Celia Cruz

Hits Mix

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When an artist transcends their genre and acquires a broader worldwide audience, their status may rise to regal levels. Such is the case with Celia Cruz, the undisputed "Queen of Salsa." Beloved by a cross-generational as well as a pan-cultural following, apparently the heat of her music was matched by her passionate ardor toward her fans--the feeling was mutual! The following week after this Cuban matriarch's passing in July 2003, HITS MIX, released in late 2002, jumped onto the charts. While there are no surprises here, the woman who was respectfully called "La Unica" delivers the goods on pumped-up remixes of favorites from previous releases, including her 2002 & 2003 Latin Grammy and Grammy winner LA NEGRA TIENE TUMBAO. Liberally sprinkling her trademark "Azucar!" throughout the proceedings, Cruz moves between swooping, but not showy, melodic moves to rhythmic rapid-fire pronouncements. Approaching her material with a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, head-on intensity ("My message is always felicidad--happiness"), Cruz starts what feels like a dance party headed towards the wee hours.

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