On September 15, 2003, an adoring and sold-out Carnegie Hall audience gathered to pay tribute to a true legend and revolutionary. Everyone in attendance was aware of the magic and history on that stage, and was in awe of how an 84-year old woman making her Carnegie Hall debut wielded fearlessness and heartache to command the venue. Fearlessness is what brought her to the public's attention in Mexico in the late '50s when she dressed in men's clothing, smoked cigars, carried a gun, and chased women in a time when this was unimaginable. She openly seduced women with "Rancheras", Mexican folk songs of love and loss intended to be sung by men that became a transgressive force in her mouth. She's been an inspiration and muse to countless artists. This special collector’s edition is a custom CD Digipak with foil embossed double cover with a 20 page book containing original illustrations by Rafael Esquer and lyrics in Spanish with English translations. The liner notes are written by Carlos Monsivais, one of Mexico’s leading scholars and cultural critics and this year’s winner of Mexico’s highest award: The National Arts and Sciences Award. This unique package includes 10 postcards with beautiful images of Chavela.
Chavela Vargas's voice isn't technically beautiful, per se. It doesn't soar upon lovely melodies or dance among cooing choruses. Rather, the iconic singer's vocals became an integral part of whatever it is she is singing, a natural extension of the music. Vargas' unique approach to a song makes this collection, recorded in September 2003 at Carnegie Hill in New York City, an otherworldly experience. Her singing--withered by love, loss and a decidedly uncommon life--takes root within the rapturous lyrics of Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Agustin Lara, and Cuco Sanchez, among others. The partnership blossoms and grows, often twisting and turning through anger, tears and moments of sheer joy. Vargas lets out pleading cries and guttural growls that make each song entirely her own. Throughout the concert--and amid the disc's lush artwork--Vargas stands as a captivating goddess. Her moments of humanity, however (apologizing for not speaking English, lavishing gushing praise on a few songs) make the experience all the more captivating. --Joey Guerra
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