Chavela Vargas


August 19, 2022

Isabel Vargas Lizano (San Joaquín de Flores, Costa Rica, April 17, 1919 - Cuernavaca, Mexico, August 5, 2012) was a Mexican singer of Costa Rican origin. In Mexico, the country of which she obtained the nationality, she resided for more than seven decades, where she was known artistically as Chavela Vargas.


Born in Costa Rica, daughter of Francisco Vargas and Herminia Lizano, she was baptized in the Parish of Guadalupe on July 15, 1919 with the name María Isabel Anita Carmen de Jesús. The ranchera song is a very masculine and sensual musical genre, usually sung by men. Chavela used to sing songs usually performed by men about his desire for women. She dressed like a man, smoked tobacco, drank heavily, carried a gun and was recognized by her distinctive red coat. In an interview for Colombian television in 2000, she openly expressed that she was a lesbian. Chavela Vargas moved to Mexico when she was 17 and later adopted Mexican nationality. For many years he sang in the streets until he became a professional singer in his thirties, working with José Alfredo Jiménez, singer and composer of most of his hits. His first album was published in 1961 and since then he has recorded more than eighty albums. He retired in the late 1970s and returned in 1991. She appeared in the Julie Taymor film, Frida, singing her classics "La Llorona" and "Paloma negra". In 2004, at the age of 85, he presented the album A Carnegie Hall. He also appeared in Babel, the film by Alejandro González Iñárritu, singing Tú me acostumbraste, bolero by Frank Domínguez. The last years of her life were spent in Tepoztlán, in the State of Morelos, at the foot of the Tepozteco Hill with whom she said she reasoned every morning. During 2009, on the occasion of her 90th birthday, the Government of Mexico City paid her a tribute by naming her a distinguished citizen. At this event, multiple personalities from the artistic, cultural and journalistic fields of Latin America were presented, in person and via video, including the singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas, the performer Eugenia León, the writer Carlos Monsiváis , the journalist Carmen Aristegui and her friends Joaquín Sabina and Pedro Almodóvar. It appears immortalized in the song Por el boulevard de los sueños rotos by Joaquín Sabina and Álvaro Urquijo. In December 2009, in co-authorship with María Cortina, the book Les veritas de Chavela was published, which narrates in the form of an interview, the most transcendent events of the singer's life. In April 2010, at the age of 91, he presented his most recent album Por Mi Culpa, which includes duets with his great friends: Eugenia León, Lila Downs, Joaquín Sabina, La Negra Chagra and Mario Ávila. In October 2010, he presented himself, as part of the International Book Fair in Mexico City, in a concert with La Negra Chagra and managed to gather hundreds of people for the relaunch of his book and album. In April 2012, at the age of 93, he released his album-book "Luna Grande", in which he revives, as a tribute, important poems by the Spanish writer Federico García Lorca and reviews some of his greatest successes. He died on August 5, 2012 at the age of 93, due to respiratory problems.


He has received, among others, the following recognitions: 2000 Order of Isabel the Catholic. 2007 Latin Grammy Complutense University of Madrid Gold Medal. Medal of merit from the University of Alcalá d'Henares. Hostess of Honor from Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2009 Distinguished Citizen of Mexico City.


The Spoken Corridor Think of me, 1991 Boleros, 1991 He also collaborated on the Kika Soundtrack with: "Luz de luna" 1993 Sentimiento de México (vol. 1), 1995 From Mexico and the world, 1995