The following entry is posted on behalf of Ela Troyano, the producer of La Lupe, Queen of Latin Soul. The film can be seen on Tuesday, June 5 at 10pm on WPBT, Channel 2 in Miami, as part of the series Independent Lens. You can see two short interviews with Ms. Troyano at uVu.channel2.org (pt.1/ pt.2) excerpts from a full program, Viva Voz, which can be seen on Vme (digital channel 2.3)
Making La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul
Her name is Lupe Yoli Raymond aka La Lupe or La Yiyiyi. There’s a common mistake still making the rounds on the internet that she was named Guadalupe. Though she did love wearing her large Virgen de Guadalupe medal – bling before its time.
I saw her by chance in 1987 --- there was a poster on the street. I knew she was famous but had no idea what she was doing here in the Lower East Side. But I went to the address, a Church packed with families. She was at the altar with light streaming behind her. I’m not sure if this is all true or just the way I remember her. She insisted that she did not like video recordings, they made her nervous and asked us not to videotape; I had an audiotape recorder and decided it was ok. I went up to her during the blessing making sure the red light was blinking, hidden in my jacket. It was a portentous moment; I was carried away with her presence, had only one cassette and kept turning it over convinced what she was saying now was even more important than what she had said moments earlier. It was a spellbinding performance. Afterwards there were questions – was she hustling us? There was a kind of purity about her, a sadness. For years I’d come back to her music. Yo Soy Tu Esclava was the first song of hers I fell for; it spoke for me completely, the enslavement of a love gone wrong.
At Maria Irene Forne’s playwriting workshops at INTAR she would often bring up her own idol Olga Guillot pretending to go into rapture over her songs. Maria Irene the intellectual felled by romantic love songs. At Sundance’s first screenwriting workshop with Gabriel Garcia Marquez he asked what I was listening to – Celia Cruz. I had read somewhere that he wanted to be a bolero writer. At the workshop he mentioned listening to itinerant musicians as a child, learning stories from them. He loved to take my cassette recorder to listen to Celia. Our common roots.
By the time I decided to embark on a film on La Lupe I was sure it would take time though lying to myself – only one year.
Please ask me questions – what do you want to hear about? There's so much still to tell about her
NOTE: The film has been rescheduled for Broadcast on WPBT/Channel 2 in Miami on September 20 at 10pm.