everybody is in your life. A lot of it is inspired by my relationships: My relationships to my family, my relationship to my friends, my relationship to my partner…it’s all about connections with other people, hence, Familia.”

Celia Cruz Foundation Donates the Late Singer’s Celia Cruz Music Score Collection to Florida International University

They’re celebrating Celia Cruz’s azucar at Florida International University.

The Miami-based university has been gifted the Celia Cruz Music Score Collection, which includes 230 long- and short-form musical scores belonging to the iconic Cuban singer.

Celia Cruz

Celia Cruz Entertainment, who manages the late singer’s materials and intellectual property, donated the collection to the university on behalf of the Celia Cruz Foundation.

The collection will be part of the Díaz Ayala Cuban and Latin American Popular Music Collection at the FIU Libraries, CasaCuba — the university’s center for the celebration of Cuban culture and study of Cuban affairs — and the FIU School of Music will use the collection for educational purposes.

“Celia’s most fervent wish was to ensure her legacy lives on for generations,” said Omer Pardillo Cid, executor of the Celia Cruz Estate. “Donating her original musical scores will provide future students with a unique way to study her repertoire — the way she would have done it.”

New Jersey Turnpike Authority to Name Rest Stop After the Late Celia Cruz

There’s a little rest (stop) for Celia Cruz’s biggest fans…

The late Cuban musician, who died in 2003 in her Fort Lee, New Jersey home at the age of 77, is one of several of New Jersey’s most iconic figures getting their names on a Garden State Parkway rest stops.

Celia Cruz

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority approved naming nine Parkway service areas after luminaries, including Cruz, one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century.

Others getting their name on a rest stop include groundbreaking baseball player Larry Doby, rocker Jon Bon Jovi and late actor James Gandolfini.

It’s being done in conjunction with the New Jersey Hall of Fame, which has inducted more than 180 people since 2008 in fields such as science, sports and the arts.

The service areas will contain Hard Rock Cafe-style exhibits and artifacts, and an interactive Wall of Fame featuring a life-sized video monitor showcasing Hall of Fame inductees and their acceptance speeches, according to Gov. Phil Murphy’s office.

Murphy said it’s part of a larger effort to showcase local heroes in a variety of fields at locations around the state, including Battleship New Jersey, the New Jersey Turnpike and Newark Penn Station.

In addition to Cruz, Gandolfini, Doby and Bon Jovi, service areas will be named after broadcast journalist Connie Chung; Grammy-winning singer Whitney Houston; Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; author Judy Blume; and perhaps New Jersey’s most famous native son, Frank Sinatra.

Record Store Day 2021 to Include Vinyl Release of Celia Cruz & Willie Colón’s “Celia Y Willie”

Celia Cruz’s lasting presence will be felt over the summer…

Record Store Day 2021 is planning two-day “drops” on June 12 and July 17 of exclusive titles, including music by the late Cuban singer.

Celia Cruz x Willie Colon, Celia y Willie

Craft Recordings has announced 12 exclusive vinyl releases for RSD, including a 40th-anniversary reissue of Celia Cruz and Willie Colón’s Celia Y Willie.

RSD typically occurs on a Saturday in the spring at various independent record stores, drawing customers with the promise of unique and limited-edition albums released exclusively to indie stores for the holiday.

But the festivities can’t quite bounce back to the way things were with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With small businesses slowly opening back up, the RSD website has created an organized list of 450 titles — 50 more than usual — for music lovers to use as a shopping guide at select indie music retailers. Stores will allow for in-store shopping with either normal/reduced foot traffic or by appointment, curbside pickup, local delivery and/or online shopping depending on the location, which can be checked here.

RSD’s first releases include Lady Gaga‘s Chromatica on exclusive yellow vinyl; Amy Winehouse‘s Remixes as its own LP collection for the first time; Prince‘s The Truth as a first-time LP release and first-time independent release on purple vinyl; Tom Petty‘s Angel Dream reimagined on LP for the 25th anniversary of the She’s The One soundtrack; and Ariana Grande‘s k bye for now (swt live) on double-CD and as a triple-LP. This marks the first time the live-album component of Grande’s 2019 Sweetener Tour is being released in physical form after the pop star released the LP digitally on December 23, 2019.

Spreading RSD over two days in two different months in

the summer gives vinyl pressing plants and distribution companies ample time to produce the titles and provides indie stores more flexibility to prepare budgets and place orders so customers can shop for the records they’re looking for on both days as opposed to one massive release day.

RSD organizers were forced to postpone its 2020 edition due to COVID. Last year’s three-part drop (staged on August 29, September 26 and October 24) helped generate 1.95 million in CD and vinyl album sales at indie stores in the U.S. — with 1.41 million of that in vinyl album sales, according to MRC Data.

Saban Music Group’s Kyen?Es? Earns First No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay Chart with “El Carnaval de Celia: A Tribute”

It’s a big first for Kyen?Es?…

Saban Music Group’s Kyen?Es? has scored their first No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay chart, their first No. 1 on a Latin airplay chart, as the collaborative “El Carnaval de Celia: A Tribute (La Vida Es Un Carnaval/ La Negra Tiene…)” jumps 2-1 with 8 million in audience (up 43%) earned in the week ending September 6.

Kyen?Es?

The reimagination draws inspiration from Celia Cruz‘s classic hits: “La Vida es Un Carnaval” (No. 27 peak on Tropical Airplay, 2003), “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” (No. 4 peak, 2002) and “Rie y Llora” (11-week No. 1, 2003).

The track also sees progress elsewhere on the Latin charts: it surges on the Latin Airplay chart with a 17-5 hike, and debuts at No. 27 on Hot Latin Songs.

Ivy Queen Releases New Single “Next”

Ivy Queen’s got Next

The 48-year-old Puerto Rican rapper/singer has released her latest single “Next,” as well as the song’s official music video.

Ivy Queen

Ivy Queen sings about a relationship that hasn’t been beneficial to her life.

“You didn’t teach me anything / Only that love hurts / You didn’t teach me anything / That’s why I’m going to forget you fast,” the song kicks off.

The infectious reggaeton track was co-written between Ivy and Peter Nieto and shares a woman’s perspective after a breakup.

“For men, saying ‘next’ is the easiest thing to do but when a woman wants to move on and begin dating, we are judged. That’s why ‘Next’ was born,” she tells Billboard.

In the simple yet metaphorical music video, Ivy Queen rocks a set of different glamorous outfits, including a long, silky light grey dress with glittery fringe and a matching pointy hat that represents a shark. The outfits in the clip pay homage to Ivy’s zodiac sign Pisces.

“The shark demands power and leadership,” she says. “When someone sees a shark, they know that there’s a halt. So, in other words, the boss is here. Mommy Shark.”

In true Ivy Queen fashion, “Next” oozes nothing but confidence and empowerment.

Her best advice for women to keep confident and positive after a breakup?

“It all starts with you,” she notes, “when you make the decision that a relationship is over and you’re ready to walk away and move on.” “I love that my songs encourage women. They have helped and inspired many people around the world,” she adds.

Next month, Ivy Queen will unite with the late Celia Cruz for an epic virtual performance at the Calle Ocho Live Festival, which is set to take place on October 4.

Lucrecia’s “Celia Cruz: The Musical!” to Open in New York City’s Lehman Center in November

Lucrecia is ready to bring a legend’s story to life in the Big Apple…

The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts has just announced the New York premiere of Celia Cruz: The Musical!, starring the 52-year-old Cuban singer as the late Queen of Salsa, scheduled for November 16. 

lucrecia-as-celia-cruz-the-musical

The show, which premiered at the Starlite Festival in Marbella, Spain, and has been performed at Miami’s Adrienne Arscht Center, was written and directed by Gonzalo Rodríguez and Jeffry Batista, with Omer Pardillo-Cid, the executor of the Celia Cruz Estate, as executive producer.

Pardillo has described Cruz as “a black woman, who was poor, who left Cuba and conquered the world,” becoming, he says, “the Lady Gagaof her time.” 

The musical, which Pardillo ensures tells the true story of the woman known all over the world as the “salsa queen,” re-creates Cruz’s final concert before her death in 2003 at age 77, flashing back to episodes cued by well-known songs, from “Quimbara”to “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.”

Celia Cruz

“Celia conquered the world with her voice and her huge heart,” Lucrecia says. “She was noble, a woman of the old school. She remembered everyone’s name. You’d meet her once and she’d be sending you postcards for the rest of her life.”

During the show, Lucrecia makes 18 costume changes, wearing dresses and wigs that a Miami seamstress painstakingly copied from Cruz’s original show wardrobe. The singer performs monologues that encapsulate different periods of Cruz’s life, setting up songs that took her career from Cuba, where as a young woman she had her big break with La Sonora Matancera, to the heady days of New York salsa with the Fania All Stars, to her later years as an international icon.

“My admiration, respect and love for Celia runs very deep,” Lucrecia says. “I do the show with love, without any sense of rivalry or trying to take her place. I come out on stage to bring her alive.”

Lucrecia, whose given name is Lucrecia Pérez-Saéz, became known in Cuba as a lead vocalist and pianist with the iconic all-women band Anacaona. In 1993, she settled in Barcelona and formed her own group. The Latin Grammynominee (for 2010’s Álbum de Cuba), frequently recognized on the street by her trademark colored braids, is now a household name in Spain for her role as the singing host of the children’s television series Los Lunnis; she also appears in movie based on the series that premiered in Spanish theaters early this year. 

Lucrecia is set to receive recognition as the Best Latin American Children’s Movie Actress and Best Children’s Music Singer at the Premios Latino 2019 awards in Marbella in September.

In 1998, Lucrecia appeared with Cruz, the great bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez and actor, musician and producer Andy Garcia at an event organized by Bacardi rum in Marbella.

 “I met her at the press conference,” she recalls. “I was so nervous.” During that presentation, Cruz called Lucrecia her successor.  Lucrecia wrote a song in Cruz’s honor, “Agua con Azucar y Ron.”

Lucrecia recalls Cruz calling her when she was pregnant, and later bringing gifts for her son. “La Vida Es un Carnaval” was the first song that Lucrecia sang to him in the hospital. They remained friends until the end of Cruz’s life.

Celia’s career was long, and when you have a career like that you can start on one path and then take another,” notes Lucrecia. “Of course, there are evolutions,” she says, pointing to Cruz’s 2001, “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” which has an urban beat and premiered accompanied by a fabulous video by Cuban director Ernesto Fundora

“Reggaeton was just coming out at that time, and there she was, doing reggaeton!

“They called her the queen of salsa,” Lucrecia adds, “but she was always the guarachera de Cuba. It was always about her Cuba, and taking it with her around the world.”