Sylvia Rexach at 100 Years


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This year we commemorate 100 years of Sylvia Rexach‘s birthday, and what a better way to do it by highlighting her achievements on International Women’s Day.

A True Latina Pioneer

Sylvia was a trailblazing woman and a versatile artist that lived life so intensely, that it almost seemed God told her early in her life that she would have a short one. It seems she lived intensely to make the most out of it!

Sylvia Rexach only lived 39 years. In that short lifetime, she learned to play the piano and the guitar became a singer-songwriter, a poet, a journalist, an actress, and a radio & television comedy script-writer (for no others than Ramon Rivero “Diplo” and Tommy Muñiz).

She formed the first all-female music band in Puerto Rico, called “Las Damiselas”. It started as a “combo”, then became a quartet, and then a trio. They performed all around Puerto Rico and New York from the early ’40s through the ’50s. If women today still have issues in show business, imagine how hard it must have been for an all-female group back in the ’40s!

Having performed so many roles as an artist, she got to know the many aspects of that kind of life. In her newspaper column “A Sotto Voce” (at low voice) she reflected on that…

…The true artist laughs and cries with ease, thinks he's not good enough, even when the public acclaims him as the best, …is generous, never has a cent, is not worried about material things, is free from inhibitions, doesn't care much for what others may say, doesn't care for the private life of his peers, is restless and expressive, almost never understands things of numbers, nor of business, won't tolerate a job behind a desk, can fall in and out of love with ease, but only has one love at a time; and…doesn't feel jealous of other true artists, but instead feels admiration for them…

Sylvia Rexach Singer-Songwriter

Sylvia Rexach formed the Puerto Rican Society of Music Authors, Composers, and Editors to look after the interests of these groups of artists. Always a respectful woman and always looking for justice and the rights of the working class.

What I Learned from Sylvia Rexach

To me, more than a talented artist for which she’s mostly known, Sylvia represents a person determined to make a difference doing what she loves, even if to do so she must break stereotypes and open new ground for others to follow.

Born 100 years ago, we still remember and honor the legacy Sylvia Rexach left in the 39 years she was among us.

Two Versions of Alma Adentro

To finish with a taste of Sylvia Rexach, I’m adding two versions of her classic song “Alma Adentro”. The first one is performed by Sylvia herself, with the guitar of Tuti Umpierre. The second version is of Puerto Rican jazz saxophonist and bandleader Miguel Zenon, included in his album “Alma Adentro: the Puerto Rican Songbook”. Enjoy!

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1 Comment
  1. Ralph Brown says

    thank you, I knew nothing about her. What a fantastic quotation !

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