Wednesday, 24 June 2020

A woman without the fear of failure

"She never lets the words or melody get in her way. She is us, without the fear of failure."

"Margarita gives everything she's got, every time. If she forgets the words, she sings something else. She never stops."

And so, farewell then, Margarita Pracatan - whose rise to fame here in the UK, where she was a massive "cult" success, was all down to one man's delightfully tongue-in-cheek admiration of her; Mr Clive James {whose quotes are above].

From her early days as a refugee from Castro's revolution in Cuba, Margarita aspired to become a cabaret singer. Only one thing potentially served to hold her back; a complete lack of talent. But did that stop her? No way!

Described in his tribute to her by Kenneth Walsh (aka Kenneth in the 212) as "Charo on a bender", the great lady found her outlet thanks to the innovative Manhattan Cable access TV [which also brought the world self-made chat shows, panel shows, gay shows, porn stars, assorted weirdos including "Jews for Jesus", "Ugly George", "Coco Crystal", stripper Robin Byrd, "Rapid T. Rabbit" and the legendary "Mrs. Mouth", the Beastie Boys... and RuPaul!], extracts from which were shown weekly on the embryonic Channel 4, presented by the dry-as-dust Laurie Pike. Presumably, it was here that Mr James and his team first encountered her, brought her to Britain - and the rest, they say, is history.

Remarkably, Señorita Pracatan went on to sell out venues such as G.A.Y. at The Astoria, Edinburgh Festival and even The London Palladium, and went on to a great cabaret career back in her home city New York. I was granted free access to one of her shows, back in Wales in the 90s while I was fundraising in the venue's foyer, but I am ashamed to admit that a couple of her "songs" was quite enough, so I left.

I leave you to make up your own mind...

RIP Margarita Pracatan (born Margarita Figueroa, 11th June 1931 – 23rd June 2020)


  1. She was indeed extraordinary.
    I saw her in concert many years ago and like you left at the interval.
    But hats of to her for following her dream against all odds and reason
    You have to admire her for that.

    1. I admired her greatly - and on the Clive James show, she was a joy. But in small doses... Jx

  2. "Taking it from somewhere near the top" - amazing.

    I loved the Clive James show - he was funny, but it was Magarita Pracatan that was the draw for me. Her wild-eyed flamboyance and disregard for perfection will be missed. The world is worse off without her.


    1. It is certainly a less colourful world now. Pracatan! Indeed. Jx


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