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Mexico May Have Found Answer to 'Great Enigma'

This could be the sound of Frida Kahlo's voice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2019 4:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – The National Sound Library of Mexico says it may finally have uncovered the answer to a "great enigma"—the sound of Frida Kahlo's voice. The library says a clip from a recording of the 1955 radio show "El Bachiller"—"The Bachelor"—could be the only one in existence of the famous artist's voice, the Guardian reports. In the 90-second recording, a woman talks about artist Diego Rivera, Kahlo's former husband. "He's a large child, massive, with a friendly face and sad look," the woman says. Pavel Granados, the library's national director, says Kahlo's voice is the one most requested by visitors to the archives. "Frida’s voice has always been a great enigma, a never-ending search," he says. "Until now, there had never been a recording of Frida Kahlo." The library says more Kahlo recordings could be on 1,300 "Bachelor" tapes that still need to be cataloged and digitized.

One clue suggesting the voice is that of Kahlo is the fact that the voice is introduced as a recording of a female painter "who no longer exists," the New York Times reports. Kahlo died in 1954 at age 47. Hilda Trujillo, director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, tells the AP that there is "still a long way to go" to verify the recording. Researchers plan to talk to sound engineers and any surviving Kahlo associates they can find. Mexican artist Erika Servin tells the Times that some people might find the sound of Kahlo's voice surprising. "There is a lot of idealism to who she was—how strong she was—and I think a lot of people thought she'd have a stronger, deeper voice," Servin says, adding that Kahlo smoked a lot. "But it's actually a really sweet, delicate, very feminine voice" instead of a rough one. (The artist's relatives weren't happy about the Frida Kahlo Barbie.)

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