Draft:Helenita Vargas

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Helenita Vargas
Also known asLa Ronca De Oro
La Reina Y Señora De La Ranchera
La Voz Del Arrabal

Sofía Helena Vargas Marulanda (Puerto Tejada, March 3, 1934 [1] - Cali, February 7, 2011), artistically known as Helenita Vargas, was a Colombian singer of genres ranchera, bolero and Popular Colombian music nicknamed La Ronca De Oro.


Helena Vargas was born in Puerto Tejada, Cauca. She was the fourth daughter of the marriage of Eliécer Vargas and Susana Marulanda.[2] It is said that, as a child, she was not a good student and that she learned to sing before reading.[3] Her childhood and adolescence were spent on a family farm.

Her parents enrolled her in the boarding school of Maria Auxiliadora College, administered by the Salesian Sisters in Bogotá. There, she made known her artistic vein, singing in the events of the institution, nicknamed then Rosita Linares. Having lost years of study and taking advantage of the news of the death of her brother Alberto, the young artist returned to Cali without finishing the fourth year of high school.

In 1948, her parents decided to enroll her in the Conservatory and in the Popular Institute of Culture, but she was expelled from there a few days later for refusing to read scores, according to the testimony of her sister Alicia, who decided to stay in the boarding school.

At the age of 16, she appeared before the distinguished Mexican singer, musician and composer Agustín Lara, addressing him at the Alférez Hotel in Cali, where the artist was staying. Vargas sang along with him the Farolito theme, which impacted Lara due to the talent shown by the young artist.

At that time, Sofia Helena became known among the high society of Cali. Whenever she could, she carried his guitar and sang in meetings, even managing to serenade her friends. Her participation in the National Beauty Contest, in 1951, as Señorita Cali, only served her, as she told later, to realize that the public wanted her.

Later, the 17-year-old artist fell in love with the lawyer and senator Isaías Hernán Ibarra, who was twice her age. Both would be married secretly on December 28, 1951, at the San Fernando Church, with papers that a lawyer falsified so that she would appear as if she were 21 years old. Her family censured her and, from the beginning of their marriage, discovered that her husband was abusive and frequented other women. After several miscarriages, she steeled herself to go back to her parents' house while pregnant. The atmosphere was not the best, but the recording of her first album with the company Industrias Fonográficas Sello Vergara in Medellín and the birth of her only daughter, María Del Pilar Ibarra Vargas, filled her with courage to withstand the avalanche of criticism and disqualification of his mother. In those days, she met the doctor Gonzalo Zafra, separated from his spouse like her. Because of this, they marched to Bogotá, convinced that they could live in peace there, far from the censorship of the Cali society. However, a few years later, they returned and were inserted into the life of the city.

In 1968, an executive of the company Sonolux (now disappeared) traveled from Medellín to Cali to propose a contract to record her first long-playing album. However, her partner, Gonzalo Zafra, asked the executive that nothing be paid to the artist, because he doubted the success she might have, since until then she only sang in small social events and not professionally.[4] Her first single album made her earn her first Gold Record the following year, and the nickname that would distinguish her thereafter: "La Ronca De Oro", which was awarded to her by Cuban journalist José Pardo Llada.[2] From that moment on, her fame as a popular singer was cemented, adopting the advice of the record producers of ranchera and arrabalera music, from which she built his own style.

El éxito y la fama solo se vieron empañados por la muerte de su padre y por la censura que aún sufría en parte de la sociedad caleña, debido a que Helenita y Gonzalo nunca se casaron. Las siguientes tres décadas serían su época dorada. A pesar de las críticas por su estilo, por no poseer una gran voz y por los constantes rumores de sostener amoríos con todo tipo de personajes públicos (desde expresidentes y políticos, hasta sus apoderados artísticos), Helenita fue considerada la máxima exponente del estilo ranchero en su país. En la década del 70, el cantautor nicaragüense Carlos Mejía Godoy, exponente del folclore de ese país, compuso "María de los guardias", la canción que más satisfacciones le dio a la intérprete.

In 2009, she suffered a health crisis that led her to undergo a liver transplant that her body rejected. From then on, her appearances on the stages were sporadic. At the end of 2010, the Council of Cali paid her a tribute at the Los Cristales theater in that city, an event in which she was very ill. In December of the same year she recorded her last two songs, "Golondrinas", a tango by Carlos Gardel, and her favorite waltz, "Mi Huella", by Graciela Arango de Tobón.

In January 2011, she entered the Valle del Lilí Clinic in Cali, where she was hospitalized for three weeks in intensive care, due to a generalized infection that focused on the lungs. On Monday, February 7 of that year, she died in said hospital center at 6:36 pm (local time), due to respiratory problems according to the medical statement. The next day she was veiled in a wake chapel, as a tribute to her career, in the Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura, and the next day in the San Fernando in the city of Cali. That same day, according to her wishes, she was cremated in a private ceremony in the Southern Metropolitan Cemetery.


The following discography lists are partial. Some original albums of the first years of the artist, probably were not digitized.

Original discography[edit]

Year of publication Tíle Label
1968 La fabulosa Helenita Vargas[Nota 1] Sonolux (Colombia)
1974 La Ronca de Oro[Nota 2] Codiscos (Colombia)
1978 Señora Sonolux (Colombia)
1980 Qué te dio esa mujer Sonolux (Colombia)
1981 La Guerrillera Sonolux (Colombia)
1982 Pregúntele por mí Sonolux (Colombia)
1983 Señor Sonolux (Colombia)
1984 Qué pena que te vas... Sonolux (Colombia)
1985 Ya tengo a donde ir Sonolux (Colombia)
1986 Cheque al portador Sonolux (Colombia)
1987 No te pido más Sonolux (Colombia)
1988 Mis 20 años Sonolux (Colombia)
1989 La prohibida Sonolux (Colombia)
1990 Visto de negro Sonolux (Colombia)
1991 La única Sonolux (Colombia)
1995 Lo mejor de Helenita Vargas Discos Fuentes (Colombia)
1996 Sabes de que tengo ganas Discos Fuentes (Colombia)
1996 Y todavía te quiero Sonolux (Colombia)
1997 Mejor que nunca Discos Fuentes (Colombia)
1998 A los varones Discos Fuentes (Colombia)
2000 "La Ronca" entre amigos[Nota 3] Sonolux (Colombia)
2002 Llorando penas Discos Fuentes (Colombia)
2003 A mi amiga, María Dolores[Nota 4] Codiscos (Colombia)
2006 Me llaman "La Ronca" Codiscos (Colombia)


Year of publication Title Label
1996 20 éxitos de Helenita Vargas Sonolux (Colombia)
1996 20 éxitos, lo mejor Discos Fuentes (Colombia)
2006 Los 30 Mejores (doble CD) Codiscos (Colombia)
2008 Helenita Vargas, La Ronca de Oro, Serie Premium única (CD+DVD) Codiscos (Colombia)
2011 Helenita Vargas, por siempre (CD+DVD) Codiscos (Colombia)
2014 Vive... La Ronca de Oro (CD+DVD) Codiscos (Colombia)


  1. ^ Primer LP conocido de la cantante.
  2. ^ Con la participación de los músicos colombianos Jaime Llano González y Tomás Burbano, en la dirección del mariachi acompañante.
  3. ^ Grabado a duo con diferentes artistas colombianos
  4. ^ Dedicada a su amiga personal, la cantante María Dolores Pradera

Popular music themes[edit]

  • Pasaste a la historia (su primer éxito).
  • Mal hombre
  • María de los guardias
  • Señor
  • No te pido más
  • Ándate con la otra
  • La flor de la canela
  • Que nadie sepa mi sufrir
  • El rosario de mi madre
  • Señora
  • Cariño malo
  • Cataclismo
  • El tiempo que te quede libre.
  • Soy Helenita Vargas.
  • Carne y hueso.

Television appearances[edit]

  • Helenita Vargas had short appearances on television as a guest star, playing herself, in "Pero sigo siendo el rey" (1984) and "Tabú" (1999). In the second production, the librettist Héctor Forero asked to include it in a chapter (as a singer who entertains a celebration in prison, this event, which ends in a riot). It also appeared in "El show de las estrellas".

Adaptations for television[edit]


  1. ^ "Helenita Vargas (1934-2011)". Semana. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Colombianos destacados: Helenita Vargas". 8 February 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Biografía de Helenita Vargas". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Tres años sin Helenita Vargas, La Ronca de Oro". 8 February 2014. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014.

External Links[edit]

Category:1934 births Category:2011 deaths Category:Deaths from respiratory disease Category:Spanish-language singers Category:Colombian female singers Category:Colombian popular music singers Category:Composers of traditional music of Colombia Category:Ranchera song singers Category:Bolero singers from Colombia Category:Pages with unreviewed translations