Monday, May 14, 2018

Chavela in Kansas City

Chavela in Kansas City
By Xánath Caraza

In the words of Jackie Madrigal, President of UMKC’s Friends of the Library:

“Before all of the hipsters started painting on unibrows and putting flowers in their hair, I adored/adore Frida Kahlo. I’ve always admired her work and her life’s story because I think it very much represents the struggles of Chicanas in particular. Attempting to balance contrasting cultures/languages/family/men, and in the end just saying f*** it, I’ll just be me. So, in that sense, her work has always spoken to me.

On the flip side, I was very unfamiliar with Chavela’s work. I learned about her when I wondered, “Who is that older woman with the raspy voice singing ‘La Llorona’ in the Frida movie?”

That is what began my journey with Chavela. The intersection of their lives and the admiration of women in its purest essence really resonated with me. She broke stereotypes; did the unexpected, and that is what made her great. That is what makes most women great.

Flash forward a few years when the Chavela documentary was released. I saw how there were showings all over the Southwest, which is typical when it comes to films focused on Mexican/Latinx archetypes. Frankly I was tired of it. There is a large Latinx population in Kansas City and with the work we are trying to accomplish with UMKC’s Friends of the Library, I saw no reason why we couldn’t bring the film to Kansas City.

I reached out to Music Box Films to see if this was a viable idea and it was. Soon after, I spoke with Nicole Leone, Director of Advancement and External Relations at UMKC, about it, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

El 9 de abril pasado en el UMKC Student Union Theater la presentación de ‘Chavela’ al público de Kansas City se consolidó.  Antes de la proyección, Jackie Madrigal nos dio la bienvenida a todos en la audiencia.  Tuve la fortuna de haber sido invitada a hablar brevemente sobre Chavela, su vida y cómo ha influido a otros artistas, no sólo en México sino en el mundo entero. Freda Cooper continuó con el programa e interpretó algunas canciones que Chavela solía presentar y que la hicieron famosa. 

El documental fue todo un éxito con el público de Kansas City.  Los aplausos, y algunas lágrimas, no se dejaron esperar.

Más de estos proyectos, Jackie Madrigal y Nicole Leone.

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