Chavela Vargas dies at 93; preeminent ranchera songstress

The Los Angeles Times, 8/06/2012

Chavela Vargas, a preeminent interpreter of the music of loss and longing known as ranchera, who defiantly shattered gender stereotypes and blazed a legendary path through 20th century Mexican popular culture, has died. She was 93.

Often accompanied by stark, minimal guitars, Vargas’ voice could shift expertly between jarringly different moods, often within the brackets of a single song — from intimately confessional to brightly hopeful to searingly wounded. The late Mexican essayist Carlos Monsivais wrote that Vargas knew “how to express the desolation of the rancheras with the radical nakedness of the blues.”

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