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SPOTLIGHT ON EDDIE PALMIERI


REAR: L TO R: JOSE CLAUSELL, JOHNNY DANDY RODRIGEZ, HERMAN OLIVERA.. FRONT RAE ARROYO AND EDDIE PALMIERI
 


 EDDIE PALMIERI WAS BORN IN SPANISH HARLEM DEC. 15, 1936 AND GREW UP IN THE BRONX, NEW YORK. EDDIE ALWAYS LOVED PERCUSSION AND AT ONE TIME THOUGHT ABOUT BECOMING A PERCUSSIONIST OR TIMBALERO. I ONCE SAW HIM PLAY TIMBALES AND HE WASN'T BAD AT ALL.  EDDIE'S IDOL WAS TITO PUENTE BUT HE ALSO LOOKED UP TO HIS OLDER BROTHER CHARLIE WHO WAS NINE YEARS OLDER THAN HIM AND WAS ALSO HIS IDOL AND A VERY POPULAR PIANO PLAYER. CHARLIE CONVINCED EDDIE TO TAKE UP PIANO AND THE REST IS HISTORY.

 BY THE TIME EDDIE WAS FOURTEEN HE ALREADY FORMED A BAND. EDDIE ON PIANO, ORLANDO MARIN ON TIMBALES AND JOE QUIJANO VOCALS.  AT 15 EDDIE  BECAME THE PIANO PLAYER FOR JOHNNY SEGUI'S BAND.  IN THE MID 50'S HE WAS THE PIANO PLAYER FOR VICENTICO VALDES AND IN 1958 HE JOINED THE TITO RODRIGUEZ ORCHESTRA.  EDDIE IS ON THAT FABULOUS ALBUM TITO RODRIGUEZ LIVE AT THE PALLADIUM AS IS MY DEAR FRIEND, TIMBALERO PAT RODRIGUEZ.

IN 1961 EDDIE PALMIERI FORMED HIS OWN GROUP, LA PERFECTA. CHARANGA WAS BIG AT THE TIME. VIOLINS AND FLUTES WERE HOT BUT EDDIE HAD SOMETHING ELSE IN MIND. EDDIE WANTED TO USE TROMBONES. UP TO THAT TIME, TROMBONES WERE UNHEARD OF IN THE NEW YORK SALSA SCENE. WILLIE COLON CAME LATER ON. EDDIE'S BAND WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL RIGHT FROM THE START.

EDDIE'S FIRST ALBUM WAS CALLED EDDIE PALMIERI Y LA PERFECTA. HE WENT ON TO RECORD MANY MORE ALBUMS AFTER THAT AND MANY WERE EITHER NOMINATED OR RECEIVED A GRAMMY. THE FIRST GRAMMY WAS FOR HIS 1975 RECORDING OF "SUN OF LATIN MUSIC." IN 1976 EDDIE RECEIVED A GRAMMY FOR "UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE." HE RECEIVED A GRAMMY AGAIN IN 1984 FOR THE ALBUM,"PALO PA RUMBA," AND IN 1985 FOR THE ALBUM, "SOLITO." IN 1986 HE RECEIVED YET ANOTHER GRAMMY FOR HIS ALBUM, "LA VERDAD" AND HIS COLLABORATION WITH TITO PUENTE ON THE CD "MASTERPIECE" HAS EARNED HIM YET ANOTHER GRAMMY.

EDDIE'S CAREER SPANS MORE THAN FOUR DECADES AND HAS TAKEN HIM ALL OVER THE WORLD. EDDIE PERFORMED AT PRESIDENT CLINTON'S SECOND INAUGURATION AND HAS ALSO PERFORMED AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE IN WASHINGTON D.C WHERE SEVERAL OF HIS PERFORMANCES WERE DOCUMENTED AND CATALOGUED FOR THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY.

CELIA CRUZ

CELIA CRUZ WAS BORN IN THE SANTO SUAREZ DISTRICT OF HAVANA, CUBA. SOME SAY 1925 AND OTHERS SAY 1924. ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ONE OF FOUR SIBLINGS, FOURTEEN CHILDREN LIVED IN THE CRUZ HOUSEHOLD, NIECES, NEPHEWS AND COUSINS. CELIA WANTED TO BE A TEACHER BUT ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC. WHILE STUDYING TO BECOME A TEACHER SHE EARNED MONEY BY ENTERING SINGING CONTESTS AND WON. CELIA CRUZ NEVER DID BECOME A TEACHER. INSTEAD SHE BECAME THE QUEEN OF SALSA.

IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE SHE WAS BEING SOUGHT AFTER AS A PERFORMER. SHE JOINED A MUSIC CONSERVATORY AND STUDIED VOICE AND THEORY AND AFTER SINGING WITH DIFFERENT GROUPS IN CUBA SHE GOT AN OFFER TO SING WITH LA SONORA MATANCERA, THE MOST POPULAR BAND IN CUBA AT THE TIME. THE YEAR WAS 1950. SHE REMAINED WITH LA SONORA MATANCERA FOR FIFTEEN YEARS AND WHILE TOURING WITH THE BAND IN MEXICO SHE STAYED AND NEVER WENT BACK TO CUBA.

CELIA LEFT MEXICO IN THE EARLY SIXTIES AND HEADED FOR NEW YORK AND THERE, THE QUEEN MET THE KING, TITO PUENTE. AFTER RECORDING WITH TITO, CELIA WENT ON AND HAD OVER SEVENTY ALBUMS TO HER CREDIT.

CELIA CRUZ WON FIVE GRAMMYS, THE LAST ONE FOR "LA NEGRA TIENE TUMBAO" AND WAS NOMINATED AT LEAST TWELVE TIMES. CELIA RECEIVED A STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME IN 1987. SHE WAS AWARDED THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS MEDAL WHICH WAS PRESENTED TO HER BY PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY HILARY CLINTON. LA CALLE OCHO IN MIAMI IS ALSO KNOWN AS CELIA CRUZ WAY.

AFTER BATTLING BRAIN CANCER AND UNDERGOING SURGERY IN NOVEMBER OF 2002, OUR QUEEN OF SALSA PASSED AWAY JULY 16, 2003.

CELIA PERFORMED AND WAS KNOWN ALL OVER THE WORLD.
R.I.P. CELIA CRUZ