Chavela Vargas was born 101 years ago. He was called The Macorina. “In Costa Rica, he said, there I had to be born; but in Mexico, there I chose to live”. And did mexican. She was admired by artists and politicians from Frida Kahlo and Miguel Alemán, to Pedro Almodóvar in times more current, to whom we rejected an offer of movies because he did not like “send it”, “that’s why I never was attracted to the performance.”
In effect, Chavela was flying freely around the stages of life without any more “ties” for their song and music, to those who had been consecrated. Or their sexual preferences forbade enjoy your free will, your walking through this world, until death took umbrage with it the August 5, 2012 in Cuernavaca, Morelos.
And in Mexico, also, decided to fall in love with the ranchera music –so to speak, generalizing–, the same with composers such as José Alfredo Jiménez, Cuco Sánchez and Agustín Lara, whose works helped to inmortalizarla to it.
CHILDHOOD IN SOLITUDE
But, well, it’s time to remember the centenary of his birth, and go back in time to talk to us in San Joaquin de Flores, province of Heredia, where María Isabel Anita Carmen de Jesús Vargas Lizano came into the world on April 17, 1919; his childhood, however, was very difficult, because their parents divorced, they both ignored her and left her to the care of an aunt and uncle. That’s why recounts in the book of Mary Curtain, The truths of Chavela (Ocean, 2009), that “he was singing a song that tells the story of a sad girl that was born in song”.
Then, hurt him to remember his childhood, but despite the loneliness and the marginalization of their childhood, Chavela managed to conquer the fame, the glory, the privileges, and the friends in a “weird world” as the song of Jose Alfredo they both liked.
It was that bohemian style of singer-songwriter born in guanajuato that gave line to the interpreter, who gave a little more brandy and drama to the works of the creator of The king, accompanied by just a guitar. But then, so was Chavela Vargas: he felt, and transmitting each one of their interpretations. And then the public filled the theaters and large concert halls, from Mexico wanted to or his native Costa Rica to Madrid and Latin america as a whole.
Authentic as it can and with that freedom that characterized it, Chavela projected his personality by dressing as a man and smoking cigarettes, one after the other, becoming soon a great friend of tequila and a poncho red than, equal to, the distinguished. It was not until the age of 81 when he spoke for the first time of her lesbianism, do so in an interview to the colombian television.
It was, therefore, a character above and below the stage. Fell in love with Frida Kahlo and obtained important teachings of Diego Rivera. His fame began to circulate at the end of the years 50, in the last century, and even sang at the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd in Acapulco. He published his first album recording in 1961.
However, after a stage of great success, the alcohol and the loneliness she was forced to withdraw from the middle, until he returned to the scene between the decades of the 70’s and 80’s, driven by his colleagues Jesusa Rodríguez and Liliana Felipe.
Still a decade ago, on the occasion of his birthday number 90, he received a warm tribute in the Theater of Mexico City, attended by devoted friends, such as Carlos Monsivais, and where the then chief of Government Marcelo Ebrard he hung the medal of Citizen Illustrious.
“He seemed to be convinced not to go to the tribute,” wrote Mary Curtain in his book. “I’m running out of forces”, said the singer. “I am no longer to those old ways”. Then, he pointed out that I had already done everything he wanted to do in life, and that nothing more was expected.
So it was: he departed from this world at the age of 93, but not before letting us performances memorable Black dove, Back back and The Macorinaamong many others, and to be honored by the Recording Academy with the Award for Musical Excellence.
IN THE FILM
Although “he was not born someone mandara”, the German Werner Herzog gave a paper on the tape Scream of stone (1991) and the Almodóvar included interpretations of it in films like High heels (1991); Julie Taymor inserted in Frida (Salma Hayek, 2002), interpreting La llorona and Alejandro González Iñárritu did the same thing in Babel (2006) with the bolero You I got used.