Playing tracks by
Chavela Vargas, CV, C.V., C. Vargas, The Chieftains with Chavela Vargas & Ry Cooder and more.
Pa’ los gringos que no saben:
Vargas moved to Mexico as a teenager, after a loveless childhood in Costa Rica.
Speaking about her family she once said: "I never got to know my grandparents. My parents I got to know better than I would have liked. They never loved me and when they divorced, I stayed with my uncles, may they burn in hell!"
In Mexico, Vargas sang in bars, but did not gain fame until she was in her thirties.
By then, she had embraced the Mexican genre of rancheras and made it her own.
Rancheras, traditional songs about love and loss, had mainly been performed by men.
Vargas, with her deep and rugged voice, performed the songs dressed as a man, smoking cigars, and swigging from a bottle of tequila.
Her unique style caught the attention of Mexico's intelligentsia.
She became a close friend of painter Frida Kahlo, muralist Diego Rivera and writer Juan Rulfo.