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Mexican cumbia musician Celso Piña, the ‘Accordion Rebel,’ dies at 66

The accordionist was renowned for mixing traditional Colombian cumbia and other tropical sounds with ska, reggae, hip-hop and his native northern Mexican beats.
Credit: AP
Celso Piña

Celso Piña, the self-taught Mexican accordionist, singer and songwriter has died at the age of 66.

Piña's record label, La Tuna Group, said in a statement on Twitter that he died Wednesday, Aug. 21 at a hospital in his hometown of Monterrey after suffering a heart attack.

Aka the "Rebelde del Acordeón" (Accordion Rebel), he's regarded as one of the most significant artists in Latin American music, especially cumbia and norteño.

Piña created a unique sound, blending traditional Colombian cumbia dance music and other tropical genres with rock, ska, reggae, hip-hop and his native norteño rhythms from Northern Mexico.

In what appears to be his final tweet, Piña shared Wednesday morning a video of probably his biggest hit, "Cumbia Sobre el Río," and wrote in Spanish that “There is no one who resists cumbia.”

Fellow Latino superstar musicians including Alejandro Fernández and Juanes tweeted tributes and condolences.

KABC-TV reports that the musical pioneer released more than 20 albums during his career and toured worldwide.

He was on a North American tour, with a performance last Saturday in Milwaukee and a show scheduled Aug. 30 in Arlington, Texas, according to The Washington Post.

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