Few musicians have as towering a reputation as Celia Cruz. The Cuban singer captivated and inspired legions as the reigning queen of salsa music, contributing to its worldwide popularity well after she launched her career during the Cuban Revolution. She remains an icon in a genre of music whose female performers used to take a backseat. Now, fans of Cruz have even more reason to celebrate.
Next Tuesday marks the premiere of “Celia,” Telemundo’s 80-part epic novela based on the iconic musician’s life. Perhaps recognizing how many people don’t have cable subscriptions, Telemundo put part one up for public viewership on YouTube (above) and Facebook. The first chapter examines Cruz’s struggle as a young woman to break from her family’s influence and navigate other obstacles to become a singer. While it remains to be seen how faithful the series will be to Cruz’s life, the production is bound to be one of monumentous proportions.
In anticipation of the premiere, Telemundo will also be playing three specials starting this weekend, including a 2003 tribute concert on Saturday at 8 p.m. EST.
Check out the first episode of “Celia,” commercial-free, above.