LatinaLista — When it comes to the musical quilt of the United States, the Latino community has always been a part of it. Some musical artists experience fame only within the Latino community while others “break out” and cross over into mainstream acceptance.
That’s what can be said of five particular Latino artists who have been dubbed “Latin Music Legends” by the U.S. Postal Service and who will be awarded their own stamps as part of the 2011 commemorative stamp program.
Tito Puente, Carmen Miranda, Selena, Carlos Gardel and Celia Cruz will be honored in both Miami and San Antonio in March with the unveiling of their stamps.
San Diego artist, Rafael Lopez, painted “semi-realistic” portraits of the artists purposely freezing them in mid performance to convey a sense of their vitality and music.
The program’s Art director Ethel Kessler said, “My goal was that when you see the stamp, you hear the music.”
Each of the artists represents the genre of music that made them famous: Tejano, tango, samba, Latin jazz, and salsa. As is often the case with commemorative programs, the honorees are usually deceased. Yet, with these musical legends, everyone has the privilege of being able to still hear their voices and see their contributions to the evolution of US music — while appreciation for their talents is passed down to new generations.
However, since so few of the new generation actually buys stamps, let alone visits their local post office, we challenge the US postal service to get creative in making these images available to the public via alternative media that goes beyond pins or t-shirts.
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.