Her career started in the age of the “New Wave or Nueva Ola of music in Puerto Rico, as a member of the “Club del Clan” television show where she performed and sang. She made other television appearances, including “El Show de las Doce”, providing her with valuable experience and an opportunity to refine her vocal talents. Her first hit song was “Un lugar para los dos” in 1964; the start of a long and fruitful singing career.
Benitez became a youth idol with successive hits such as “Dime dolor”, “Vete con ella”, “Dile”, and “Yo te perdono”, during the 1960’s. As her popularity zenithed, she found herself in an intense artistic rivalry with another “Nueva Ola” singer, Lissette, which likely helped spur the careers of both artists.
Her big break came in 1969 when she won first prize at the Festival de la Voz y la Canción in Mexico, where she sang “Genesis”, composed by Puerto Rican composer Guillermo Venegas Lloveras. Benitez went on to perform with Sammy Davis, Jr., and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1970. These paved the way for a recording contract with RCA and hotel shows, concerts throughout Latin America, and shows at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, where she was the most highly regarded and paid performer.
Her charisma and talent earned her many accolades as well as the nickname “La voz nacional” She has performed around the world in countries like Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, living up to the expectations of her nickname with aplomb and virtuosity.
A turning point in her career came during the 1970’s when she involved herself in the movement called “la nueva trova”, characterized by songs with socio-political themes. Social consciousness pervaded her songs such as Creceremos and concerts such as “Traigo un pueblo en mi voz” and “En las manos del pueblo” won her great recognition from supporters and fans of that movement.
What followed was some years without new album releases or concerts. It was a disquieting silence broken by the release of Romántica Luz in 1980. The album was rich in boleros from an artist with an equally rich voice.
Benitez has her owen recording company: “Grabaciones Lobo” which has produced more than a dozen albums. These have covered a wide range of music genres from folk, with her Criollo Folklore album, to boleros with the release of Nostalgia. Her album, Gaviota al aire featured contemporary ballads, while Exitos callejeros was a smash success in Argentina, where it went gold, based on her rendition of the song “Fruta Verde”.
Recently, Benitez has continued her stage appearances with top name artists such as the “Amigos” concert with Chucho Avellanet, the concert “Una canción por América sin fronteras” with Mercedes Sosa, and the “Homenaje a Julia de Burgos y a Luis Palés Matos” concert with Alberto Carrión. Other momorable concerts were with Rubén Blades, Justino Díaz, and Pablo Milanés. Perhaps the crowning event though, was her 1987 concert with the internationally known Spanish tenor, Plácido Domingo, in Puerto Rico, together with Danny Rivera and Nydia Caro in the Centro de Bellas Artes concert hall in San Juan.
In 1994, Benitez released her album Horizontes de soledad“, in which she sang “Cuando la vida nos marca”, said to be a highly personal statement of inspiration for the artist. That same year, she joined with other stars in the mega concert “El encuentro”, including old “Nueva Ola” compatriots and rivals Chucho Avellanet and Lissette.
With the dawning of the new millenium, Benitez was part of annual the Christmas special produced by the Banco Popular dedicated that year to José Feliciano. Similarly, she recorded a special musical tribute to “el Sonero Mayor”, Ismael Rivera. It was also the year her album En Vivo Desde el Carnegie Hall which was an excellent example of her artistry.
En Vivo Desde Carnegie Hall [LIVE] (2000)
Canción de Buenos Aires (1998)
Mis Comienzos Vol 1 (1995)
Horizonte de Soledad (1994)
Exitos Callejeros (1993)
Claro y Musical (1992)
Criollo Folklore (1990)
Nostalgia Vol 1 (1990)
Nostalgia Vol 2 (1990)
Gaviota del Aire (1988)
Traigo un Pueblo En Mi Voz Vol 1 (1987)
Traigo un Pueblo En Mi Voz Vol 2 (1987)
Mujer Sin Tiempo (1983)
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