Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Estampas Bellisimas: Latin Music Legends Commemorative Stamps

I was so excited to hear that the USPS released five commemorative stamps honoring Latin music superstars last week. The Latin Music Legends series are the work of the incredibly talented Rafael Lopez, and the love and detail in his paintings make them stand out from other stamps.

If you've been poking around here for a few months, you know I love Carmen Miranda; I dressed up as her for Halloween! Who can forget the Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat? She was an electrifying personality who connected to people the world over with her music, even though plenty of people assumed she was singing in Spanish.

I have to admit, I'd never heard of Carlos Gardel until I started researching these stamps. He was an incredible tango singer and actor (I'm listening to the song the Mr. Lopez links to on his blog right now). I did, however, realize that I knew his song "Volver" without even knowing it. Penelope Cruz "sings" it in the Almodovar film of the same title as a flamenco rather than a tango:

These are absolutely are my two favorites of the group. I was lucky enough to see Tito Puente live in Miami when I was about 11, just before he died, and even then I could see why he was called the King of Mambo. He was a huge Latin jazz pioneer (regarding the genre salsa, he was known to say, "I don't make sauce, I make music.") Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa, was someone I would love to have seen live and I'm jealous of anyone who has. She has such a huge, incredible voice, made all the more powerful because the fact that she sometimes sounds like a man. The songs that touch me the most are the ones about her native Cuba and how she desperately wanted to go back (she never made it back; Celia is buried in the Bronx). That makes it all the more inspiring that she was able to sing so feelingly about how beautiful life is and how we need to enjoy every minute. Her elaborate costumes and personae are such an inspiration. Early in her career, she was demure with a deep but still ladylike voice. As the years went on, the makeup, the wigs and the feathers made her look like a drag queen, and it takes a real woman to look like a drag queen.

Selena died far too young but was a super talent that touched a lot of people. She helped Tejano and was all around an electrifying performer.

Click here to see the artist's inspiration boards. They're amazing.

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1 comment:

  1. Desiree,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog and thanks for your support of the Latin Music Legends Stamps.I've been traveling and am just getting to my email and blog comments.

    Count yourself lucky to have seen Tito perform and thanks for celebrating the music of these amazing performers.


    Rafael López


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