On February 28, 1992, the Queen of Latin Soul and Boogaloo “La Yiyiyi” passed away in New York.
While Curro was scaring the children in the Cartuja of Seville, Guadalupe Victoria Yolí Raymond, a Hispanic neighbor of the Bronx of New York, died at the age of 52, in misery.
A few years earlier she had enrolled in college in order to survive on scholarship money.
Maybe when her neighbors heard her talk about limousines, fame, luxury and parties, they looked at her with a knowing look on their faces and played along. There you go again.
But it was true, during the sixties Victoria, La Lupe, also known then as the queen of Latin soul, bragged about being able to spend the twenty thousand dollars she earned per concert on a fur coat.
Long before the invasion of salsa there she was, La Yiyiyi, wandering from bar to bar along 53rd Street, a meeting and exchange place for Latino immigrants in the city of skyscrapers. Busamba’, ‘Boogaloo’, gentlemen.
That’s what it sounded like when Cuba slept with Mexico or Puerto Rico on the stage of any club. Salsa? No, not yet, please. It was still La Lupe’s time.
Yolí Victoria Raymond “La Lupe”
Exiled from Cuba because her singing offended the colonel, she was disputed in her beginnings by Mongo Santamaría and Tito Puente himself, with whom she made perhaps her most interesting recordings. From her first album, ‘Con el diablo en el cuerpo’, she made it clear that she was not going to be just any singer. She captivated the public with her extravagant personality and her madness.
She shrieked, shuddered, pulled her hair, insulted the audience, laughed, tore her clothes in passionate outbursts.
But she also cried and demonstrated her incredible technique when she was asked to sing a bolero. As she sang she lived. Pouring out and enjoying the joy and the sadness.
Then something happened. A new sound began to soundtrack the daily routine of the immigrant ghettos.
A less compromised rhythm that allowed evasion, at least for the duration of the dance, to all the Hispanics living badly in the United States.
Celia Cruz, for better or worse, gave salsa to the world and buried La Lupe in life.
Celia took away her throne and made sure that no one would remember her.
Fame and success is a war and Victoria no longer had the strength to participate in that battle. Her life was an earthquake.
Around that time her second husband began to develop schizophrenia and she decided to take care of her.
After that, little else is known about her until her death.
At the end of the 80’s she converted to the evangelist religion and composed a series of songs that may come to light under the name of La Samaritana.
Although surely her praises to God still sound as warm and sensual as the boleros ‘Orgasmo’ or ‘Puro Teatro’.
The year of her death, her friend Tito Puente and Celia Cruz were offering a conventional Latin music concert at Expo ’92.
Perhaps, at some point, the percussionist remembered when he played ‘Boogaloo’ with the first Latin queen.
As Lupe herself says in her explosive version of ‘Guantanamera’: “Sobre tu tierra divina riega mi voz campesina versos que son como flores, con los más grandes honores de La Yiyiyi, señores”.
Facebook: La Lupe