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Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alonso, 21 October 1924, Santa Suarez district, Havana, Cuba, d. 16 July 2003, New Jersey, USA. Described as the Queen of Salsa - just one of her several superlative epithets - Cruz will be remembered as the most influential female in the history of Afro-Cuban music. Her family and neighbours became aware of the young Celias singing ability from listening to her croon lullabies to her younger relatives. While she was training to become a literature teacher, an older cousin entered her in a competition on the talent show La Hora Del Té on Radio García Serrá, in which she won first prize. Her 1983 biography refers to 1947 as the year when this contest occurred, but the sleeve notes to two of her early albums, Canta Celia Cruz (Celia Cruz Sings) and Cubas Queen Of Rhythm, mention 1935. Celias father, Simón Cruz, viewed music a dishonourable career for a woman, but he was overridden by...