Serrat bids farewell to Mexican stages with love – Chicago Tribune

Mexico City – With a message about environmental damage, tributes to Mexican songs and a guest of honor, the Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat offered the first of his goodbye tour concerts at the National Auditorium in Mexico City .

Serrat had announced in December last year that this tour, entitled “El vice de cantar”, would be his last, but the evening was also full of humor and willpower, as he resisted being overcome by emotion.

“Although you insist and my emotions overflow, I plan to reach the end, I assure you,” said the musician. “As much as you insist on destroying me emotionally, you are not going to achieve it, among other things, because I already am.”

As expected, Serrat performed great hits such as “Mediterráneo”, “Para la libertad”, “El carrusel del furo” and, at the end of the concert, the long-awaited “Penélope”. He also delighted the audience by paying tribute to José Alfredo Jiménez with “A rare world” and, very fittingly for the farewell, the traditional Mexican song “La golondrina”.

The singer-songwriter recalled his first visit to Mexico in 1969, when “the bonfires of Tlatelolco were still burning,” he said, referring to the massacre of students that had occurred a year earlier in that area of ​​the city. He fondly remembered his first concert in Fine Arts held a few days after landing and his meeting with UNAM students at the Justo Sierra Auditorium.

“I arrived for the first time and I think it was the only time because everything else was a love with another love, with another love, the same love and always love,” he said.

Years later, at the end of 1975, after being persecuted by the Francisco Franco dictatorship, he said that he decided to go into exile in the country because of that same closeness. “Exile is a very complicated territory,” he said. “I was lucky that they opened their doors to me and that they invited me to stay.”

During the concert, Serrat also quoted the Mexican comedian Mario Moreno Cantinflas with the phrase “there is the detail” and another foreign artist who, like him, found his home in Mexico: the late Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez.

“As our dear Gabo said, life is not the one you lived, but the one you remember and how you remember it to tell it,” he said.

But perhaps what surprised her the most was her guest of honor, a Mexican pop singer.

“Tonight I want to show off one of my friends, I want to invite my dear friend Manuel Mijares to the stage,” he said before performing a duet “Today can be a great day.”

A section of the concert was dedicated to his humble and republican origins. She performed “Nanas de la onion”, a poem by the communist author Miguel Hernández, included in her 1972 album in honor of the poet, and “Cançó de bressol”, based on a lullaby in Catalan that her mother used to sing to her. .

“I was born in Barcelona, ​​in the Poble-sec neighborhood, I grew up there and I learned almost everything I know, good and bad,” he said. “My father was a plumber and my mother dedicated herself to what is euphemistically called ‘her work’, that is, to work, to work like a mule.”

Serrat, who hardly paused during the concert of more than two hours, dedicated words of affection to the characters in his songs, such as “Señora”.

“The lady and I have known each other for more than half a century,” he said. “Her hair has fallen out, my knees are knackered and she, on the other hand, is still in her wonderful 40s. The characters don’t age.

But his strongest message was a wake-up call to try to correct course in the face of environmental destruction.

“They make an effort to normalize expressions such as climate change… when it really hides a terrible reality that is just around the corner. It is very painful to think about the filth of the world that we are going to leave our children and our grandchildren if things are not remedied”, she said before performing “Father”, a song about the misfortune of lost ecosystems. “When I wrote this song, … I was convinced that the wisdom of man, progress, science, would make this song obsolete in no time. Nobody would say it, but this song is about to turn 50 years old.

“I wish with all my heart that… we can see each other again without a mask and that the word tomorrow is a synonym of life,” he added.

Serrat, recipient of the 2014 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Award, will continue his tour of Colombia, Costa Rica and Spain.

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