Singer celebrated Cuban countryside and Santería in popular songs.
Celina Gonzalez, the singer known as Cuban music's country queen, has died. Gonzalez passed away in Havana yesterday (Feb. 4), according to a statement from the Cuban Music Institute. The Latin Grammy-nominated artist was 85 years old.
The powerfully-voiced Gonzalez rose to popularity with her husband, guitarist Reutilio Domínguez. Together they were dedicated to the preservation of guajira music, the Spanish-influenced acoustic Cuban country genre whose poetic lyrics are inspired by rural life. Gonzalez also brought an Afro-Cuban sound to her music, She is probably best known for her song "Santa Barbara" (Also called "Que Viva Chango"), a tribute to the popular Afro-Cuban warrior god of fire and patron of percussion, whose Catholic alter-ego is St. Barbara. The song was later recorded by Celia Cruz.