Celeste, She is Too Much Celeste


25 years ago today, Celeste Mendoza (Santiago de Cuba, 1930 - Havana, 1998), the Queen of Guaguancó, died in Havana. She won that title through sheer drive, grace, and character when performing a genre that was mainly associated with male singers.

She had the gift. She fed from the essences of a culture and recreated it authentically, with full mastery of a style that was linked to the most popular expression. And at the same time, without diminishing its strength and depth, she stylized that legacy.

Celeste honored the heredity of great Cuban singers, owners of the stage and the night, creatures of the show, overwhelming personalities.

Her voice was powerful, and she didn’t relished in artifice. She sang to love and heartbreak, of winning and losing, of faithfulness and betrayal, always approaching dramatic areas, a certain heartbreak that emerged even in the most joyful rumba.

She embodied that spirit in all genres.

She brought her charisma and performance personality to the main repertoire of Cuban music. Her legacy is preserved in several recordings, but above all, it resonates in the heritage of her people, a shared heritage.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff


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