Cuban singer La Lupe will be posthumously honored with a June 9 tribute concert at City College’s Aaron Davis Hall.
La Bruja (Caridad de la Luz), Calma Carmona and Nina Rodríguez, three singers with soulful vocals and theatrical stage presence that would make La Lupe proud, will perform songs from her repertoire of boleros, salsa, son and boogaloo numbers.
Soulful, wildly seductive, often outrageous, definitely original, and by all accounts intense, La Lupe was an icon of the legendary New York City Latin scene of the ’60s and ’70s. Best known for smoking torch songs she recorded for salsa label Fania, the Afro-Cuban singer made her U.S. album debut performing with the great percussionist Mongo Santamaria and recorded five albums with Tito Puente before releasing 18 solo records.
A string of personal and business setbacks led to La Lupe’s gradual alienation from the music industry, and she went from internationally known performer to an unrecognized college student who lived in public housing, and later became a Pentecostal preacher.
Before her death in 1992 at age 53, she went back to the studio to record Christian music.
The City College Center for the Arts (CCCA), Pregones Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and the Caribbean Cultural Center together will present the tribute, billed as “An Evening of Music Honoring the Legacy of the ‘Queen of Latin Soul”.
“This celebration of La Lupe and her music is long overdue,” CCCA managing director Gregory Shanck said in an announcement about the event.
The homage also includes a screening of the documentary La Lupe: Queen of Latin Soul at the Caribbean Cultural Center this Thursday (June 1) and a panel discussion on “Demystifying a Diva: The Truth Behind the Myth of La Lupe” at Pregones Theater on June 6.
Listen to La Lupe sing “Fever,” one of her signature songs :