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Chavela Live at Carnegie Hall

Client Tommy Boy Records
Product Music packaging
Medium Print
Description

Project Brief

On September 15, 2003, Carnegie Hall was sold out. An adoring audience packed its seats to pay tribute to a true legend and revolutionary of Mexican song: the octogenarian Chavela Vargas. Everyone in attendance that night was aware of the magic and history being made on stage. Chavela Vargas, making her Carnegie Hall debut at 84, commanded the venue with the same fiery defiance, heartache, and passion that infuse her interpretation of the ranchera.

Approach

In its design for the packaging for this landmark concert CD, Alfalfa Studio sought to capture the extremes that characterize Chavela’s life and music—sinner and saint—and to celebrate her in both forms as a venerated muse to countless artists, including Alfalfa’s founder Rafael Esquer himself. Growing up in Mexico, Esquer fondly remembers his mother singing at home to Chavela’s music. His design for the CD blends the orchid (a sensual symbol of feminine power and sexuality) with references to religion, traditional legend, and Mexican kitsch iconography.

Outcome

A special collector’s edition, the Digipak has a foil embossed double cover. It contains a 20-page book of original illustrations by Esquer, each of which is paired with an excerpt of Chavela’s lyrics (plus English translation). The liner notes are by Carlos Monsivais, one of Mexico’s leading scholars and cultural critics.

The covers have become iconic: Most recently, the Latin Grammy® Awards used them when giving Chavela Vargas a Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, it received the Communication Arts Award and was featured in Communication Arts magazine.

Service Provided

Image Making
Music Packaging
Editorial Design

Category
Expertise
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