Thursday 4 March 2010

Pablo Milanés in Orihuela

Fri 26 Feb

Nothing to do with the Miguel Hernández centenary, Pablo Milanés just happened to be on in Orihuela the day I arrived. Somebody up there is looking down on me . . .

Pablo has been a leading figure in the Cuban 'Nueva Trova' movement since the late 1960s. His songs have served as models for generations of singer-songwriters in Spain and Latin America, and he is adored throughout the Spanish speaking world. He sings for listening, not for dancing; his songs are personal, lyrical, often romantic, and at times express his social and political commitment.

Pablo MilanésIt was very much a concert of two parts. The first consisted of what I took to be new material - nobody in the audience recognised them - and in the second he gave some of the old favourites an airing, and we got a chance to sing along with Yolanda
Yolanda, Yolanda,
eternamente Yolanda.
Eternally Yolanda. Click the button in the video above and you can sing along too :-)

One of my favourites has always been Homenaje, the first of his songs I was aware of:
Donde yo nací, eh
dónde me crié.
Dónde me formaron, caramba
cómo vine aquí.

Where I was born, eh
where I grew up.
Where I was brought up,
how I got here.
And then the second part, the fade-out, in son montuno style:
Un homenaje 
para tu ausencia
lo llenas todo
con tu presencia

A homage
to your absence
you fill everything
with your presence

In the videoclips he's performing with a big band, but here there were just two with him - the keyboard and violin players who appear in the Yolanda clip above.

According to the listing on his website, this is his first outing since last summer, and he appears to be doing concerts mostly in small to medium-sized towns, almost all in Spain. He was at the Barbican in London last June, I think on his first visit to the UK, and I missed him - so it was great to have the chance to see him here. Now I must have a good listen to the records again!

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