If you know me, then you know I absolutely adore salsa music and that I was practically raised on it. Besides the songs of El Gran Combo or Frankie Ruiz, Celia Cruz was the voice that dominated my household when it came to salsa. Throughout the years, I listened to more of her music and, as cliche as it may sound, I found that I could really relate to her music. Her voice became an easy coping mechanism for me and she is among the top voices that I have always appreciated and will always appreciate. I still listen to her music on a regular basis and, when I have kids, they will know her songs just as well as I do.
For me, Celia Cruz was more than a great singer and she was more than the Queen of Salsa. For me, she was an inspiration as a Hispanic woman following her passion, especially during a time of turmoil in her own country, resistance against minorities, and hostility against independent women. I’m grateful to live in a time where I don’t have to deal with a lot of those tensions or, at least, in a time where those tensions are more limited. She may have passed away 10 years ago, but her message still lives on through her music and her fans. She left the world with a legacy that I am so thankful for and that I absolutely admire.
Today, Celia Cruz would’ve been 88 years old. To honor her birthday, I decided to share with you all one of my favorite songs of hers. “Por Si Acaso No Regreso” talks about Celia’s love for her native country, Cuba, and her distress over the country’s political and social state. I may not be from an embargoed country ruled by a dictatorship, but I can relate to what Celia is feeling and I admire her ability to turn create this kind of work. Celia definitely was the influence of a generation and a community, so I hope you all enjoy her music as much as I do.