Chelique Sarabia, a beloved teacher of popular music, dies | Climax (2023)

Chelique Sarabia, one of the most beloved artists of Venezuelan popular song, passed away on the night of this Wednesday, February 16, as a result of severe health complications, in Puerto La Cruz, the city where the composer and music producer resided, confirmed their family and friends.

«Yes friends, dear Chelique Sarabia passed away tonight. An immense sadness overwhelms us. Chelique was a friend", reported the maestro Miguel Delgado Estévez, guitarist and composer who accompanied him many times on stage.

He was the author of a vast and important musical work, whose greatest expression is "Ansiedad", one of the best-known Venezuelan songs in the world, since it was popularized worldwide by the American vocalist Nat King Cole and later incorporated into his repertoire by numerous international luminaries and our country.

Sarabia, who would be 82 years old on March 13, at the beginning of last December saw a worsening of the health problems that he had been feeling for months, for which he had to be hospitalized in his own home, to undergo intensive and rigorous medical treatment. .

On January 27, they transferred him to the Anzoátegui Specialty Center to give him a blood transfusion, which his doctors considered very necessary to attack the acute weakness that afflicted him, after which they transferred him to his home to continue with his therapy. but his state of health continued to deteriorate.

In addition to "Anxiety" he wrote other songs that became very popular, such as "In this country", "When I don't know about you" and "Don't bite your lips. He also stood out as a composer of advertising jingles. In this facet he made the music for the electoral campaign of Carlos Andrés Pérez, in 1973 and composed for the candidate “Ese hombre si camina”, considered one of the most famous political jingles of all time.

In Memorial

Sarabia, a native of La Asunción, Margarita Island, was much loved for his witty humor and clear personality, with which he loved to celebrate life.

As a tribute, inthe stimulusToday we edited this review and interview (one of the last ones he gave) published on February 28, 2020 in our Clímax magazine.

a song with history

Soon to reach his 80th birthday (he will celebrate them on March 13), Chelique Sarabia also celebrates the 65th ofAnxiety, his most emblematic song and one of the most famous compositions of the Venezuelan repertoire in the world. Its author, who created it in 1955, when he was barely 15 years old, tells how the inspiration to write it arose.

Chelique Sarabia had just arrived in Caracas from San Tomé, an Anzoatiguense oil field, to study at the Industrial Technical School. With the nostalgia of a newcomer, he went to the cinema one day and saw a Mexican film, with Pedro Infante and Libertad Lamarque, entitledAnxiety. Saddened by the distance from his and his girlfriend's home, he arrived at the student residence where he lived and began to tear up his four to compose a song, which he ended up naming after the film he had just seen. . By then he already had several compositions to his credit and what he most wanted was to make them known. From his residence in Puerto La Cruz, Chelique recalls how he did it:

-An aunt of mine lived on Calle del Medio del Prado de María and I would spend the weekends with her. Her husband had a trinket shop, next door was a barbershop. Through a friend, I found out that Rafael Montaño, one of the most famous singers of the time, went regularly to that barbershop, so I began to guard him every Saturday, until I succeeded. He lived nearby, on the main street of Prado de María. We went to his house and I, accompanied by a four, made him listen to some of my songs and he choseAnxiety”.

Chelique Sarabia, a beloved teacher of popular music, dies | Climax (1)

lucky chance

But there was a detail to correct. Montaño had just signed an exclusive contract with Juan Vicente Torrealba, although he still had a record pending with the Navy captain and composer Ramón Sanoja Medina (the author ofsea ​​and plain), who was making an institutional album of that military component to give it away for Christmas. “But until then he had only 11 songs out of the 12 that the LP should have and since the twelfth did not arrive, due to the rush to deliver the record, he spoke with the captain and authorized him to include mine, since he had not had time to write the missing topic. I went back the following Saturday and Rafael gave me the good news, but asAnxietyit had three parts, like the Venezuelan waltzes of that time, he asked me to reduce it to two. I did so and he recorded it ”.

Armando Palacios, fromRadio Directions, hedisc-jockeyThe most important country in the country at that time, he had an agreement to promote the music of Juan Vicente Torrealba, but he had an impasse with him and he said that he was going to show him that he was not the only one who could make that type of popular music with Venezuelan roots, for which he not only promoted and hitAnxietywith Rafael Montaño, but also had Alfredo Sadel, Adilia Castillo and Lucho Gatica record it, the latter on one of his visits to our country. Thus the song by Chelique Sarabia took flight.

The ultimate support

-Everything didn't stop there −reports Chelique−. Later it was recorded by Nat King Cole and the person responsible for doing so was Renny Ottolina. The singer arrived in Venezuela on a continental goodwill tour sponsored by the State Department. His mission was to take a song from each country to record it on an album in Spanish, which would be calledTo My Friends(To my friends). The day she showed upRenny's Show, I was replacing, as technical director, George Stone, who was on vacation. I remember Renny walking into the broadcast booth with him and introducing him to me. He told her that I had a very good song calledAnxiety. She made him listen to it and Cole immediately chose her for her record. Her version proved immensely popular around the world. Later, other singers would later record it, such as Roberto Yanés, Daniel Riolobos and Sarita Montiel, among many others. So far there are almost a thousand versions.

Chelique Sarabia, a beloved teacher of popular music, dies | Climax (2)

-Which of these versions do you like the most?

-I could tell you about the one that seems most interesting to me, which is the one by Miguel Ríos, since he did it in blues rhythm, with a choir and without an orchestra. At first, when they told me that he was going to record it, I was scared. Since he was a hard rocker, I thought he would tear her apart. I never imagined that he would do the most sublime of all versions, the furthest from the original Venezuelan waltz.

-Is it your favorite song?

-In each period of my life there is a significant song, likemy own self,When I don't know about you,don't bite your lipsycutting cane, in addition toAnxiety. Each represents an important moment for me.

talent scout

Chelique Sarabia, whose real name is José Enrique Sarabia, was born in La Asunción, Nueva Esparta state, on March 13, 1940. She discovered and launched the sisters Rosa Virginia and María Teresa Chacín, as well as Cherry Navarro, to stardom. But his great muse has been Rosa Virginia, as both starred in the composer's most fruitful period, with songs that not a few connoisseurs consider the best in his extensive repertoire. The story of their meeting begins at the Central University of Venezuela. Everything happened almost by chance, according to what the singer told Federico Pacanins in his bookIn first person. Fifteen profiles of 20th century music from Caracas.

The sweetest voice of Venezuela

The year was 1958 and the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez had just fallen. In the ucevistas corridors there was an overflowing enthusiasm for the recently recovered democracy. The electoral campaign to choose the students who would integrate the board of the Federation of University Centers (FCU) was in full swing. One day, in the auditorium of the Faculty of Humanities, a musical festival was held, as part of the campaign, animated by the Chelique Sarabia ensemble, who was just beginning his musical career and was a student at the Industrial Technical School.

At one point in the act, the author ofAnxietyThey asked a girl from the audience to sing with them, to which the group of students that Rosa Virginia was in began to encourage her to get on stage. She did so, and when they finished, Chelique proposed to record a record. The composer began to write songs for her. Between author and interpreter a truly singular symbiosis was produced, and even today those themes remain as testimony of a time in which both fed each other with their art: Rosa Virginia with her warm and suggestive voice, full of unexpected romantic nuances, and Chelique as the brilliant composer who knew how to create a series of songs for his muse that remarkably matched his talent as a great vocalist. The formula could not be more successful.

This is how legendary songs likeWhen I don't know about you” −the singer's letter of introduction par excellence−,Help me,I need to think,my own self,I need you,Today I have cried again,Rumor of a waterfall,I could not forget you,if you leave me,The moment has comeand many others.

Chelique Sarabia, a beloved teacher of popular music, dies | Climax (3)

It must be said that the initial album, titledyouthful soulIt did not have the expected impact. It was his second production,José Enrique Sarabia, his music and his new style, from 1959, the one that took them to the crest of the wave.

-That record -says Rosa Virginia- everyone knew it asWhen I don't know about you. A first edition was followed by another, and another... later it was the recording ofAnxiety−there was already a version by Rafael Montaño− and a very satisfactory etcetera of 20long plays.

With that interpretive ability and proverbial feeling when singing those distinctive romantic songs, thedisc-jockeysand radio announcers did not take long to baptize the artist as "The sweetest voice of Venezuela".

Maria Theresa and Cherry

Already consecrated Rosa Virginia, it would be the turn of her younger sister, María Teresa, whom the composer launched in 1962, first as a rock and roll and bossa nova interpreter, and later as a singer of Venezuelan music. Over time, she would consolidate her art in this facet, which had one of her brightest moments when she was awarded the Latin Grammy in 2012 for the albumsing stories. Chelique Sarabia's greatest hits with the singer areIn this country, beyond tendernessythe canoeist.

Cherry Navarro was heard by Luis Guillermo Rangel, a cuatrista from Chelique's group, at Club del Twist, a venue in Altamira where new artists sang at the beginning of the 60s.

Rangel was so impressed that he took it to Chelique Sarabia, who composed it for him.Orinoco down the river, How I love you, Chinita de MaracaiboyConcrete, themes that became successful. On television, she debuted on Radio Caracas Televisión, no less than onRenny's Show.

Chelique also stood out as a composer of advertising jingles. It was in this facet that he was hired by the Acción Democrática party to make music for the electoral campaign of Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1973. He composed for the candidateThat man does walk, considered one of the most famous political jingles of all time.

Chelique Sarabia, a beloved teacher of popular music, dies | Climax (4)

A Grammy for Excellence

In 2015, Chelique was awarded the Latin Grammy for Musical Excellence. When distinguishing him with his most important award, the Latin Recording Academy of the United States highlighted that "the Venezuelan composer has a catalog of more than 1000 songs, including the anthemAnxiety, popularized by Nat King Cole” and one of the most famous Venezuelan songs in the world.

The composer has lived for several years in Lechería, Puerto La Cruz, where he hosts a radio program and actively participates in various citizen initiatives. He also continues to compose.

Original interpreters of his most famous songs

Rosa Virginia Chacin: When I don't know about you,Help me,I need you, a moment with you,Taste of I don't know what, I no longer miss your absence,Today I have cried again.

Maria Teresa Chacin:the canoeist,In this country.

Cherry Navarro: downstream orinoco,As I love you,Chinita from Maracaibo,Concrete.

Chucho Hazelnut: Don't bite your lips.

Marco Antonio Muniz: My own self.

Mr. Calypso (other ego of Chelique): Cutting cane.

Armand Manzanero:Lost in nostalgia.


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