Live

Watch CBSN Live

Mexican officials believe they've found the only known recording of Frida Kahlo's voice

Frida Kahlo's voice may have finally been unearthed, according to researchers at Mexico's National Sound Library. If confirmed, officials say it would be the first record of the Mexican artist's voice.

The director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, Hilda Trujillo, told The Associated Press on Thursday that "there's still a long way to go" to verify the voice in question.

"I personally think that the art world has to be very strict in its judgment and can't rush to assumptions," Trujillo said.

Investigations will involve sound library officials, engineers, audio experts and even still-living sources. Trujillo said she is optimistic that there are still "enough elements to do a rigorous analysis."

The 90-second audio clip, which comes from a 1950s pilot episode of the Mexican radio program "The Bachelor," consists of a woman describing Kahlo's former husband and painting partner Diego Rivera. Archivists first began digitizing recordings of the show in 2007.

"He's a large child, massive, with a friendly face and sad look," the woman's voice says. "His bulging, dark, intelligent and big eyes are difficultly detained."

Kahlo is not directly identified by the narrator, but her voice is introduced as "she who no longer exists." Library officials estimate that the program was released in 1955 or 1956, a year or two after Kahlo died. It was likely recorded in either 1953 or 1954.

The voice is notable for its light and smooth tone, which contradicts previously held assumptions of the artist.

frida-kahlo-photograph-and-self-portrait-620.jpg
The artist Frida Kahlo, in a photo from around 1926, and in a self-portrait, from the Brooklyn Museum exhibition, "Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving." CBS News

"I would have imagined that it would be a bit deeper and worn out," Trujillo told The Associated Press. She noted that Kahlo was very sick at the end of her life, and was a heavy smoker and drinker.

A relative of Kahlo expressed similar skepticism in an interview with SDP Noticias. Mara de Anda is the daughter of Mara Cristina Romeo Pinedo, whose mother was Kahlo's niece. De Anda says no such recording has been found in her family records. She believes Kahlo's voice was far gruffer and therefore doesn't match the voice reading "Portrait of Diego Rivera" in the recording.

Pável Granados, director of the National Sound Library, said researchers will try to confirm that the voice belongs to Kahlo by going through 1,300 more tapes from "The Bachelor."

View CBS News In