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.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda Teams Up with Frankie Negrón for Latinx Voter Mobilization Coalition ‘Respeta Mi Gente’

Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing his part to get out the vote…

The 38-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, rapper, and actor, best known for creating and starring in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton, has joined forces with salsero Frankie Negrón to support the voter mobilization coalition Respeta Mi Gente, which is focusing on inspiring voters in Puerto Rican communities in Central Florida to get out to the polls in less than two weeks.

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

“There was such a massive influx of Puerto Ricans to the mainland after Hurricane Maria,” Miranda said during a media call, according to a statementannouncing the effort.

“One of the most important things they can do is vote for the candidates [who] have been paying attention to what’s been happening on the island.”

That’s why Miranda and Negrón joined the drive spearheaded by the non-profits Alianza for Progress and Hispanic Federation to get Latinx voters to the polls with a series of television and radio ads as well as Negrón’s song “Respecta Mi Gente.”

The remix take on Hector Lavoe and the Fania All Stars‘ 1975 hit “Mi Gente” is an attempt to lift spirits after a difficult 12 months. “We’re using Hector Lavoe’s song and voice to address what a difficult year this has been for Puerto Ricans, and for all Latinos in general,” said Negrón in a statement.

Respeta Mi Gente has a few key goals, some of which include helping Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of HurricanesIrma and Maria, and encouraging Puerto Ricans in Florida to vote in order to give a voice to their family and friends on the island — who are American citizens, but are not allowed to vote in national elections. The organization has a full calendar of events planned over the next few weeks, from a senior voting drive on Friday (October 26), to a Scary Phone Bank event on Halloween (October 31) and a Boricua Vota auto show on November 3.

An estimated 5.4 million Puerto Ricans live in the United States, including 30,000 who moved to the mainland after being displaced by Maria in 2017. Florida has the highest concentration of Puerto Rican residents in the country, concentrated in Central Florida, one of the key battleground spots in this year’s midterms, according to the organization.

Miranda Notches His Third No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Songs Chart

Ismael Miranda is having a banner year…

The 65-year-old Puerto Rican salsa singer and Fania All Stars member has earned his third No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart as his latest single “Bajo, Piano & Bongo” moves up 2-1.

Ismael Miranda

The song, featuring Bobby Valentin, Richie Ray and Roberto Roena, is Miranda’s second chart-topper this year. He previously topped the chart with “Son 45” in February.

With the climb, Miranda claims the most No. 1s on Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart for a member of Fania All-Stars, the legendary salsa group formed by Fania Records in 1968. Miranda breaks out of a tie with Celia Cruz (two No. 1s).

The airplay increase also scores Valentin, who plays bass on the track, and Roena (bongos) — each longtime members of Fania All-Stars as well — their first chart-topper. Richie Ray, an iconic salsa musician known as El Embajador del Piano (The Piano Ambassador), who has collaborated with Fania All-Stars throughout his career, also scores his first No. 1 on the list.

“Bajo, Piano & Bongo” was written and produced by salsa superstar Victor Manuelle, who currently ties Marc Anthony for the record for most No. 1s on the chart (25). When asked about creating this song, Manuelle shared with Billboard, “It’s one of the most important songs that I’ve composed, and was a challenge writing a song for stars of their status.”

It’s the second track to crown the chart from Miranda’s latest album, Son 45, which peaked at No. 3 on the Tropical Albums chart. The set’s title track, an ode to his 45-year career, reached the top on the chart dated February 21.

Manuelle says “reaching No. 1 lets us know that there is still an audience that values good salsa.”

Miranda Earns Second Career No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Songs Chart

It may have taken some time, but Ismael Miranda is back at the top of the charts…

The 64-year-old Puerto Rican salsa singer crowns Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart with “Son 45,” earning him the second No. 1 on the airplay list of his career and his first in a decade.

Ismael Miranda

The track rises 5-1 in its 15th week with a 39 percent increase in plays in the week ending February 8, according to Nielsen Music. Miranda last capped the ranking in 2005 when “Se Fue Y Me Dejo,” featuring Cheka & Andy Montanez, spent a week at the helm.

The celebratory “Son 45,” written and produced by Victor Manuelle, is the title track from Miranda’s most recent album and recounts the salsa veteran’s 45-year career, proudly declaring his roots in the genre.

Miranda becomes only the second member of Fania All-Stars (the legendary musical ensemble formed by Fania Records in 1968) to have two No. 1s, matching Celia Cruz‘s tally. “I’m really proud and satisfied with the work done,” Miranda tells Billboard. “The message in this song represents what the salsa genre means for our culture, history and identity.”

On working with Victor Manuelle, who holds 24 No. 1s on the Tropical Songs chart of his own (the second-most in the chart’s history), Miranda says of Manuelle — who produced the “Son 45” album — “He never took me away from my traditional style of salsa or the social messages in my songs. Every single thing we did, we made sure to do it with quality. This is a big accomplishment for him as well because it is his first time producing an album for another artist and releasing it on his own label Kiyavi Records.”

Miranda humbly revels in the long-lasting success of salsa music, saying “The fact that this music is still played heavily on the airwaves worldwide is a testament to our message. I have been representing this genre for over forty-five years and salsa is here to stay,” leaving us with the hook of the single: “Yo llevo 45 y sigo con el mismo son!!

Santos Adds Second Concert Date at New York’s Yankee Stadium

Romeo Santos is preparing for a double-header at Yankee Stadium

The 32-year-old Dominican American singer, one of Latin music’s fastest rising superstars, has announced an additional Yankee Stadium concert date for July 11, after selling out his original July 12th date in 48 hours, according to his reps.

Romeo Santos

No Latin artist has headlined the stadium since Tropical ensemble Fania All Stars performed and recorded Live At Yankee Stadium in 1973.

Santos will be the first Latino to do so in over 40 years and the first to ever top the bill at the Yankees’ new field, following its relocation in 2009.

The additional Bronx date follows a string of recently revealed US shows for his Formula Vol. 2 Tour.

Santos’ latest album Formula, Vol. 2 debuted at No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart on March 15, and at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.  It scored the best sales week of any Latin title in eight years, moving 85,000 copies in its opening week according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Santos’ single Odio” featuring Drake is in its eighth consecutive week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart.

Tickets for the July 11th Yankee Stadium show will go on sale to the public on Thursday, April 3.

Daddy Yankee’s “Limbo” Recognized at the ASCAP Latin Music Awards

Daddy Yankee has plenty of reason to celebrate…

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican reggaeton singer-songwriter’s “Limbo” has been named Song of the Year at the ASCAP Latin Music Awards.

Daddy Yankee

The track, released as a Spanish-language song and bilingual track, peaked at number one on Billboard’s Latin Songs and Latin Pop Songs charts.

“Limbo” was written specially for Zumba Fitness to highlight the dance fitness company’s presence in the Latin music industry.

Daddy Yankee said he wanted “Limbo to invite the imagination, ignite creativity, to step away from the norm and bring something completely different.”

But that wasn’t the only prize Daddy Yankee picked up…

He also received ASCAP’s Voice of Music award. Looking visibly emotional, Daddy Yankee accepted his award and addressed the crowd in general and his fellow musicians in particular.

“It’s such an honor to be here. For me everything began as a young guy in Santurce, Puerto Rico in the 90s. I still have that passion in my heart,” he said.

Meanwhile, legendary musicians Fania All-Stars, this year’s Heritage award recipients, shared the stage with today’s stars in what became a true once-in-a-lifetime musical moment.

“I want to thank these boys for being with me so many years,” said 78-year-old Fania founder and bandleader Johnny Pacheco when accepting the award. “To me, this is the best salsa orchestra in existence.”

Colombian Andres Castro shared the Songwriter of the Year award with Romeo Santos (who was on tour but sent a video greeting).

Held in New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, the awards celebrate the most-performed songs, publishers and composers of 2013, with Sony/ATV winning publisher of the year and Mayimba Music winning Independent Publisher of the year.

Santos Announces 15-City “Formula Vol. 2” Arena Tour in the U.S.

It’s an extra special quinceañera for Romeo Santos

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican/Dominican American singer has announced that the first leg of his Formula Vol. 2 Tour will include 15 U.S. arena dates.

Romeo Santos

The former member of Aventura will open his highly anticipated tour in Los Angeles on May 22.

The 15-date tour includes his previously confirmed Yankee Stadium show on July 12.

He’ll be the first Latin artist to headline the stadium in more than 40 years, since Fania All Stars momentous 1973 concert.

Santos sold out three shows at Madison Square Garden during his Formula Vol. 1 Tour in the summer of 2012, selling more tickets than any other artist at the venue that year. The shows were recorded for a CD/DVD, The King Stays King: Sold Out At Madison Square Garden, which spent two weeks atop the Top Latin Albums chart in November 2012.

Venues and on-sale dates for Santos’ shows haven’t been revealed yet.

Formula Vol. 2 Tour Dates

May 22 —  Los Angeles, CA
May 23 —  San Diego, CA
May 24 —  Oakland, CA
May 25 —  Las Vegas, NV
May 29 —  Atlanta, GA
May 30 —  Orlando, FL
May 31 —  Miami, FL
June 04 —  Houston, TX
June 06 —  San Antonio, TX
June 07 —  Dallas, TX
June 11 —  Washington, D.C.
June 13 —  Chicago, IL
June 14 —  Boston, MA
June 15 —  Philadelphia, PA
July 12 —  New York, NY

Sergio George’s Salsa Giants to Perform in Latin America Beginning in October

Sergio George’s Salsa Giants will have you moviendo tus caderas this fall…

The 52-year-old Puerto Rican pianist and noted record producer has announced plans for his music group to perform a series of concerts later this year.

Sergio George's Salsa Giants

The Salsa Giants kick off concert will take place on October 4th in Lima, Peru.

Oscar D’León, Luis Enrique, Cheo Feliciano, Andy Montañez, Willy Chirino, Jose AlbertoEl Canario,” Tito Nieves, vocalist Nora from Orquesta de la Luz and Charlie Zaa make up the line up of the Salsa Giants concert at Lima’s San Marcos University.

The group’s tour will continue to Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Panama, with dates still to be announced.

Marc Anthony, a featured singer on the Salsa Giants debut album, which was recorded live at the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, will not be part of the group’s kick off concert, as he’s scheduled to play the same night at San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Coliseo de Puerto Rico José M. Agrelot, commonly referred to as el Choliseo.

Meanwhile, salsa pioneers the Fania All Stars will stage a rare reunion concert at the Choliseo on Oct. 18.

That line up will include Fania founder Johnny Pacheco, Ismael Miranda, Feliciano, Colón, Larry Harlow, Bobby Valentín and others who were present at the birth of salsa in 1960s in New York City.

The concert will include tributes to departed All Star members Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Ray Baretto and others, with a special nod to Puerto Rican cuatro player Yomo Toro, who passed away last year.

The Fania musicians will continue on a world tour in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Fania Records, according to the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Michael Rucker. No other concert dates have been announced at this time.