La Lupe
La Lupe

Well known for her high level of camp and her energetic performances, La Lupe was one of the Spanish-language world's greatest performers. Born in Cuba to a poor family, La Lupe began her life as a schoolteacher in Havana at her father's request. However music was in her blood, and against his wishes she entered a singing competition on the radio where she won first place. Later she joined the singing group "Trio Los Tropicales" and made many successful club debuts throughout Havana. Her perfomances, which included Rock 'N' Roll songs in Spanish combined with heavy antics made her a smash in the Cuban music scene and she continued to make hit albums.

However, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, La Lupe felt that she could no longer live in a country that did not accept her performances, which were classified as anti-revolutionary. She left Cuba for Mexico in 1962, where she sought acceptance, but was never accepted. Later she moved to New York, where she met fellow Cuban musician Mongo Santamaría. Both teamed up with to make the album make "Mongo Introduces La Lupe" in 1963. That album made her a star and later she joined up with the legendary Tito Puente to make four successful albums. Voted the best singer by the Latin press in 1965 & 1966, La Lupe went on to become one of the top two divas of salsa music (the other was Celia Cruz).

It was during these years thats he produced some of her greatest songs, especially those written by Puerto Rican composer C. Curet Alonso, such as "La Gran Tirana" and "Puro Teatro". In the 1970's La Lupe saw her career decline somewhat. First she was banned from television from Puerto Rico after she tore her clothes off during an awards ceremony on national telelvision. Next, her recod label, Tico Records, was purchased by Fania Records, and company executives decided to focus their energies on the less controversial Celia Cruz.

Although she had several hits during that decade, she faded into obscurity. In the 1980's, La Lupe, who retired from the industry, saw herself desitute. Her husband's medical bills, her large donations to the African-based religion of "Santeria", and her personal problems often left her and her family homeless. She became paralysed following a domestic accident and was healed by an evangelical preacher. After this, she converted to evangelicalism and recorded Christian orientated material in the late 80s. She continued her devotion to evangelism until her death in 1992.

La Lupe never saw the surge in her popularity after her death, especially after the legendary Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar chose her song, "Puro Teatro," to be the closing song of his hit film, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Fania rereleased her records on their Tico labels during that decade, and many of her records went platinum throughout Spain and Latin America.

She is considered one of the greatest musical divas the world has ever known.