María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Hinojosa Rastensimply known as Charois bringing her act around town. The outspoken performer talked cuchi-cuchi, flamenco guitar and Carol Burnett.
Windy City Times: Hola, Charo! How are you?
Charo: Good, I was looking forward to this interview because I am very excited about performing at this school. This time I am going to take time to give lessons to the kids. I am a serious musician. It just that cuchi-cuchi is for money! [Both laugh.]
Windy City Times: You studied guitar your whole life, correct?
Charo: All my life, that's my gig and my vibe. When I pick up the guitar then I have to sit down. This is flamenco guitar not roll and rock. I really sit there and hold the guitar to my heart. I concentrate to make each note sing and give a message to the listener.
Windy City Times: Is it relaxing to you?
Charo: To me, it's my life. I asked my producer if I could play the guitar. Because it was sweeps he wanted me to shake it and do the cuchi-cuchi: "All the pop singers have a little bit of you in their act and they are getting rich also. Beyonce and Shakira are doing good just following your way. Why do you want to abandon it and play classical flamenco?" I told him, "I am flattered but I already did it."
Windy City Times: I heard you have something new coming out.
Charo: I am planning on introducing a single called "Sexy! Sexy!" It is going to be a big, big hit. Already a difficult panel of producers and DJs have critiqued it. My son wrote the song thinking he was going to give it to Britney Spears. I told him, "Change your mind. The song is mine!"
Windy City Times: That is hilarious! [Laughs]
Charo: He was laughing exactly like you. He said okay. It is very cute and charming with an incredible down beat.
Windy City Times: I heard you sang [Rihanna's] "Don't Stop the Music" at the Jerry Lewis Telethon.
Charo: You know what? Rihanna is very beautiful and has a cute voice. She is her persona. I don't see any copy at all of anybody else. She has a good range and very lucky that they give her excellent songs. I changed it because God forbid that I copy anybody. I would prefer to sell tomatoes in Tijuana!
Windy City Times: Where did the expression "cuchi-cuchi" come from?
Charo: It is an old long story. It is very depressing about my dog. He died before I became rich. I didn't even give him the 10 percent. I used to have a dog and a car or something damaged his back. My grandmother, rest in peace, was an incredible animal lover. She rescued the dog and brought it back to life in her home. He always had a problem after that and when he was happy he shook and walked funny. They gave him to me and he was called "Cuchillo," like knife. I was too young to call him "Cuchillo" so I called him "Cuchi."
Windy City Times: Oh, that makes sense now.
Charo: So I copied him. I used to say, "Mira como [Look like] Cuchi!" and I would make the same movement. That's the only thing I copy in my life, that dog. [Laughs]
Windy City Times: Your appearance on [the reality show] The Surreal Life was very entertaining.
Charo: When I went on the Surreal Life I told the producer, "These people suck!" I swear I did. "You brought me here understanding that the show was called House of Music and none of these idiots know nothing!" There was a lady running around with maracas named Brigitte Nielsen and that crazy but adorable Flavor Flav. I said, "Why not call it Enter At Your Own Risk?"
Windy City Times: I can't believe they tricked you!
Charo: I wanted to get the hell out of there. They talked me into staying telling me that I would pull the whole thing together. One night I tried to escape and the window was controlled with an alarm. When the alarm started ringing I said, "Oh shit; they got me." When I stayed I just did my best. I went for the comedy and it was the only Surreal Life for a People's Choice Award. Every time things get out of control once again I find a way to put a joke on it.
Windy City Times: When I was a kid I watched you on Carol Burnett, and you were so funny!
Charo: Oh my God! My whole world changed, the network went crazy the following day. They got a huge rating that would be immortal forever. The network could not believe it with Carol and her chi chis hanging down to the floor. She is a unique genius comedienne and lady. She deserves everything in the world. I saw her in action and saw how she works. She is like meif something funny goes in her mind then she is going to say it.
Windy City Times: Tell me about your upcoming appearance.
Charo: You are going to see the show called Hot Flamenco Nights. There is only one show at 7:30. It is in Palos Hills and someone must be Spanish because of the name. I am going to find a lot of my cousins there because my grandfather fooled around with everything that moved!
Warm up on a Saturday night May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy Menker Theater, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills. Tickets for a taste of Spanish guitar are available at www.morainevalley.edu y mucho mas Charo a www.charo.com .