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Latin Roots: Edna Vazquez

Edna Vazquez performs upstairs at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
Tiana Timmerberg
/
WXPN
Edna Vazquez performs upstairs at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Edna Vazquez grew up in Jalisco, Mexico — the same place that gave birth to mariachi music. Although the style was traditionally reserved for men, in 1998 Vazquez (who now lives in Portland, Ore.) became one of the first female mariachi vocalists and vihuela players in the Pacific Northwest. Since then, she has earned hard-won respect for her spectacular guitar playing and passionate, forceful vocals.

In this stirring performance for Latin Roots, Vazquez opens up about some of the sources of pain behind her passion, including being banished from Mexico by her family after they discovered she was gay. You might be as blown away by her clarity and strength in talking about those hardships as you will be by her musicianship as she plays songs from her latest record, Sola Soy.

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Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.
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