By Indra Arriaga

When the great Celia Cruz would sing, Cuando Salí de Cuba (When I left Cuba), a song that became her anthem and love letter to her home, she would transport audiences to the Cuba of her time and into the folds of the sorrow she felt at knowing she would never see it again; then, she would pivot the program and lift the audiences into a reverie of Cuban music, dance, and an overwhelming joy of living. Like many Cuban people who have migrated to the United States, she made a space in her new country for her cultural roots and her music, and more importantly, she shared her music with the world. It may have helped that in New York and Miami the Cuban communities are large and prominent, so not only did Cruz have diverse audiences, she had compatriots, peers, and collaborators from across the Americas with whom to make music.



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