Source: The Washington Post
At the peak of her initial popularity during the 1950s, Mexican singer Chavela Vargas wore trousers and a poncho as she huskily crooned lost-love ballads to women. Yet she didn’t announce that she was a lesbian until 2000, at age 81, after a comeback bolstered by Spanish auteur — and subculture champion — Pedro Almodóvar.
In between, as the capable documentary “Chavela” recounts, Vargas spent years in musical obscurity and personal anguish.
Isabel Vargas Lizano was born in Costa Rica to pious parents who were embarrassed by their boyish daughter. She ran away to Mexico City to sing on the streets, like kindred spirit Edith Piaf in Paris.
Turning to the “canción ranchero” style, Vargas became known for her interpretations of José Alfredo Jiménez’s yearning love songs, performed without altering the female pronouns.
Read the story at The Washington Post.
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