Topics: Celia Cruz, Salsa music, Johnny Pacheco Pages: 3 (885 words) Published: February 26, 2014
In 1950, Cruz made her first major breakthrough, after the lead singer of the Sonora Matancera, a renowned Cuban orchestra, left the group and Cruz was called to fill in. Cruz was hired permanently by the orchestra, but wasn't well accepted by the public at first.[7] However, the orchestra stood by their decision, and soon Cruz became famous throughout Cuba. During the 15 years she was a member, the band traveled all over Latin America, becoming known as "Café con leche" (coffee with milk). Cruz became known for her trademark shout "¡Azúcar!" ("Sugar!" in Spanish). The catch phrase started as the punch line for a joke Cruz used to tell frequently at her concerts. Once, she ordered café cubano (Cuban coffee) in a restaurant in Miami. The waiter asked her if she'd like sugar, and she replied that, since he was Cuban, he should know that you can't drink Cuban coffee without it! After having told the joke so many times, Cruz eventually dropped the joke and greeted her audience at the start of her appearances with the punch line alone. In her later years, she would use the punch line a few times, to later say: No les digo más 'Azúcar', pa' que no les dé diabetes! which means "I won't say 'Sugar' anymore so that you won't get diabetes".[citation needed] With Sonora Matancera, she appeared in cameos in some Mexican films such as Salon México (1950) and Una gallega en La Habana (1952). When Fidel Castro assumed control of Cuba in 1959, Cruz and her husband, Pedro Knight, refused to return to their homeland and became citizens of the United States. In 1966, Cruz and Tito Puente began an association that would lead to eight albums for Tico Records. The albums were not as successful as expected. However, Puente and Cruz later joined the Vaya Records label. There, she joined accomplished pianist Larry Harlow and was soon headlining a concert at New York's Carnegie Hall. Cruz's 1974 album with Johnny Pacheco, Celia y Johnny, was very successful, and Cruz soon found herself in...
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