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Watch a live performance of Kat Dahlia honoring Celia Cruz with her 'Tumbao'

Singer-songwriter Kat Dahlia grew up listening to Celia Cruz growing up in a Cuban American family in Miami. The 24 year-old artist identifies with the Cuban legend’s fierce stage presence and powerful voice. “Her voice was so strong and commanding and I loved it,” said Dahlia. “I loved the fact that it almost sounded like a man’s voice, right? So impactful. And just her energy is so impactful, even if you’ve never met her. Just watching her on the screen, you just instantly fall in love with her. Because she’s so genuine.”

Cruz passed away in 2003 at age 77, but a new generation of artists like Dahlia continue to honor her legacy. In her recently-released album, “My Garden,” Dahlia has a song called “Tumbao” which is a re-imagining of “La Reina de la Salsa’s” hit “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.” “Tumbao to me is kinda like your swag, it’s your gait, it’s the sway in your hips…the swing in your steps,” said Dahlia. “When I wrote this record I wanted to be inspired by Celia and an ode to her but at the same time, spin it around do my thing with it.”


Watch our previous live session at Marine Stadium, with band Buscabulla, here.

Videos shot by Ingrid Rojas and Lara Fernandez; edited by Ingrid Rojas.

Sound by Juan La Riva.




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