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La India's About More Than Just Salsa

By David Cazares

MAY 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002

One of the most powerful female voices in Latin music is set to appear in South Beach as part of the JVC Jazz Festival Miami Beach.

La India, a dynamic singer of salsa and Latin jazz, is booked at BillboardLive, 1500 Ocean Drive.

The operatically trained singer emerged in the 1980s as an energetic performer of hip-hop, soul and rhythm and blues. But she has also developed an ability to sing a variety of other genres, including Afro-Cuban music and jazz.

Born Linda Caballero in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, India was raised in New York's South Bronx. She began singing at home and, at 16, became a singer in the dance group TKA, a Latin hip-hop ensemble. Before long, she was working with such music impresarios as Jelly Bean Benitez, Ralph Mercado and composer/keyboardist Eddie Palmieri.

Although best known for albums such as her tropical solo music debut, Llego La India (Presenting India) and the hit single Vivir Lo Nuestro (Live for Ourselves), a duet with salsa crooner Marc Anthony, India also has shown she can belt out jazz tunes with style.

She made her biggest mark in jazz with Jazzin, an album she recorded in 1996 with the late Latin jazz master Tito Puente. The album, a mix of standards and new compositions, featured the Count Basie Orchestra and Puente's Latin Jazz ensemble.

Since then, India has recorded or been included on a variety of other albums, among them Sobre el fuego (Through the Fire), an album of standard New York salsa that earned her a Grammy nomination.

The singer, who has attributed her success to her ability to combine Latin style and urban soul and to assert herself in the male-dominated music business, has a style that appeals to younger Latino audiences, particularly those in the northeastern United States. South Florida fans should appreciate her, as well.

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