ˇAzúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz Celia Cruz Selector  
Her Life
Her Music
Her Dressing Room
Her Exile
Exile-Leaving Cuba

The 1950s were a time of great turmoil in Cuba. The political landscape had changed dramatically with the imminent revolution, and musicians faced constant changes that affected various aspects of their lives. Many had established themselves in New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City, contributing to the exciting and complex musical tapestry developing there.

Celia Cruz had traveled to the United States and Latin America often during the 1940s and 1950s with different bands and musical reviews. At the end of 1959, Rogelio Martínez, manager of the Sonora Matancera, secured a one-year contract to perform in Mexico. Cruz decided to go with the band; they left on July 15, 1960, six months after Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, and never returned.

From Mexico to the United States

Celia Cruz had great success in Mexico and performed in her first Mexican film, Amorcito Corazón, which was followed by other films, appearances on Mexican television, and recordings with several Mexican orchestras and musicians, including the renowned composer Pedro Vargas. Her stay contributed to her international success, since Mexico was then an important Latin American and international music market.

Cruz had already appeared on several Cuban television shows in the 1950s, where her style and aesthetics began to change and become more outrageous and individualized. After more than a year of touring, she decided to move to the United States and arrived in New York City on November 20, 1961.

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