Latin Music Legends
With this 2011 stamp issuance, the U.S. Postal Service honors five musicians and performers of the Latin sound whose contributions have had a lasting impact on American music — Selena, Carlos Gardel, Carmen Miranda, Tito Puente, and Celia Cruz. Among the distinctive musical genres and styles represented are Tejano, tango, samba, Latin jazz, and salsa.
For these stamps, artist Rafael Lopez, of San Diego, California, painted semi-realistic portraits of each musical artist designed to evoke their personality, vitality, and even their sound. He used a warm palette of colors — from brilliant yellows, pinks, and lime green to rich shades of purple and blue — to suggest the flavor and energy these artists brought to their work. Each musician is depicted in mid-performance. One can almost hear Celia Cruz shout her trademark rallying cry ¡Azucar! (Sugar!) or sense Tito Puente's rhythmic intensity as he performed one of his progressive arrangements on the timbales. Art director Ethel Kessler, of Bethesda, Maryland, says, “My goal was that when you see the stamp, you hear the music.”
Lopez's first project for the U.S. Postal Service was the Merengue design for the 2005 Let's Dance/Bailemos stamp pane, followed in 2007 with the Mendez v. Westminster stamp.
The Latin Music Legends stamps are being issued as a pane of Forever® stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.
Tito Puente licensed by the Ernest Puente Trust.
Selena licensed by Q Productions, Inc., Corpus Christi, Texas.
The name, image and likeness of Celia Cruz licensed by the Celia Cruz Knight Estate, Miami, Florida.