Monday, August 6, 2012

Adios, Chavela

World-renowned Mexican cantante Chavela Vargas (who was born in Costa Rica but migrated to Mexico as a young teen) died yesterday, at 93 years of age.
Vargas’ classic rancheras, rendered in her uniquely soul-wrenching, gravelly, hard-drinking voice, will live on in the absolute force of nature that Mexican culture still is, despite the NAFTA-driven disaster of trashy transnational sweatshops, junk food, cable TV porn and the drug war.  Vargas counted Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Pedro Almodovar among her close friends – and she was a major inspiration to a younger generation, especially Mallorcan diva Concha Buika (who, with Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes, recently recorded a spectacular Vargas tribute album, El Ultimo Trago [Wea International, 2009]) and world music goddess Lila Downs.
The Mexican press is overflowing today with poetic tributes – if you read Spanish, see  
  I won’t try to repeat the prose of Vargas’ paisanos, but I woke up this morning with an overpowering desire to share one of her signature songs (this version recorded in 2009) with my readers, so here it is:

Dios botik, as they say in Yucatec.  Thank you.  Que en paz descanse.

                                                                       --------   Susan Kepecs

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