About Sylvia Rexach
In Puerto Rico, Rexach has attained cult status. Born in 1922 into a well-off family, Rexach was a self taught pianist and guitarist. A fiercely independent woman, Rexach eschewed the traditional path then available to women, and embraced the lifestyle of San Juan’s bohemia of which she became a central character. She began to compose and write poetry in her teenage years and went on to form the first Puerto Rican all female band, Las Damiselas. She contributed a regular column to El Diario de Puerto Rico, wrote radio skits in which she also acted and was one of the founders of SPACEM, the Puerto Rican Society of Authors and Composers.
Rexach sometimes performed her own songs accompanied by guitarist Tuti Umpierre but she never really considered herself a singer. Still, the one record we have of her singing her own songs is a masterpiece of raw emotion and intimacy, comparable in intensity to some of the work or Chavela Vargas or Violeta Parra .
Sylvia Rexach died in 1961, at the age of 39, from stomach cancer. Her songs have since become part or the Puerto Rican canon, but she remains mostly unknown outside of her native island.
The Chicago Latin Jazz Festival and SRBCC partner to present…
My Music is Who I Am