Personnel: Celia Cruz, Lolita, El General (vocals); Yrvis Mendez (acoustic
& electric guitars, background vocals); Bernd Schoenhart (acoustic & electric guitars); Juan Cerro (Spanish guitar); Alain Perez (tres, keyboards, bass, background vocals); Inoidel Gonzalez (saxophone); Juan Munguia, Raul Agras (trumpet); William Paredes, Joe Fiedler (trombone); Sergio George (piano, keyboards, bass, programming); Ivan Gonzalez (piano); Luca Germini (keyboards, programming); Ruben Rodriguez (bass); Jose Aguilera (cajon, bongos, percussion); Luis Quintero, Marc Quinones (percussion); Cherito, Sarah Gomez (background vocals).
Principally recorded at Sony Music Studios, New York, New York; Crescent Moon, Miami, Florida; Primera Base, D-Ley, Madrid, Spain.
REGALO DEL ALMA won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Salsa/Merengue Album.
Adapter: Oscar Gomez.
Personnel: Celia Cruz (vocals); Yrvis Mendez (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bajo sexto, keyboards, programming); Bernd Schoenhart (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Juan Cerro (Spanish guitar); Alain Pérez (tres, bajo sexto, keyboards); Sergio George (bajo sexto, piano, keyboards, drum programming); Rubén Rodríguez (bajo sexto); Juan Munguía (trumpet); Ivan "Melón" González (piano); Jose "Majito" Aguilera (bongos, bata, timbales, percussion); Marc Quiñones, Luis Quintero (percussion).
Recording information: Bennet Studios, NJ; Crescent Moon Studios, Miami, FL; D-Ley, Madrid, Spain; Primera Base, Madrid, Spain; Sony Music Studios, New York, NY; The Azucar Room, NJ.
Photographer: Adolfo Pérez Butrón.
Arrangers: Yrvis Mendez; Alain Pérez; Sergio George.
"Regalo del Alma" ("Gift of the Soul") is perhaps the ideal phrase to sum up the astounding career of Celia Cruz. With her undiluted musical vision, ever-positive outlook, and flair for crowd-pleasing showmanship, the undisputed "Queen of Salsa" brought joy to listeners worldwide for nearly seven decades. Even more amazing than the length of her tenure, however, is the unflagging consistency of her recorded output. Like George Jones and Frank Sinatra, two of the very few other singers to so completely define their chosen genres across multiple generations, Cruz's voice only became richer and more expressive with age.
Even here, while battling the brain tumor that eventually ended her life, Cruz sounds as powerful as a completely healthy woman one quarter of her age. Whether bolstered by electro-style synth bass ("Ella Tiene Fuego") or hearkening back to the no-frills Cuban dance music that Cruz helped create ("A Maria Loca"), every track is driven by the vocalist's perfect phrasing, sense of playfulness, and supreme confidence. In short, REGALO DEL ALMA is not only a fitting encore--it makes abundantly clear why Cruz will likely be forever remembered as the greatest salsa artist of all time. Azucar!
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