mourning chavela, la voz áspera de la ternura

August 5, 2012

i was going to write one of my typical posts,
but i just found out that one of my heroines, chavela vargas, died today.
somehow my swatch just doesn’t seem that important anymore.

i’m having a lot of trouble articulating why i feel what i feel. it seems rather absurd, really, that upon reading of her death, i burst into tears. it makes no sense that one of mexico’s most beloved (and controversial) singers would be a hero to a white dude from michigan who doesn’t even speak spanish. but there’s just something about her life and music that . . . *sigh* i don’t know. she was a person who lived a hard, beautiful life and i admired her for it. for whatever reason, she meant something to me.

if you listen to paloma negra, and you don’t feel anything, i could never hope explain it to you. that’s the only way i can think to put it.

chavela vargas was one of the 20th century’s bravest, most important lesbians, and i worry history will forget that.
at least i won’t.

7 Responses to “mourning chavela, la voz áspera de la ternura”

  1. cauchy09 Says:

    inspiration and admiration don’t need a reason. it’s real. go ahead and feel it. condolences.

  2. Sally at Rivendale Farms Says:

    I’ve never listened to her music, but will now – what an amazing face in those pictures. And cauchy09 put it perfectly, when someone touches you deeply it doesn’t need a reason.

  3. Terrie Says:

    An inspiring and moving songstress. Wow, thanks to you one more being will remember Chavela!

  4. Anonymous, too Says:

    The extremes and connections to be heard in that one song amazed me. Sounds like she may have been influenced by Edith Piaf and grand opera — and it also sounds like she may have inspired Linda Ronstadt’s Spanish-language recordings and Marianne Faithfull’s more bitter, even violent, songs.

    Judging from the photos and the song, Chavela seems to have been one helluva dame. I think I’ll check out some of her other work.


  5. Thanks for bringing her to my attention.

  6. jenny w Says:

    oh my gosh, i still listen to that spanish mix you made me all the time.

  7. Rosie Says:

    I felt the same way… I regret not discovering her sooner and getting a chance to see her perform in person. She was a woman like no other. And I too am afraid she will get forgotten… Listening to a lot of her songs especially Paloma Negra brings goose bumps to my arms… Lila Downs is good but there will only be one Chavela. Que Viva Chavela!


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