AUSTIN, TX -- Five legendary musicians and performers of the Latin sound whose contributions have had a lasting impact on American music — Selena, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente, and Celia Cruz — today were honored on U.S. commemorative Forever stamps. The stamps go on sale nationwide at Post Offices and online today.
"From this day forward, these colorful, vibrant images of our Latin music legends will travel on letters and packages to every single household in America," said Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president, Government Relations and Public Policy.
"In this small way, we have created a lasting tribute to five extraordinary performers, and we are proud and honored to share their legacy with Americans everywhere through these beautiful stamps," Dominguez said.
Among the distinctive musical genres and styles represented by the music legends featured on the Forever stamps are Tejano, tango, samba, Latin jazz and salsa. The honorees are:
Texas-born Selena Quintanilla-Perez (1971-1995) — known to fans simply as Selena — helped transform and popularize Tejano music by integrating techno-hip-hop beats and disco-influenced dance movements with a captivating stage presence. A Grammy recipient, the "Queen of Tejano" broke gender barriers with record sales and awards. Even after her tragic death, Selena remains an important representative of Latin culture.
A superb and evocative singer, Carlos Gardel (1890?-1935) was one of the most celebrated tango artists of all time. Raised inArgentina, Gardel helped popularize the tango in the United States, Europe and throughout Latin America through his performances and recordings. Known as "the man with the tear in his voice," also achieved fame as one of the stars of Spanish-language cinema.
Born in Portugal and raised in Brazil, Carmen Miranda (1909-1955) achieved fame as a samba singer before moving to New York City, where she gained celebrity in theater, film and radio. The "Brazilian Bombshell" appeared in 14 Hollywood musicals and recorded more than 300 songs. Her exotic colorful outfits and persona also became her signature.
Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Tito Puente (1923-2000) was a musical virtuoso known as El Rey, "The King." With dynamic solos on the timbales and orchestral arrangements that have become classics in Latin music, Puente helped bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds to mainstream audiences. He performed for more than 60 years, and his legacy includes more than 140 albums.
A dazzling performer of many genres of Afro-Caribbean music, Celia Cruz (1925-2003) had a powerful contralto voice and a joyful, charismatic personality that endeared her to fans from different nationalities and across generations. Settling in the United States following the Cuban revolution, the "Queen of Salsa" performed for more than five decades and recorded more than 50 albums.
Joining Dominguez to dedicate the Latin Music Legends commemorative Forever stamps were Jim Rosenberg, president, Epiphone; Roland Swenson, managing director, South By Southwest; Cristina Balli, program director, Texas Folklife; Manuel "Manny" Arguello, district manager, Rio Grande District, U.S. Postal Service; Grupo Fantasma, 2011 Grammy Award winning band; and IIyssa Saenz, recording artist.