Monday, August 2, 2010

La Lupe

La Lupe's act was an exorcism. Her fans gave her the nickname, La Yiyiyi, for her ecstatic cries and wails. On stage, she picked at her face compulsively, pulled her hair and bit herself, clutched her breasts, and tore her clothing. She flung herself back and forth as she sang until her shoes, clothes, and wig were strewn about and her make-up smeared with drool.

Guadelupe Yoli grew up in 1930s Santiago, Cuba under a strict father and a stepmother who hated her dark skin. She skipped school one day to enter a radio contest, winning first prize and booking clubs immediately. She caused a stir throughout Havana with her epilectic sex appeal. Considered a poor role model and much too vulgar for the general public, she was also revered by other artists like Tennessee Williams, Hemminway, Sartre, and Picasso. Deemed too risque by Fidel Castro himself, La Lupe was exiled first to Mexico, then to New York City, shortly after the Cuban Revolution.