Artist Projects

La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul

Ela Troyano

A rebel and innovator, pop singer Lupe Yoli (aka La Lupe or La Yiyiyi) was renowned for her emotional performances. La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul tells her story through character-driven interviews in first-person anecdotes, in an oral history much like those found in a folk ballad or a bolero. Born in Cuba in 1936, she rose from childhood poverty to scandalous overnight success in the glamorous nightclub scene in La Habana in the 1950s. She emerged in New York in the ’60s as The Queen of Latin Soul, performing alongside peers such as Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. The documentary evokes two groundbreaking cultural periods through interviews and rare archival footage: pre-revolutionary 1950s La Habana and the burgeoning Latin music scene in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s.  A long-time gay icon often described as the first performance artist, La Lupe remains ahead of her time. 

Project Updates

  • 2010: La Lupe screens at Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of Creative Capital film festival

  • 2007: La Lupe begins festival screenings at the Miami International Film Festival, is broadcast on Independent Lens (PBS) and is nominated for an Alma Award

  • 2003: La Lupe is screened at the University of Tennessee