Albita Rodriguez

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One of Cuba's best singers and songwriters, Albita Rodriguez has continued her assault on the hit parade since emigrating to the United States in 1993. Her first American album, No Se Parece a Nada, released…
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One of Cuba's best singers and songwriters, Albita Rodriguez has continued her assault on the hit parade since emigrating to the United States in 1993. Her first American album, No Se Parece a Nada, released in 1995, sold more than 100,000 copies and included the single "Parranda, Laud y Son, which became a chart-topping hit in many Latin-speaking countries. Her second American album, Dicen Que, which she co-produced with Emilio Estefan Jr., husband of Gloria Estefan and owner of the Epic-distributed Crescent Moon record label, was named Best Tropical Album of 1997. According to www.yuca.com, "Cuban music has never been hipper than in the hands of Albita. She is a musical maverick, a political renegade, a suave diva of Cuban song in traditional suits and slicked-back hair." Rodriguez has remained true to her musical roots. Her third American album, Son, offered a nostalgic look back at the sounds of her childhood. In a review of Rodriguez's sold-out concert in New York, the New York Times wrote, "she attacked songs as if the whole city were listening. She was determined to bring the Cuba she left behind into the room."

The daughter of musicians, Rodriguez acquired her first guitar at the age of 15. Within four years, she was on her way to stardom, becoming the youngest performer on Cuba's popular television showcase Palmas y Canas. Her modern approach to Cuba's traditional guajiras and songs attracted a loyal following in her homeland. Fidel Castro confessed that she was one of his favorite singers. Offered a contract with a record label in Colombia in 1991, Rodriguez was given permission to live outside of Cuba. Over the next two years, she recorded two impressive albums that were distributed in Colombia and South America. When an opportunity arose for her and her band, Albito y Su Grupo, to defect to the United States in 1993, Rodriguez jumped at the chance. Settling in Miami, she became a regular performer at Centro Vasco in the city's Little Havana section. News of her talents spread quickly. Before long, her shows were attended by well-known personalities, including Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O'Donnell, Quincy Jones, and Sylvester Stallone. When Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to hear her in 1984, they were so impressed that they quickly signed her to Emilio's label, Crescent Moon.