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Argentine tango singer La Gata, 78, is that rare breed of cat who refuses to let her sensuality sag with the weight of her years. Decades of flirting from the stage have given her incredible wisdom on the art of seduction.
Everything about La Gata seduces her audiences, from the sexy way she interprets traditional tangos to the slinky sequined dresses, to her life story which was so unique it inspired a documentary. Born in Buenos Aires in 1927, La Gata was handed over to a convent as an infant. There, her passion for artistic expression was muffled by austere nuns who pulled her out of school in the third grade and put her to work cooking and cleaning.
When La Gata was finally able to walk out the gates of the convent at 22, she ran straight into the glamour of Buenos Aires nightlife, where she began her career as a model and an actress. But she drew the most attention from singing tangos, so in 1957, she decided to take her show on the road. She packed her bags and spent the next three decades traveling throughout Latin America and Europe, singing tangos in some of the hottest nightclubs and opening up her own tango bars in Spain and Mexico.
In 1991, she wound up broke and pension-less in Miami. With few places to sing tangos at that time, La Gata resorted to working as a cleaning lady until January of 2004, when several young Argentinean immigrants learned of her story and helped her make a dramatic comeback to the stage. La Gata spent the next 12 months singing every Thursday night at The Miami Design District’s One Ninety Restaurant. But in December of that same year, rent hikes spurned by neighborhood developers forced the legendary bohemian haunt to close its doors.
While La Gata lost a regular singing gig, her talents continued to captivate the public. Since returning reigniting her singing career at One Ninety, La Gata has given guest performances at a number of local Miami venues including the South Beach club Macarena and the import boutique Bagua. She has also participated in film and television projects including HBO Latino’s hit comedy program “Habla,” producer Claudia La Bianca’s short film “Roasted Red Peppers,” and producer Julienne Gage’s documentary La Gata: The Nine Lives of a Tango Singer Called The Cat, due to be released in August of 2006.