"During the sixties, Tito Puente recorded a number of significant LPs with two important female vocalists, Celia Cruz and La Lupe.
Among the Tico recordings with Lupe were Puente Swings, La Lupe Sings (1965), Tu Y Yo (1965), Homenaje A Rafael Hernández (1966), and El Rey Y Yo (1967). La Lupe actually became the featured vocalist and performer. She was highly instrumental in enhancing the role of women not only in Puente's orchestra but also in Latin music generally. Although Celia Cruz has been a more dominant personification of this aspect of Latin music, La Lupe's contribution to the arts should not be underestimated" (page 15, Tito Puente And The Making Of Latin Music, authored by Dr. Steven Loza, Professor of Music, UCLA, University of Illinois Press released, May 1999).
While she was alive La Lupe was not just another female vocalist existing in the shadow of Celia Cruz. She made sure of this by being her own press agent. She was different. At times she sounded like the legendary French vocalist Edith Piaf. Lupe was uninhibited. On stage she would remove clothing and display her voluptuous body which pleased her appreciative male audience. She spoke broken English on the popular TV talk shows of David Frost, Mike Douglas, Dick Cavett and Merv Griffin. She was written about in every Spanish language newspaper and magazine.
In 1964 the santeria candles she lit burned her house clown then and also an apartment 20 years later. During the '70s she won the lead female role in the Broadway play Two Gentleman From Verona opposite Raul Julia. Lupe's tenure on the Latin music scene lasted 14 years (1963-1977) because of 25 hot selling albums. Her mega hits were Que Te Pedí and Oriente. She got my attention in 1966 with her arousing rendition of Los Carreteros, found in the Tito Puente Tico LP Homenje a Rafael Hernández. Her delivery of this Hernández tune is emotional, capable of raising blood pressures, and inducing tears in display of Puerto Rican pride.
Guadalupe Victoria Yoli Raymond of French descent was born on December 23, 1942, in San Pedrito, Oriente, Cuba. As a child she listened to the recordings of Olga Guillot and Celia Cruz and wished one day to be a vocalist. After winning a singing contest at age 12, she traveled to Havana for tutoring. Four years later she landed a job singing with a trio directed by Eulogio Reyes, whom she married. Before 1958 ended Lupe was separated and singing as a soloist at Cabaret La Red. She was paid $28 per week for which she had to perform ten sets a day, each set of 45 minutes duration. Her repertoire consisted mostly of Spanish translations of American...