Judy Cantor-Navas

Judy Cantor-Navas

Gloria Estefan.

It’s not my fault! The anguish and triumphs of Cuban music in Miami in the 1990s

The video of the song that gave title to the album recreated a pre-revolutionary club where Gloria Estefan sang with a retro orchestra. The musicians included Juanito Márquez, who made masterful arrangements for the album; bassist and mambo innovator Israel Cachao López; and a discovery by Estefan, Cuban-American singer Jon Secada (nephew of filin singer Moraima Secada), who had won a Grammy for the best Latin pop record. Mi Tierra got to be the number one Latin album in the United States, and remained as such for a year on the playlists. Since the days of the Mambo Kings, a recording of Cuban music had rarely appeared in such a list. Emilio compared the catchy sound of the album with the taste of “a combination of hamburgers with rice and beans.” A few months before the debut of Mi Tierra, Albita Rodríguez, a young Cuban singer with a punk style and the voice of an old soul from Santiago de Cuba, crossed the Texas border from Mexico with her group’s musicians. They requested asylum and soon arrived in Miami, where they were welcomed by members of the Cuban community in exile. They recorded a jingle for a radio station, and...

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