The three-day Festival ends Sunday, August 14 with a musical double whammy: the traditional son and guajiro sounds of Grammy- and Emmy-winning Cuban singer-songwriter Albita Rodríguez; and the powerful vocal stylings of “Princess of Salsa” La India.
Recognized by her peers as one of Cuban folk music’s top performers, Albita released her first album, Habrá Música Guajira (There Will Be Guajira Music) in 1988. She defected to the United States on April 15, 1993; in 1994 she was signed by Emilio Estefan’s Crescent Moon label and in 1995 released her first album in the United States, No Se Parece a Nada (Like Nothing Else). Since then, Albita has recorded seven albums in this country, all Grammy nominated, some produced through her own independent record label, Angels’ Dawn Records. For her most recent album, the live recording Mujeres con Cajones, Albita joined Eva Ayllón, “The Queen of Landó” and an icon of Afro-Peruvian music, and Canary Island’s Olga Cerpa García, lead vocalist of that Spanish island’s top folk group Mestisay, to celebrate the cajón beat common to the three cultures.
Born Linda Bell Caballero in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, La India began her career in Latin Freestyle in the mid-80s and recorded her first solo album, Breaking Night, produced by John “Jellybean” Benítez, in 1990. Under the Eddie Palmieri’s tutelage, India released in 1993 her first salsa album: Llegó La India via Eddie Palmieri. A contract with the equally legendary record label RMM Records soon followed and with it a long partnership with composer/arrangers Sergio George and Isidro Infante, with whom she recorded such chart-breaking albums as Dicen que Soy (1993), Sobre el Fuego (1997) and Sola (2000). Last year, she once again joined forces with Sergio George for the release of Intensamente con Canciones de Juan Gabriel, where she pays tribute to one of Mexico’s most prolific singer-songwriters and top showmen.
The Chicago International Salsa Congress dancers, Yendrys Céspedes y su Rumba, Angel Meléndez & 911 Mambo, Orquesta Charangueo and Bandolero are also scheduled to perform on Sunday before Albita and La India.