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Cuban Music Lesson: Gloria Estefan


Get ready to be schooled, asere. It’s time for a Cuban music lesson! Learn to tell your cha cha cha from your mambo without leaving your couch. Put on your dancing shoes, guayaberas, park your 57 Chevy, light up that Habano, and pay attention.

A lot of Cuban artists have found fame and fortune in the United States. None come close to Gloria Estefan. She has been consistently famous for the last 30 odd years, no easy feat for any artist. She and her husband Emilio are the biggest Latino music producers in the world. If there were an election for queen of Miami, Gloria would win by a landslide. Plus she is sick ass rich. Sick ass. Not bad for an immigrant girl from Cuba.

Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García de Estefan, (Damn, that’s a Latino name), was born in Havana in 1957. Her dad was personal bodyguard for murderer and SOB Fulgencio Batista. Needless to say, when Fidel, Che, and their beards took over in 1959, they fled double quick. Gloria and her family settled in Miami…like almost every Cuban exile. In 1976 she met a young bandleader named Emilio Estefan. My dad went to high school with them and he told me that their sexual sparks could have burned down the school. In 1977, the young couple formed the salsa-pop fusion super group The Miami Sound Machine. They created a sound that mixed Cuban rhythms with a rock and pop sensibility. They started off playing small clubs around South Florida. My parents used to go see them play, watching her rock even when she was pregnant as heck. It wasn’t until 1985’s “Primitive Love” that they hit the big time with “Conga”, “The Words Get In The Way”, and “Bad Boys”. To say she took off is an understatement.

Ms. Estefan, (if you nasty), has sold 100 million albums and won 7 Grammys. She is considered the Queen of Latin Pop by anyone who uses terms like the Queen of Latin Pop. She is iconic, a legend if you will. I once met Gloria in her huge-ass Star Island mansion. She gave me a cookie. It was white chocolate chip and macadamia nut, which is my favorite. Gloria is super nice and down to Earth in spite of her ginormous success.

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