Friday, October 23, 2009

Paco at the Chatelet

Paco Ibañez doesn't care much for the English-speaking world generally and Americans in particular. He said so several times during his concert last night at the Châtelet. He went off on a long riff aboout trying to eradicate "OK" and other Americanismos from the Spanish language. I agree with Paco's revulsion at "Cocacolonization" as we call it, a world where Spanish children know more about Batman than El Cid, but I also think he could be more open to our many wonderful political singer/songwriters. The United States is more than McDonalds and Walt Disney, Paco!

This being said, this gringa is still loca enamorada de Paco and the concert reinforced this love. Paco performed a mix of old and new materials, brought in younger performers to share the stage with him including his daughter Alicia.

He sang a lot of his Pablo Neruda poem/songs which I love and told of meeting the great poet himself who suggested that Paco ought to sing his works. He also sang a lot of Garcia Lorca and José Agustín Goytisolo. Not so much Rafael Alberti though of course there was the obligatory "A Galopar" as an encore.

He paid homage to the late Mercedes Sosa with the song "Vasija de Barro" and toured Spain musically, including a song in the Basque language and a bit of flamenco with a flamenco dancer.

From France, where Paco lived and worked for many years in his youth during the Franco regime, there were several numbers by Georges Brassens and he offered his French audience a new setting for Ronsard's "Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir à la chandelle" which I remember learning by heart in grade school here in Paris.

Probably the only song I would have wanted to hear that wasn't in this program was "Andaluces de Jaen" but Paco has a huge and growing repertoire and you can't sing everybody's favorite song every night. Total que me quedé más que satisfecha con el concierto. Gracías, Paco.

1 comment:

  1. Cueillez, cueillez votre jeunesse: Comme à cette fleur la vieillesse fera ternir votre beauté.- Pierre de Ronsard

    Life is a dream.
    Some dream on a blue field with golden stars,
    Others dream red-blue, with white stars.
    For all, the time will pass,
    For all, the rose will “fané”.

    In the meanwhile…
    Who will give me back El Cid,
    La Celestina and a little bit
    of Paul Éluard?

    Never found my Russian goddess,
    but life gave me memories to dream upon
    and songs to remember youth,
    echoes of old cobblestoness as well.

    When you touch its walls, R.G,
    remember me.
    I was there that day it rained
    I was there when its bells tolled.
    It was there the day I left.

    Paco and Joan Manel,
    Nino Bravo and Massiel.
    One more drink
    and a boarding pass,
    one more good bye,
    to the land that loved me well.
    De aldea en aldea
    el viento lo lleva
    siguiendo el sendero,
    su patria es el mundo,
    como un vagabundo
    va el titiritero.

    Viene de muy lejos,
    cruzando los viejos
    caminos de piedra.
    Es de aquella raza
    que de plaza en plaza,
    nos canta su pena.

    ¡Allez hop!
    ¡Titiritero, allez hop!
    de feria en feria.
    Siempre risueño,
    canta sus sueños
    y sus miserias.

    Vacía su alforja
    de sueños que forja
    en su andar tan largo.
    Nos baja una estrella
    que borra la huella
    de un recuerdo amargo.

    Canta su romanza
    al son de una danza
    híbrida y extraña,
    para que el aldeano
    le llene la mano
    con lo poco que haya.

    Y al caer la noche
    en el viejo coche
    guardará los chismes,
    y tal como vino
    sigue su camino
    solitario y triste.

    Y quizá mañana,
    por esa ventana
    que muestra el sendero
    nos llegue su queja
    mientras que se aleja
    el titiritero.
    J.M. Serrat.