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Gente de Zona Premieres Dreamy ‘Collab’ With Celia Cruz: ‘You See Celia Today, Celia 2024’

Mr. Nimbus | 02/22/2024

¡Azúcar! The eternal voice of Celia Cruz sounds more modern than ever in a new “collaboration” with Gente de Zona, and no, it wasn’t done with artificial intelligence. “Celia,” which the Cuban duo premiered on Thursday (Feb. 22) live at the 2024 Premio Lo Nuestro ceremony, uses original recordings from the Queen of Salsa to create an infectious medley with two of her songs: “Ella Tiene Fuego” and “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.”

“That woman seems from another planet/ The way she moves is not natural/ Men can’t stand her resistance/ and one after another they come and go,” begins Alexander Delgado, the deeper voice of Gente de Zona, before giving way to the Cuban music legend. “She has spent the night testings and testing/ And now none of them want to dance, dance,” Cruz sings with such a contemporary sound, it feels like she was right there with them in the studio.

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“This was something we had in mind for a long time,” Delgado told Billboard Español prior to the premiere. “When we arrived in this country it was a dream we had, but unfortunately she was no longer alive,” added Randy Malcom, the other half of the six-time Latin Grammy-winning duo, explaining that after a decade in the U.S., their priority was to make that dream come true for their upcoming album, DEMASIADO, which they plan to release between March and April.

Released under Magnus Music, “Celia” was produced by Angel “Pututi” Arce, Dale Pututi, and Malcom, and recorded in the latter’s studio about seven months ago. The project, which includes a new additional verse in “Ella Tiene Fuego,” had the full support and approval of Cruz’s estate executor, Omer Pardillo Cid, who helped them get the masters from Sony Music.

“When I heard the original voices, without any processing, I said, ‘That’s why she’s the queen’. It was something perfect, it was incredible to feel how she sang, her breathing,” recalled Malcom with excitement. “Once we started mixing our voices with hers, it was something magical. It was something we dreamt of so much that we really enjoyed it.”

The release of “Celia” coincides with a series of milestones. Not only does it come months after the 20th anniversary of Cruz’s 2003 death, but also a year ahead of both the 25th anniversary of Gente de Zona’s debut and what would have been Cruz’s 100th birthday.

“I am a believer that things happen, that God’s timing is perfect. I think this was the moment for this song, and we are super excited about it,” said Delgado. “What impresses me most about the song is that you see Celia today, you see Celia 2024 — and it really excites us, it’s a very beautiful thing.”

In a statement, Pardillo Cid said that “Celia would be very happy to know that, even two decades after her physical departure, her cheerful and contagious spirit, in addition to her musical excellence continues to inspire young artists like Gente de Zona.”

On Thursday, at the Premio Lo Nuestro award ceremony, the duo known for No. 1 Billboard hits like “Bailando” with Enrique Iglesias and Descemer Bueno and “La gozadera” with Marc Anthony premiered “Celia” in a joyful musical number that included a colorful party, fireworks and dancers in retro outfits inspired by Havana — while images of the iconic Salsa Queen adorned huge screens during the interventions with her voice.

“I want to be remembered as a very joyful, kind of like a jokester, happy person,” Cruz was seen saying with a smile in a video at the beginning of the performance. “A woman who enjoyed her life and what she did with it. A good friend, a good sister, a good wife. And all of it with lots of ¡azúcar!” she finished with her signature shout, which in English means “sugar.”

The same clip opens the music video for “Celia,” directed by Pedro Vásquez and which will debut Friday. It similarly showcases the duo singing amidst dancers against a colorful backdrop — with lots of fire and vintage elements like “almendrones,” as the classic old cars in Cuba are known, and Cruz projected on large screens.

In the meantime, you can stream “Celia” here:

Gente de Zona & Celia Cruz

Gente de Zona & Celia Cruz

Courtesy Photo

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus

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