La Lupe (1939–1992)

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La Lupe (1939–1992)

Cuban singer who was one of Latin music's most popular performers in the 1960s. Name variations: Lupe Victoria Yoli. Born Lupe Victoria Yoli in Santiago, Cuba, in 1939; died in the Bronx on February 28, 1992; married twice; children: one son, René Camaño, and one daughter, Rainbow Garcia.

La Lupe, who would be known as the Queen of Latin Soul, was born Lupe Victoria Yoli in Santiago, Cuba, in 1939. Her parents insisted she obtain a teaching degree, although she won many local singing contests and was determined to be in show business. She married a singer in the Los Tropicuba trio who also tried to dissuade her; they were soon divorced, and La Lupe became the leading performer in Havana's nightclubs. But in the aftermath of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, she lost all her property ("Castro took my club, my money, and my car," she told Look magazine) and immigrated to the United States in 1962.

La Lupe began singing with Mongo Santa-maria, recording a number of hit singles. By the end of the 1960s, she was a celebrity throughout Latin America. When jobs began to dwindle in the 1970s, she moved to Puerto Rico to do concerts and television shows. A string of bad luck, including a further decline in her career and medical expenses incurred by her second husband, bankrupted her. By the 1980s, she was living on welfare. In 1984, she injured her spine and was permanently paralyzed; a fire burned down her house not long after. In 1985, she sang from a wheelchair at a concert given to raise funds to help pay her expenses. After being blessed by an evangelical Christian preacher, La Lupe regained her ability to walk; she began singing Christian music and recorded a series of albums. She was only 53 when she died of cardiac arrest.


Pareles, Jon. "La Lupe, a Singer, Is Dead at 53; Known as the 'Queen of Latin Soul,'" in The New York Times Biographical Service. March 1992, p. 272.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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La Lupe (1939–1992)

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