Chavela Vargas

CD 68.856

Enjoy new studio recordings from the 87 year old Mexican legend Chavela Vargas,
performing her great classics, plus a detailed DVD.

Chavela Vargas - CupaimaChavela Vargas' optical trademark is the Jorongo, the Indian poncho, which she has been wearing on stage since the 1960s. Although she was born in 1919 in Costa Rica, Mexico became her real home country. There she has had her greatest successes since the 1950s with her interpretations of the Canciones Rancheras and the Boleros.

Chavela Vargas is a living legend of Mexico. In interviews she always stresses, how much Mexico has made an impact on her. And she doesn’t only talk about the Mexico of the present, but she refers to the whole Mexican culture with its multitude of Indian roots. For many years she has dreamed of recording this album as she felt, that she owed respect to Mexico. She wished to record her songs accompanied by traditional Mexican instruments and to record in the jungle nearby the old Indian ruins. But already the recordings in the studios of the University of Guadalajara were filled with such intense emotions that everybody cried at the end, as recalls producer Jorge Reyes.

Chavela Vargas has melted two worlds in this album – the world of the Boleros and Canciones Rancheras and the prehispanic world of the Mexican indigenous people. The sounds of the Indian instruments such as rattles, Teponatzli (wooden slit-drum), shells and drums fit very well with the Spanish guitars, which as usual accompany Chavela's songs. One of her most famous songs, ‘La Llorona’, tells the story of a mystic figure, which can be traced back to the times of the Azteks and which is still today very present in the minds of Mexican people. This connection of the old Indian culture and the Mexico of today is expressed in the title ‘Cupaima’, which is the indian name for the tiny hair of the corn, when the corn is very tender and young. It is a symbol for the female and it is a name which Chavela Vargas received from an Indian Huichol-shaman. ‘Cupaima’ means ‘the last female shaman’.

Chavela Vargas - Cupaima 2The album Cupaima is a legacy. Every song is a fare-well, Chavela Vargas takes from this world. She gave her last concert in Mexico City in Oktober 2006 in the sold-out Teatro de la Ciudad and finished her 50 year stage career. Chavela Vargas is very worldly and she can shout like a brick-layer, but she has also a mystic charisma, which touches many people. She has passed all ups and downs in her life: the success on stage, the friendship with people like Frida Kahlo and Pedro Almodóvar, the abyss of the alcohol addiction and the escape from these depths. Her songs tell about all this.

Cupaima is being released with a DVD, containing a detailed interview with Chavela Vargas. She speaks about her childhood, her friends like José Alfredo Jimenez and Alvaro Carillo, and she speaks about various experiences: booze-ups on cemetries, surgical interventions, the cabarets of the 1950s, the magic of Mexico, her dog, which loved Fado and she speaks about her most famous songs, telling the stories of ‘Macorina’ and ‘La Llorona’. The DVD also contains live-recordings from the studio-sessions of ‚Macorina’, ‚La Llorona’, ‚Somos’, ‚Piensa en mi’ and ‚Las cosas simples’. The DVD is subtitled in English and the booklet of the album contains all songlyrics in Spanish and English plus detailed English linernotes.

Alexander Trofimow

Other CDs by Chavela Vargas

CD Chavela Vargas - s/t
CD Chavela Vargas - Dos

More info on Chavela Vargas