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Sun, 07.19.1936

Lucila Reyes, Afro Peruvian Singer born.

Lucila Reyes

*Lucila Reyes was born on this date in 1936. She was an Afro Peruvian singer, and personality.

Born to a poor family in the capital, Lima, Lucila J. Sarsines Reyes was one of sixteen children. Her father, Tobias Sarsines, died after she turned six months old. Reyes spent much of her childhood living away from her immediate family. She sold newspapers and lottery tickets to survive. Her house burned down, and she went on to live at a Catholic church. As a child, Reyes sang with Pitito Perez in a duo named Lucha y Juan. The duo allowed Reyes on national radio stations. 

Reyes debuted in a show named El Sentir de los Barrios, a song with lyrics resembling her experiences on the streets. Reyes was briefly married to a policeman. Reyes acted sporadically in theater plays around Lima and in a movie named Una Carta al Cielo ("A Letter to Heaven"). Lucila performed various acts to encourage the diffusion of Peruvian cultural expressions through mass media. In 1970, Reyes recorded her greatest success, "Regresa" ("Come Back"), a number-one international hit, followed by her first LP and her only international tour.

Reyes asked composer Pedro Pacheco to write "Mi Última Canción" ("My Last Song"). She was diagnosed with tuberculosis and diabetes; she had cardiac complications and alcoholism. On October 30, 1973, she sang "My Last Song" on a local radio station. On the following day, October 31, 1973, Lucha Reyes died. She is buried in the "Cemetery the Angel" in Lima. Reyes made a name for Black performers among the leading interpreters of the vals criollo and marinera genres. Adding the cajón to the traditional instrumentation of two guitars gave the vals an Afro Peruvian dimension and was accompanied by hand clapping.

She was known as "La Morena de Oro del Perú." She is well known for her voice, and her music has gone through history as some of the best in the history of Peruvian music. Her songs were rich with Peruvian Nationalism and Criollo pride. Today, October 31, is the "Día de la Canción Criolla" (Day of the Creole Song), celebrated in Peru annually.

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