Albita Rodriguez Public Domain. Photo of Albita Rodriguez singing at Hoy Como Ayer.

Albita Rodriguez is one of the most celebrated Cuban music artists. Since relocating to Miami in 1993, she has left a lasting mark on South Florida’s Latin music scene as an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer and recording artist. Today, she is regarded for reinvigorating traditional Cuban music.

Albita began performing from a young age. Her love of traditional Cuban music was first inspired by her parents, who made a living performing rural sung poetry known as “música guajira.” As a live performer in Havana, Albita repopularized guajira among younger Cubans through her modern interpretations, even earning a spot to sing on a variety TV show at the age of 19. As she recounts, her artistic approach reflected the influence of her parents, her interest in American popular music and the Afro-Cuban genre rumba that she heard while growing up in Havana.

Albita and her band sought political asylum in the United States in 1993. They quickly asserted themselves in Miami’s live music circuit with regular performances at the Yuca and Centro Vasco in Little Havana. Her ensemble combined Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation with rock and grunge influences. In the midst of the salsa boom that swept the American popular music industry, her group captivated listeners with their creative reimaginings of Cuban “son” and “música campesina” (country music).

Albita has recorded eight albums in the United States to date, all of which were Grammy-nominated. In 2004, she founded her own record label, Angels’ Dawn Records, and recorded her two-time Grammy-award winning album, Albita Llego. The following year, Albita was honored as Queen of the Calle Ocho Music Festival in Miami.

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