IAHSA wanted to share the stories of Chavela Vargas and Las Supremas de Móstoles, who are changing traditional views of age through music.

At 91 years old, Chavela Vargas, a well-known Costa Rican singer, continues to have a thriving music career. Vargas rose to prominence in the 1970’s as a singer of Mexican rancheras, boleros and corridos. These songs are like miniature operas, with over-the-top expressions of tragedy, heartbreak and redemption.  For many, her interpretations of these songs are the versions that best define the power of these pieces.  According to NPR’s All things Considered: “Vargas challenged mainstream Mexican morals by dressing as a man, smoking cigars and carrying — and shooting — pistols.  She caused sensations with her public liaisons with women, including a brief affair with painter Frida Kahlo, and she purposely did not change the gender in songs written by Mexico’s most famous male songwriters”.  Vargas is best known for her interpretation of “Macorina”, a song about a lesbian love-affair, a of video of which is included below.  She has just begun working on a project of Argentine tangos.

At the other side of the Atlantic, the Spanish group  Las Supremas de Móstoles (The Supremes from Mostoles) rose to fame when they competed to become Spain’s representatives to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005.  The group’s three members Susi, Vicky and Luisi, had long careers as back-up singers for international sensations such as Paulina Rubio and Los Del Rio.  However, their careers took off when, in their “late middle-age”, they began performing songs with themes traditionally associated with ageing women, such as martial problems, issues with self-image and retirement, while maintaining a performance image that would normally be associated with “teen-pop” acts.  A video of their most famous song, “Eres un Enfermo” is included below.  Their most recent recording, Philadelphia Disco Party, includes covers by the group of famous Disco performances.

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