It’s November 2nd, El Dia De Los Muertos and today is the day that Mexico is the only place in the world to be. Some years ago I went to the Day Of The Dead festival in Oaxaca in Southern Mexico and having just spent a week in Mexico City with wonderful friends Juan, Ale, Alexis and Tati, I return there today on the wind and sing and dance in the cemeteries with the spirits of the dead.
Joining me is the Costa Rican born, Mexican, cigar smoking, gun toting, heavy drinking, ex -lover of Frida Kahlo – Ranchera singer, the commanding, inimitable original that is Chavela Vargas. Although she made at least 80 albums and was famous in her own country, it wasn’t until 2003 that she debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2003 at the age of 83 thanks to her biggest fan, genius Spanish film maker Pedro Almodóvar.
This from Wikipedia”
At age 81, she publicly declared on Colombian television that she was a lesbian. In 2000, she told the Spanish newspaper El País: “Nobody taught me to be like this, I was born this way. Since I opened my eyes to the world, I have never slept with a man. Never. Just imagine what purity. I have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Below is her classic rendition of the classic Spanish language song La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). It is accompanied by video with images of Frida and Diego. I’m not sure when it was recorded, possibly in 1993 but that seems surprising and if it is recorded so late, I wonder why there are no earlier recordings of the song?
I took the “Catrinas”picture at the opening of an exhibition that Signe and I went to with Juan and Ale in Mexico City in October.
To read about La Catrina go here:
To read about Chavel Vargas go here:
Chavela Vargas died in 2012 at the age of 93.
Below are some short documentaries about the Day Of The Dead, one in Spanish and one in English.