No Llora mas....Adios Chavela; mil besos a ti.
August 9, 2012 4:33 AM   Subscribe

Chavela Vargas, iconic singer in the Spanish speaking world has died aged 93.
She would appear on stage dressed as a man, toting a gun or brandishing a bullwhip, and drawing on a fat cigar or swigging from a bottle of hooch.
La Llorona her tribute to Frida Kahlo, is probably one of her better known songs outside the Spanish speaking world.
Some of her other songs:
En el último trago.
Piensar en mi.
Se me olvido otra vez.
Noche de bodas with Joachin Sabina.
Flor de azalea.

I'm sorry; I'm crying there is so much more.

posted by adamvasco (14 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I like this Piensa en Mi as a purer, rawer capture of Chavela.
posted by vacapinta at 4:43 AM on August 9, 2012

You are right vacapinta; now all the hairs on the back of my arms are standing up. Powerful.
posted by adamvasco at 4:47 AM on August 9, 2012

posted by Stoatfarm at 5:10 AM on August 9, 2012

Oh no! Her music is so wonderful. Sad news.
posted by Forktine at 5:28 AM on August 9, 2012

This is sad. I discovered her a couple of years ago from an NPR show. Her voice was perfectly suited to her songs - she reminded me of Cesária Évora in sounding somehow both broken-hearted and defiant.


posted by winna at 6:05 AM on August 9, 2012

posted by Mister Bijou at 6:10 AM on August 9, 2012

Not surprised, alas. I heard a radio interview with her just a couple of weeks ago, and it was painfully evident that she was a rapidly vanishing shadow of herself.

posted by Skeptic at 6:17 AM on August 9, 2012

For anyone who is reading this far and is not aquainted with Chavela Vargas her song Macorina illustrates how radical she was and how she out machoed the machos in her adopted Mexico.
Crossing the Border with Chabela Vargas; A Chicana Femme's Tribute
(Scroll down for the lyrics. The Macorina link is part of a playlist of 92 songs. I'll be listening to the passion and the expressions of love from this incredible woman for the rest of the day).
posted by adamvasco at 6:51 AM on August 9, 2012

posted by sa3z at 6:57 AM on August 9, 2012

posted by Wilder at 7:34 AM on August 9, 2012

There's a fantastic autobiography of hers called Y si quieres saber de mi pasado (apparently Spanish only, sorry about that). I really recommend it.

She was a fantastic performer and she led a really interesting life. Originally a poor girl from the Costa Rican country side, she moved to Mexico because she wanted to sing like the stars of the musica ranchera from the time, and after a while she became friends with all of them, most specially José Alfredo Jiménez, who wrote the most famous rancheras that now are inseparable from Mexican identity.

She was openly lesbian, back women where not allowed much independence, let allow choices like that, and she famously had an affair with Frida Kahlo. She was also good friends with Maria Felix, and Chavela tells in that book how the both of them used to go to cantinas wearing pants (neither of which were things that women used to do back then), put a gun on the table (to discourage anyone who didn't like the idea of seeing two women drink alone in a cantina from making the mistake of confronting them for it) and drink away.

There's a hundred thousand things that could be said about her, so I'll just leave it at that and say that if anyone wants to uncover an uncanny collection of stories and anecdotes collected in a single life, she is the person to research. She was one of the truly greats.
posted by micayetoca at 8:34 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thank you for this. What an amazing vocal presence!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:26 AM on August 9, 2012

posted by jann at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2012

posted by 10thmuse at 7:11 PM on August 9, 2012

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