R.I.P. Chavela Vargas

It’s rare that a single artist can embody an entire culture or country, but Chavela Vargas came as close as anyone. The singer died in Cuernavaca, Mexico, last night at the age of 93.

Like a number of Americans, I suspect, I fell in love with her deep, husky voice the moment I heard her rendition of “La Llorona” in Julie Taymor’s 2002 Frida Kahlo biopic, “Frida.” That was my gateway ranchera to others she recorded, like this one.

Writer Daniel Hernandez has been tweeting from Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City tonight, where people gathered to remember Vargas. “ Read more »


The Washington Post said,

Ms. Vargas experienced her first flush of fame in the mid-20th century and cultivated an outlaw image by wearing men’s clothing, packing a pistol and knocking back copious quantities of tequila. She enjoyed a second, perhaps even greater round of admiration beginning in the 1990s, with a rediscovery fueled largely by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, who championed her music for a new generation and included it in some of his movies.

Ms. Vargas was my kind of woman–a pistol-packin’ mama.

 

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