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Creole song day: Manuel Donayre, the ‘Black Diamond’ is getting ready for a new show tonight

The voice of Manuel Donayre the skin still peels. The passing of the years has not made her a withered carnation.

It’s a cold Wednesday in October and the Black Diamond of the Creole Song is at the Jesús Vásquez House Museum, rehearsing. Wearing a beige trench coat, rings on both hands and patent leather shoes, he is getting ready for what will be his last performance of the year in Lima.

As the first chords of “Secreto” by the poet Amparo Baluarte die, Donayre takes the microphone and breaks the silence of the night by intoning: “On this sad afternoon, I wait for you/ you will come to me with your tenderness/ I will tell you how much I love you/ squeezing your hands with sweetness”. Minutes before, he told us: “With my voice and my interpretation I seek to reach the hearts of the people, so that they feel what I want to convey”.

Doña Jesús Vásquez must have felt that the first time she heard him sing. It happened on Wednesday, November 24, 1954 at the Acapulco circus in San Luis de Cañete. On that occasion, Manuel, who was turning 5 years old that day, surprised the public with his talent. In the midst of the hubbub, the Queen and Lady of the Creole song told him what would actually happen: “You were born to be a star”.

Since then, thousands of applause and acknowledgments have already passed that do not stop. Days before the rehearsal, Manuel was on Tacna Avenue singing to the Lord of Miracles, to whom he assures that he owes a lot. “I never thought that I would live more than 50 years”, he confesses while people stop him to ask for a photo or a video greeting.

The first day we visited him at his mother’s house, he filled the entire table with photos, diplomas, and a variety of awards that he has received throughout his career. “Look, here I am with Fight [Reyes]. Here with Jesús Vásquez… Here on channel 5, here on channel 4. This was the first time I traveled to New York, it was with La Peña Ferrando…

While he passes the photos, to one side, his sister Flor de María dusts off a gold record that Manuel obtained for “Noches criollas”, his first production. “Seeing this brings back beautiful memories of everything I’ve experienced, of everything I’ve been able to achieve with effort and, honestly, I can tell you that I feel fulfilled,” he says.

On November 24, Donayre will be 73 years old. That same day she will also celebrate 68 years as a singer. But it looks like the Black Diamond will shine for a while longer. That, happily, is not a secret.

Source: Elcomercio

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