Adriana Varela

Real name: Lichinchi, Beatriz Adriana
(9 May 1952 - )
Place of birth:
Avellaneda (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Ricardo García Blaya

he is nowadays the star of our city song that shines most, the best seller, the most sought-after recording artist, the one who most often appears in the Buenos Aires venues. She is, as well, the one most resisted by the traditional tango lovers, who regard her as a bad fake of Polaco Goyeneche in his last stage and think that she is rather a speaker than a singer.

On the opposite side, she is admired by many ones that do not often listen to tango —especially those between age 30 and 45— but however are precisely attracted to her style. To these features we have to add her good-looking figure and her sensual personality.

According to my point of view, she does not fall within the stereotype of female tango singers that sprang up in the 70s after Susana Rinaldi.

And this is not an unimportant thing! If we take into account that most female singers followed that slow, interrupted, overemphasized style mixed with a ballad style which was the trademark of La Tana that, of course, the latter used to perform very well and was original at that time. But that way of singing, transferred to the infinity of women that later appeared and made it their own, turns out unbearable to my ears.

I think that Adriana’s case is a similar case to Julio Sosa’s in the 60s. He was widely acclaimed either by those not very close to tango or as well by young people, but he was hardly accepted by the connoisseurs of Buenos Aires music.

I think that both artists, despite the tastes of each other and the estimation made of them, contribute to the spreading of tango in a sociocultural environment generally holding aloof from our beloved music.

What it is true is that today Adriana has a privileged place among her peers even though she has come to tango lately, when she was already rather grown-up.

I came to know her in her early professional stints in the early 90, at the stage of Café Homero alongside great figures like Roberto Goyeneche, the Paya Ángel Díaz and the great pianist Osvaldo Tarantino. Thereafter I watched her on television announced as the new star of tango. Then I knew she was born in Avellaneda (near Buenos Aires).

In 1991 she began her recording career in the Melopea label with a cassette titled Tangos which, among other numbers, includes a happy rendition of “Muñeca brava”. Two years later she recorded a disc with new songs, Maquillaje, in which her previous release was included. In this CD the singer Roberto Goyeneche and the pianist Virgilio Expósito are guest artists. Due to these works she was awarded the Premio ACE for two consecutive years.

Between 1991 and 1996 she recorded three more discs. The first two for Melopea, the other for Nueva Dirección en la Cultura. The first, Corazones perversos, has a very good take of the tango song “Golondrinas” written by Gardel and Le Pera. The second, Tangos de lengue, included only numbers written by Enrique Cadícamo. The third, Tango en vivo, was recorded ‘live’ in June 1996, at the Teatro Coliseo of Buenos Aires.

That same year, she performed at an important recital in the woods of Palermo before an audience of over 50.000 persons. Then she was accompanied by the Uruguayan musician Jaime Roos.

In 1997 she traveled to Brazil where she appeared in the Festival of Porto Alegre with great acclaim. The following year she made her debut in Uruguay at the Teatro Plaza. She performed before a crowded theater and was able to come out successfully of such an important challenge witnessed by an expert, demanding audience.

In July 1998 she conquered Spain. There she made two outdoors stints —during the Festival GREC of Barcelona—, and achieved such an acclaim that people stood up to applaud her for a long time.

A few months later she began recording two new releases: Cuando el río suena, under the artistic direction of Jaime Roos, which includes carnival songs, and Más tango featuring several great musicians in different numbers. Among them I highlight the great bandoneonist Leopoldo Federico and the guitarist Juanjo Domínguez. The writer of this note worked with the singer in the choice of the tango pieces of both discographic releases.

In 1991 she as well appeared in the movies Al corazón directed by Mario Sabato and later in Marcelo Piñeyro's Plata quemada. Furthermore the prestigious Spanish director Carlos Saura chose her to open musically his film Tango.

Now she goes on at full speed and with the complete strength of her temper, after succeeding in the exacting venues of Paris and Madrid.

Her shows at the Teatro Ateneo of Buenos Aires are frequent and it turns out evident that this friend of mine, as much criticized as loved, leads a successful life and I'm happy for that.