The bitter voice of tenderness

Chavela vargas2

"esta noche no voy a rogarte
esta noche te vas de veras
que difícil tratar de olvidarte
sin que sienta que ya no me quieras

nada me han enseñado los años
siempre caigo en los mismos errores
otra vez a brindar con extraños
y a llorar por los mismos dolores"

Chavela Vargas:
The bitter voice of tenderness

She left her native Costa Rica at 14 because there were so few musical career opportunities and sought refuge in Mexico. For many years she sang in the streets but in her thirties she became a professional singer. Her passionate voice, rough yet tender and her fearlessness, brought her to the public’s attention in Mexico in the late 50s. She dressed in men’s clothing, smoked cigars, carried a gun and chased women in a time when this was unimaginable. She openly pursued women with "rancheras", dramatic Mexican songs about love and jealousy until then only sung by men. In her mouth, they became a transgressive and seductive force.

In the 80’s, art seemed to imitate life and Vargas drowned the sorrows of a broken heart in liters of tequila. She remained submerged in an alcohol-fueled delirium for the next 10 years, after which she returned to the public, taking both stage and screen by storm. "I have emerged from Hell through my songs." she declared.

Her strong personality, her amazing voice and her appetite for life turned her into a mythical figure and an inspiration and muse to countless artists.

"A woman has many lives to live. In order to do so many things and break so many limits, as I’ve done, one has to be very much a woman. At the end it will be told."

michèle voltaire marcelin


Ya me canso de llorar y no amanece
Yo no se si maldecirte o por ti rezar,
Tengo miedo de buscarte y encontrarte
Donde me aseguran mis amigos que te vas.
Hay momentos en que quisiera mejor rajarme
Pa’arrancarme ya los clavos de mi penar,
Pero mis ojos se mueren sin mirar tus ojos
Y mi cariño hoy con locura te vuelve a buscar.
Y agarraste por tu cuenta la parranda,
Paloma negra, paloma negra dónde estarás
Ya no juegues con mi honra parrandera,
si tus caricias han de ser mías y de nadie más.
Y aunque te amo con locura ya no vuelvas,
Paloma negra tu eres la causa de mi sufrir,
Quiero ser libre, vivir mi vida con quien yo quiera,
Dios dame fuerzas que me estoy muriendo por irla a buscar.

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