Every country has their iconic voice in music and social awareness.
Singers and musicians have always been flag carriers for causes or for changes in society; marching under a banner as it were is just human nature. Chavela Vargas was all this and more to not only Mexico but quite a bit of Latin America.
She was a strong believer in human rights for all and the inspiration for many other musicians, artists, actors and even athletes. A famous player, Jonathan Gonzales, who left USA Soccer to play in Mexico quoted her famously to the press by saying: “Un mexicano nace donde se le da la gana!” Translated – “A Mexican is born where he wants!”
Simply put, Chavela felt that your heart is where your love, loyalty and identity dwell.
I have a branch of my family that emigrated to Mexico from Europe during the 1920s. As they had been involved in agriculture, they saw that Mexico was becoming a very progressive country with innovations to feeding their people and the world. But, that’s not where my love of Chavela started.
My love for Chavela began when I was working in FM radio in the USA. I had worked in Rock and Pop, but I saw that Jazz was a place where diversity and so many styles and voices were trending and so like my relatives, I went to find new venues and pastures to cultivate. I was lucky enough to get a job at a progressive station that wanted to feature world music as part of its programming. I worked my way up to being music director and host for a special show that became a major force. The show was “Landscapes” and featured Jazz and global music.
One day, a shipment of recordings came in and one of these was a CD of Ranchera music. The music truly spoke of the soul of Mexico and one voice on this collection was amazing and chilling. It was Chavela Vargas who had reignited her career after many years of being silent. The song was “Paloma Negra” and it was haunting and beautiful. I sat in the studio just transfixed and I featured her for several shows over the months after. The response was as magical as she was. My listeners would call and ask for her and they even said that proudly they were now learning Latin Spanish so they could appreciate her further. I thought that was wonderful, but I knew somewhere in my DJ soul that it didn’t matter because they fell in love with her before wanting to understand her completely. The point was that they felt her and embraced her like a warm hug hello and a sad good bye at the same time.
Today, Chavela has become a force of nature once more as she has begun to entwine her way into all cultures again. If you watched the Netflix series “Wednesday” based on the Addams Family, you heard her music. She was playing in the background of several scenes, and you could not miss her soulful lilting voice taking over the atmosphere of the scene.
Now, as to the book I’ve written, I wrote this a year before that show premiered. When I watched and heard her, I knew that there was still a magic that came from her that was unfaded. From there, the book began when a dear friend of mine and the person who illustrated the novel with quite a few cool one-page images to accent the story came into help. That person was Adalisa Zarate, a well-known comic strip artist from Mexico City that I met at San Diego’s comic con.
Ada, my wife, and I hit it off like we had always known one another, and we knew eventually we’d do a project together. You’d expected it to be a comic as we are both comic folks but when we were discussing Mexico/USA history, Chavela’s name came up and I found out that she had been like an aunt to Ada. Ada’s mother was close with Chavela. Ada told me how Chavela and Ada’s family had been LGBT allies and Chavela was the banner carrier for that along with other important social change. I respected that as I had sought to help friends over the years to find their identity or defend the one, they had always known. It’s what humans should do, and love is important and knows no gender or caste. Love is a pure force and is powerful.
So, that was when I decided that Chavela was more than she appeared. Her sense of adventure and the risks she took and the defiance of her beliefs inspired me to see her as an action hero.
A hero of mythical proportions. She struck me as Jane Goodall, Lara Croft, and lady Gaga all rolled into one. She was cagey, resilient, horribly flawed but filled with light and passion. If you want to know what the novel is about, I was able to boil it down to what I put on the book’s back cover.
But, a warning!
Adalisa and I packed so much into his book that a few spare paragraphs don’t do it or our hero justice. You’ll just have to be satisfied with this basic description until you can geta copy which will be first published in Latin Spanish in honor of the people she loved the most and that being the Mexican public. I thank them and all who believe that we are our own destiny and joining with others all around the world can make it truly the global village we all so truly want.
The book will be available to the public soon. Keep coming back here and when it is mass market available, I’ll give out all details. One last thing, no one has rights to her character or story besides Adalisa and me, so if you want the real deal, this is the place to come.
Be well and keep faith!
Chavela, Chocolate and Cthulhu” back cover synopsis:
One thing about Chavela thought Diana Hutchinson (who was Chavela’s latest romantic interest), was that the hard drinking and boisterous Ranchera singer had no filter when dealing with people. If she thought something, it was out of her brain and on her tongue with no delay. Her candor was refreshing and assured you that you always knew where you stood with her, but Diana now understood why Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s husband and a great artist too) had said that Chavela’s greatest weapon was her mouth and not her pistol or the half dozen razor edged knives she had stashed under her red jorongo.
In 1940’s Mexico, Nazi spies with their SS troopers discover a way to mix the old-world magic of ancient indigenous gods and vicious were creatures with new world science. Their plan was to try and end the newly formed partnership between the United States and Mexico. All this was for the glory of the deadly dangerous third Reich and global fascism.
With the help of Chavela Vargas, a rising star of Mexican music and social change, a young academic student who was the niece of the current Vice president of the US under Franklin Roosevelt who are about to form a passionate and powerful team that will take them on thrilling journey not only through Mexico but to regions beyond our universe. Fate is throws them into the very jaws or power mad nihilists and the dark entities they have vowed to serve.