Last week, [lastfm]Gloria Estefan[/lastfm] was spotted celebrating her 53rd birthday with friends and family in sunny Miami, Florida. The world-famous coastal city is known for being Estefan’s longtime place of residence, as well as the place where she got her start in the mid-1970s with the [lastfm]Miami Sound Machine[/lastfm].
The following decade marked a period of major artistic growth and commercial success for Estefan. Miami Sound Machine’s second English-language studio release Primitive Love in 1985, brought with it the massive dance hit “Conga,” which was followed by a slew of other chart-topping singles from subsequent albums, including “1-2-3,” “Anything For You” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.”
Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine are credited in part with keeping Miami’s rich Cuban sound at the top of the international charts with crossover hits that were massively popular in Latin America and the U.S. alike.
Estefan continues to have a major presence in the city of Miami; both for her contributions to the music industry, and for her charitable efforts and community involvements. In 1993, Estefan founded the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which annually contributes over half a million dollars to organizations that promote educational opportunities and health awareness to the young and disadvantaged.
In addition to this, Estefan has been a major supporter of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, one of the world’s leading research centers on spinal-cord injury treatment, and has performed at numerous benefit concerts for disaster relief.
The Miami Herald has praised Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio, “for enriching [their] community with charitable efforts and promoting South Florida as a Hispanic entertainment mecca.” You can read more about Estefan’s work here.
To see Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine in action during the height of their success, check out the video below for the hit single, “Conga.”