One of the biggest tango stars of today is Argentine tango singer Adrian Varela. She was born Beatriz Adriana Lichinchi on 9 May 1952 in Avellaneda. She is regarded as a talented tango performer and is known for singing both beautifully and sensually. A review by the BBC compares Varela to the Portuguese singer Mariza and no other contemporary female tango singer can rival Varela for sheer style and versatility.
Varela’s career launched in 1991 with a cassette tape called “Tangos.” Two years later, in 1993, she released her second album “Maquillaje” (“Makeup”). This record is particularly notable for her work with renowned tango artists, namely Roberto Goyeneche and pianist Virgilio Expositio. “Maquillaje” would go on to win the ACE (Asociación de Cronistas del Espectáculo or “Association of Show Writers”) awards for two years in a row. The ACE Award is a film and theatre award of Argentina that began in 1992.
Although she received some strong resistance from tango traditionalists, Varela’s fame continued to rise steadily. Between 1991 and 1996, she recorded three more albums: “Corazones Perversos (Perverse Hearts)”, “Tangos De Lengue – Varela Canta A Cadícamo“, and “Tango En Vivo (Live Tango).” The latter was recorded live on June 1996 at the Coliseo Theatre in Buenos Aires. From 1996 to 1998, she grew even more in popularity. She performed at famous festivals, such as “La Mar De Músicas (The Sea of Music)” in Cartagena, the Porto Alegre festival, and the Grec Festival in Barcelona. At the Grec Festival, Varela received a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes. She also held a recital in the woods of Palermo before an audience of 50,000.
Varela later participated in the Bajofondo Tango Club, an alternative electro-tango group. As lead singer, her notable performances with them include “Perfume” and “Mi Corazón (My Heart).” The group are considered tango innovators. In 1998, Varela joined the group Sexteto Mayor and recorded “Trottoirs de Buenos Aires.” Varela also enjoyed fame in other parts of the world. In 2001, she performed at the Chaillot National Theater in Paris and at Teatro Lope de Vega in Madrid. In 2002, Varela was awarded the Carlos Gardel Award for Best Female Artist.
The tango singer resumed her solo career in 1999. Under the artistic direction of Uruguayan Jaime Roos, Varela formed the album “Cuando El Río Suena (When The River Sounds).” This album explored musical styles and is considered Varela’s international debut. Songs featured were written by José Maria and Pascual Contursi, Homero Expósito, Mariano Mores, and Roberto Goyeneche. In 2005, she released an album, “Encaje (Lace),” which included performances at the Ópera Theater in Buenos Aires. Varela won her second Carlos Gardel award in 2007 and that same year, held two performances in Santiago de Chile with the orchestra La Selección Mayor composed by great musicians of the genre and led by maestro Lepoldo Federico. Her latest album, called “Adriana Varela y piano” was released in 2014 with accompaniment by pianist Marcelo Macri.
Varela is also an occasional actress, having minor roles in films such as “Al Corazón (To The Heart)”, directed by Mario Sábato, and in Marcelo Piñeyro’s “Plata Quemada (Burnt Silver).”