Under a winter cold and between songs, with Mediterranean like a hymn turned almost into a psalm, a hundred long followers of Joan Manuel Serrat were waiting in the street at midnight on Wednesday for his departure from the New York theater where he began his international stage farewell tour, which will end in Barcelona on December 23. Inside the Beacon Theatre, a century-old venue with almost 3,000 capacity seats —all occupied; the tickets sold for months -, the singer-songwriter, the poet and minstrel, the storyteller and great seducer of the word reeled off more than twenty songs as a summary of his career, 56 years activein which “no concert has been one more, never [ha sido] a task of dressing”, he explained after the recital.
And faith that last night was not, at all. After more than two years without going on stage (“since the fall of Joaquín Sabina at the concert in Madrid” in February 2020, on the eve of the pandemic), Serrat made up for the confinement before a devoted audience, speaking all the accents of America. “I haven’t sung for two or three years, I’ve become a former debutante,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience. América will be the protagonist of half of the farewell tour —of the stages, but not of the music— of the noi del Poble Sec, with main dishes such as the four concerts that it will offer in Buenos Aires and for which there are hardly any tickets left.
I was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and despite spending the summer in the Mediterranean as a child, I have never lived on the coast of this sea. However, when I listen to Serrat’s “Nací en el Mediterráneo” I sing and dance to it as if it were my anthem 🌊 pic.twitter.com/1rjeTkRZGa
– Sarah Yáñez-Richards (@SarahYanezR) April 28, 2022
Just like this April 27 (“festivities of the patron saint of Catalonia, the brunette, and also the date of my father’s death, 43 years ago”), a concert in which he told stories between song and song, to try to define what exactly that is, the material his career is made of —his life— and that has put a soundtrack to the existence of millions of people, on both sides of the Atlantic. That purpose, to explain the magic of what he has been doing for decades, allowed him to articulate the concert by inserting classics, such as Something personal Y for freedomthe latter in an apotheosis version; Lucy, Madam, Today could be a great day waves Lullabies of the Onion, on the poem by Miguel Hernández, with somewhat less popular treasures, such as the precious Romance of Curro El Palmoa sad couplet like all couplets, a direct echo of the post-war sentimental education that his friend Vázquez Montalbán claimed so much and that Serrat himself nurtured from his elders.
Songs of copla, also of flamenco: the melodies of the radio and the neighborhood patios that cradled him as a child and that, together with the lyrics of the great poets of Spain and Latin America, forged his sensitivity and aesthetics. At the concert there were memories for those who are no longer there: for the great Atahualpa Yupanqui, for Alberto Cortez, “for so many friends, more and more, that I lack.”
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the tenderness of Song of Bressolthe nanny inspired by her mother, a strong and fighting woman in the midst of post-war hardships, found her equivalent in the parental love of those crazy little onesone of the encores, and that also exudes a love stronger than life. Penelopeat the request of the public, was measured with the most groundbreaking and modern version —thanks to some excellent musicians— of Mediterranean, the soundtrack of many generations. “A song, according to the definition of the Academy, is the union of music and lyrics to be sung, but that is a marriage of convenience. A real song is when the music speaks and when the lyrics sing, when there is a story”. The trademark humor of the house weaved together a rosary of memories, memories and emotions, including those of loss.
Excited (“although you shouldn’t let yourself be carried away by emotion to put on a concert”), continually cheered by the audience, who interrupted their songs with applause or chanted them verse by verse, Serrat underlined his commitment to freedom and only stood Seriously for, when closing the concert after more than two and a half hours of reciprocal dedication —from the musicians and from the public—, to warn of the evils of the earth. “It hurts a lot to think about the filthy will that we will leave to our children. If at some point we meet again, I hope that the word tomorrow will be synonymous with life.”
did it with stop (Father), the song in Catalan that he composed in 1973, and which he sadly never imagined would remain relevant 50 years later. “The field is no longer the field / Tomorrow it will rain blood from the sky / The wind sings it crying”.
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Serrat conquers New York at the start of his farewell tour of the stages