The great ranchera songstress Chavela Vargas has died. She was born in Costa Rica, and became one of the most timeless interpreters of what was, and is, a predominantly masculine music genre. She came out as a lesbian at age 80. She was 93 when she died. An LA Times obit is here.
Though Vargas experienced her first flush of fame in the mid-20th century — with an outlaw image she cultivated by wearing men's clothing, packing a pistol and knocking back copious quantities of tequila — she enjoyed a second round of admiration that was perhaps even more intense beginning in the 1990s, with a rediscovery fueled in great part by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, who championed her music for a new generation and included it in some of his films.
It was Almodovar who perhaps best described Vargas' chosen instrument as "la voz aspera de la ternura" — the rough voice of tenderness.
After 40 years of trademark threats and general grousing, the Y.M.C.A. (or at least one international branch of it) is embracing the eponymous Village People song, Y.M.C.A.: it’s commissioned a cover version from singer and D.J. Boy George to promote the organization. The decision to embrace the song – along with queerness and marriage equality […]
Somewhere between “hard to believe” and “of course they do” lurks the music, played over massive PA systems in Pyongyang, by the North Korean regime. Here are two important points of comparison: the unsettling Lavender Town locale in Pokemon, which matches North Korea’s oddly melodic eeriness… … and Chicago’s tornado siren, for sheer nightmare terror […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]