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Music

Celso Piña, renowned Mexican musician of the cumbia genre, dies at 66

Celso Piña
Mexican musician Celso Piña
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Celso Piña, the renowned Mexican singer, songwriter, arranger and accordionist of the cumbia genre, has died.

Pina was rushed to San Vicente Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, after suffering a heart attack Wednesday. He was 66.

“With deep pain we communicate the unexpected departure of a family member, our friend, and professor Celso Piña who died today in Monterrey at 12:38 p.m. due to a heart attack,” said his record label, La Tuna Group, in a brief statement.

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Piña was a pioneer, known for his fusion of cumbia and tropical sounds as a base, combining them with all kinds of popular genres from the north, to sonidero, ska, reggae, rap, hip-hop, among others. He is known by the nickname “rebel of the accordion” and “Chief of the Bell”.

Piña began playing regional music with his brothers Eduardo, Rubén and Enrique, serenading neighborhood girls. His musical career took off in the 1980s when his father gave him an accordion and he began playing cumbia. He gained popularity in the neighborhood where he grew up in Monterrey, at family parties and public dances.

He was a recognized self-taught accordionist and formed the musical band “Celso Piña y su Ronda Bogotá.” The singer was scheduled to perform on Sept. 5 in Cadereyta, Nuevo León, according to information from his official site on Twitter.

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In 2002 he was nominated for two Grammy Awards in the best contemporary tropical album and best alternative artist categories. In his album “Barrio bravo”, Celso Piña included collaborations with several Latin musicians of various genres, which gave rise to the success of “Cumbia Sobre el Rio.”

Other popular songs include “La piragua” and “Sufran con lo que yo goz” with Mexican singer Gloria Trevi. He also worked alongside stars such as Lila Downs, Julieta Venegas, Control Machete and Café Tacvba, among others.


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