Flor Amargo

A few days ago, my husband forwarded a YouTube video. In the subject line, he wrote: “You’ll enjoy this, in fact, you’ll be fascinated.” Jorge does not usually predict how I’ll feel about what he sends me, and I opened the link not knowing what to expect. OMG! I should have remembered how well he knows my taste in music –  fascinating – does not begin to describe this artist. Her name is Flor Amargo.

Apparently she first gained a wide audience through her participation in one of those TV network-sponsored talent shows. I rarely watch those programs so probably this is why I’ve never seen or heard of her before.  However, I bet that the producers of that show did not know what to do with Flor Amargo,  because she is certainly not a pop princess.

In the clip Jorge sent me, she is playing her accordion and singing, “La Bruja”, inside a moving wagon of the Mexico City metro. At times she had to stop as the train swerved and lurched, but she kept on belting it out. I heard jazz, swing, bebop, rock and roll, and even some sweeping classical chords in her interpretation. “La Bruja” is not her own composition, but she “owns” it.  She’s as authentic as I’ve ever seen.

But something distressed me about the video – her fellow passengers were not happy – in fact they looked extremely displeased with this beautiful and talented young woman who had interrupted their daily commute.

It struck me that lots of us claim to admire women with the guts to be who they really are. We “love” Frida Khalo’s art, Chabela Vargas’ throaty voice, Leonara Carrington’s surreal sculpture, Elena Poniatowska’s  brave writing. These icons are not close enough to touch; we remain at a comfortable distance from their non-conformity and unconventional acts. However, when a young person with the same kind of individuality shows up in our midst, many people do not feel blessed; they feel their personal space has been invaded.

Flor Amargo’s birth name is Emma Mayte Carballo Hernández , and from an early age she showed uncommon talent and determination to perform. She is an actress; she composes, sings and plays multiple instruments. She tap dances too. In an interview she said:

“My message is love, made into music. We are all one, and – what you do to, and for others – you do to, and for yourself.”

She explains that her music is the result of deep self-searching. She finds shelter in music, poetry and her own way of life. She wants to reach her fans but also those, who by chance, happen to hear her voice. (Like me, and maybe you too?)

“Through my messages, I urge others to search inside themselves, find their essence, and share it with as many people as they can, just as I have done. I took painful roads before I got to the point where I could say: I am Flor Amargo.”

Some insist that introspective reflection, soul searching, and the like are a luxury of youth. But others seem to feel it is vital to never stop exploring our deepest recesses, and to use the gifts we find to improve our lives and those of others.

I think the women I mentioned earlier, the unconventional, non-conforming, ones we admire – Frida Khalo, Chabela Vargas, Leonara Carrington, and Elena Poniatowska – have done precisely that.

Maybe several decades from now, the same will be said of Flor Amargo.

Poster for the Flor Amargo concert in Auditorio Nacional

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

16 thoughts on “Flor Amargo

  1. A beautiful singer. It is so unfortunate the passengers appear to have considered her more of a nuisance than free pure pleasurable entertainment.

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  2. Joanna,
    I loved this video and, of course, your insightful musings. To your list of in-your-face women, I would add Amelia Earhart whose “artistry” was expressed very differently but whose courage and contributions could not be questioned. So sad that the women nearest Flor Amarga would not even look up. If you and the women who read your blog were on that Metro car, we’d have surrounded her whooping and clapping I am sure.

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  3. Jorge, Joanna, thank you SO MUCH for exposing us to this artist! Spent last evening watching a bunch of her videos—each one so different, depending on her environment—and today am inspired and brimming with life in a new way! Joanna, grateful for all your insights. “Comfortable distance from their non-conformity and unconventional acts.” You so rock.

    Also, thank you for Vargas, Carrington, and Poniatowska—more thorough investigation already underway—-WOW WOW WOW.

    Grateful.

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  4. Also 🙂 wanted to give you a head’s up about the book I am reading called “ChangeAbility: How Artists, Activists, and Awakeners Navigate Change” by Sharon Weil. Every page reminds me of you. Just in case you might like it/haven’t run into it yet.

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    1. The book sounds like it is written for ME. I will look for it at the library or download it onto my Kindle. Now there’s one change I have been unable to embrace. I cannot get comfortable with electronic readers. I like everything about real books… the feel of them, how they look… most even smell good!

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