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Courtesy Albita


1962 in Havana, Cuba
Short slicked-back, bleached-blond hair, dark red lips, a pinstriped suit and vest, she boldly struts across the stage. Pumping her elbows like a chicken and performing steps meant for men (a taboo for rumba dancers), her deep voice can croon, hypnotize, shock or command. With her dynamic presence, you might think that maybe she could be Madonna. But unless your hearing aid is turned down really low (and the fact that she’s wearing too many clothes), there’s no mistaking that voice.
This is what you get when you see Albita perform. And once you’ve seen her, you could never mistake her for anyone else.

Singer of Guajira and Son:

Albita Rodriguez grew up in Havana, the daughter of two popular folk musicians singing punto and guajiro, music from the Cuban countryside. For several years she performed in Miami nightclubs and local concerts, making her television debut on the variety show "Palmas y Canas".

First Album:

Her first Cuban release in 1988 contained the hit “Habra Musica Guajira”. Throughout her career she has sung and been identified with Cuban son, a traditional form she makes her own with unique and fearless interpretations of classics like "El Manisero" (The Peanut Vendor), the son that first ignited Latin fever in the American audience in the early 1930s.

Albita in Miami:

After a few years singing in Columbia and then Mexico, Albita defected to the United States in 1993 and settled in Miami. Sometimes compared to Marlene Dietrich for the low, dusky timbre of her voice, her star rose quickly in this Cuban émigré urban center after Madonna heard her at a Little Havana nightclub and invited her to sing at her birthday party in New York.

I love her album Son. From the classic lyricism of “Veinte Anos” to the grinding, African salsa rhythms in “A San Lazaro”, she makes popular songs you’ve heard over and over again new and vibrant, without ever losing the essence of the traditional form.

Essential Albums:

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