Joan Manuel Serrat says goodbye to fans with a farewell tour : NPR


Thousands of fans showed up across the United States, Spain and Latin America to see legendary singer Joan Manuel Serrat on her farewell tour.

Tania Victoria/Mexico Culture Secretary


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Joan Manuel Serrat says goodbye to fans with a farewell tour : NPR

Thousands of fans showed up across the United States, Spain and Latin America to see legendary singer Joan Manuel Serrat on her farewell tour.

Tania Victoria/Mexico Culture Secretary

In Mexico City’s largest open-air venue, El Zócalo, legendary singer Joan Manuel Serrat performs. I pinch myself, I can’t believe I’m seeing it for the first time, in the heart of my homeland.

Since late April, the 78-year-old has been on a farewell tour across the United States, Spain and Latin America.

After the first song, he told the audience to “put aside all traces of nostalgia and melancholy, from now on everything is the future”. Then Serrat sang Barquito de Papel (“Little Paper Boat”). The song took me back to my childhood. I was overwhelmed with emotion and started crying.

My late sister, Esther, introduced me to Serrat’s music in our house in the 1960s. Her singular style immediately caught my ear. In the 70s, I started buying all the albums I could find at record stores, including Dedicated to Antonio Machado, poet.

When I began to appreciate Serrat, I was particularly intrigued by his bilingual identity. His songs in Spanish were deep but those in Catalan were a revelation. I used to sit at home in the living room with the gatefold open, quietly listening and singing, trying to figure out the pronunciation of songs like Crop (“Father”), a composition about the environment.

One of his greatest hits, Mediterranean established him as a major figure in pop music worldwide. The lyrics say, “I’m a singer, I’m a liar, I like to gamble and drink, I have the soul of a sailor. What can I do, if I was born in the Mediterranean.”

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Music critic Enrique Blanc has followed Serrat’s career for decades. He says that Serrat looks at the world from a critical point of view.

“What’s unique about Serrat’s songs is how he uses language,” says Blanc. “In this area, I can make a comparison with Bob Dylan. Serrat’s lyrics are created with a lot of imagination, but also a precise use of the Spanish language. His songs offer not only beautiful poetry, unforgettable melodies, but a useful philosophy of His integrity reminds me of Bruce Springsteen: an artist who is not only talented but truthful.In many ways, he was a role model for thinkers, poets, and writers who live in Spanish-speaking countries.

After Serrat’s performance in Mexico City, I spoke to a couple sitting behind me. Francisco Alcántara and Rocío Alvarado have been listening to his songs since the early 80s, but this was their first Serrat concert. Alvarado couldn’t contain his excitement.

“It’s the essence of life, it’s as simple as that,” she says. “There are no more words, it’s like the Serrat song that I always mention to my husband”,Hoy Puede Ser un Gran Día“This is how you have to live, like the last day and wait for tomorrow.”

Alcántara has attended concerts by Cuba’s Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Silvio Rodríguez, but he says Serrat surpasses them. “It’s the intensity of the crowd. Of course I like him a lot, but Serrat surrenders, he has a lot of feeling, he recites the songs like poems. The truth is that he is a completely different artist.”

I like all Serrat’s songs but Elegia (“Eloge funèbre”) is close to my heart. Every time I listen to it, I remember my late sister Esther, who introduced me to Serrat when I was eight. I’m glad I had the chance to see it for the first and last time. Gracias, Serrat.

Joan Manuel Serrat says goodbye to fans with a farewell tour : NPR

Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat performing in Mexico City, Mexico.

Tania Victoria/Mexico Culture Secretary


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Tania Victoria/Mexico Culture Secretary

Joan Manuel Serrat says goodbye to fans with a farewell tour : NPR

Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat performing in Mexico City, Mexico.

Tania Victoria/Mexico Culture Secretary


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