Selena, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz have been honored with special edition stamps from the United States postal office that go on sale today! The stamps, painted by San Diego-based artist Rafael Lopez, were designed to evoke the music and personalities of each iconic musician.
On his personal blog, Lopez says, "These five dynamic individuals continue to inspire future generations of musicians. I hoped to paint portraits that would resonate for their families and fans. I felt compelled to give it all I had as an artist to communicate the essence of these legends, their spirit, style and sound."
Click through to check out Lopez's beautiful designs and to learn a little bit about each of the musicians highlighted by the USPS this year.
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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 Latino culture.
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.
Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Tito Puente (1923-2000) was a musical virtuoso popularly 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.
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 instant celebrity in theater, film, and radio. The “Brazilian Bombshell” appeared in 14 Hollywood musicals and recorded more than 300 songs. Her exotic signature outfit and persona are an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
A superb and evocative singer, Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) was one of the most celebrated tango artists of all time. Raised in Argentina, Gardel helped popularize the tango in the United States, Europe, and throughout Latin America through his performances and recordings. “The man with the tear in his voice” also achieved fame as one of the stars of the Spanish-language cinema.