Albita [1962- ]
Albita Rodriguez grew up in Havana, Cuba, the daughter of popular musicians who introduced her to the world of guajira, or Cuban folk music. She began performing as a teenager and, by the late 1980s, Albita had become a star as a singer, songwriter and bandleader who drew on traditional Cuban genres.
In 1988 she released her debut album, Habra Musica Guajira (“There Will Be Guajira Music”), which included the title hit that stated her intention to recreate the sounds of traditional Cuban music. As a rising star, she performed regularly at the country’s top tourist hotels and nightclubs. In 1992 she traveled to Columbia where she signed a four-year contract to record and tour throughout Latin America.
After recording two more albums in Columbia, she defected to the U.S. in 1993 and settled in Miami. Initially she performed at a local Cuban restaurant, Centro Vasco, where she attracted celebrity fans such as Madonna, Quincy Jones and Gianni Versace. She also caught the attention of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, who signed her to their Crescent Moon record label and released her first U.S. album, No Se Parece a Nada.
With her powerful voice and then androgynous style, Albita re-defined the Cuban female singer. Since being discovered by American audiences, Albita has released more than a dozen albums, including the 2004 album, Albita Llego, which won the Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Tropical Album.