EntertainmentPablo Milanés and the last interview he gave to...

Pablo Milanés and the last interview he gave to El Comercio: “I told Chabuca Granda that he is a glory of America”


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One of the most recognized voices of the music Cuban went out. The composer Pablo Milanes He passed away on November 21 at the age of 79 in Madrid (Spain). The award-winning artist suffered, according to information released by the media, from an oncohematological disease and was hospitalized on November 13.

The news was confirmed through a statement published on their social networks. “We deeply appreciate all the expressions of affection and support, to all his family and friends, in these difficult times. May he rest in the love and peace that he has always transmitted. It will remain forever in our memory,” the post read.

the original interview

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Next, the last interview that Pablo Milanés offered to Trade on April 8, 2019, shortly before his presentation at the PUCP Sports Center.

The 76-year-old musician has strengthened his bond with Peru. Pablo Milanes He comes from participating in the tribute album “A Chabuca 2″ –which would be released in June–, for which he covered the song “La torre de marfil”. In this moving and delicate classic by Chabuca Granda, her choir captivates with these lyrics: “Leave your agonies, heart / come with me to the height of joy and you will see / only the patina of time arrives, heart / to adore the carving of ivory”.

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The Cuban singer-songwriter will also give a concert in Peru this Tuesday, April 9, at the PUCP Sports Center. Trade spoke with him on the phone. Open to addressing a number of topics, Milanese he only asks that he not be asked about the policy.

—How did “The Ivory Tower” touch you? Did you choose her? First they sent me one that I was not pleased with, really. Then they sent me a selection and so I chose it because I think it’s a beautiful song, although Chabuca had a standard quality that was reflected in all of his work. What happens is that I wanted to be exquisite and choose the best, etc. She is wonderful.

—What is special about “The Ivory Tower”?

Its harmonic, melodic changes, the text. All. It seems to me that it is an almost perfect song.

—When it came to reinterpreting it, what contributions did you look for?

As much as songs from other countries and cultures are interpreted, one imposes his style. Or I tried to do it, I don’t know if I succeeded, that’s what you will say. But I tried to impose my style, and also that of the arranger, because Lito Vitale –who is from Argentina– also contributed his style. In that sense, it is a version made up of three styles: Chabuca’s, the arranger’s, and Pablo’s.

“Did you know Chabuca?”

Yes, I met her in an amazing place. I was doing a recital in a small room in Mexico in 1978. When I finished, a lady came and told me: “You know I admire you very much. I am a composer. I don’t know if you know me. My name is Chabuca Granda”. So I knelt down, kissed her hand and said: “You are a glory of America”. I don’t remember if we had a coffee, because it was a room in a very famous bookstore in Mexico that was also a coffee. I think so. Later a friend, the poet César Calvo, who was such a friend of hers, told me that she had a photo of me on her piano. I found out later. At the time I didn’t know.

—What can we expect from your concert in Lima?

It will be called “Essence”. This responds to the fact that there are songs that have not been known from my records, due to the fact that in concerts the public demands well-known songs and I always put them on, it is what all singers usually do. In this case, I wanted to make a selection of quite unknown songs together with the well-known ones, to make the summary or the essence of my work. Without those unknown songs, I think my work or essence is not complete. I want the public to know them.

—At 76 years old, does the artist take refuge in his work, connect with the present, keep looking to the future or is he in a constant search?

That depends on the vision of each artist. Every person is a world. In that sense, I cannot generalize. I, in particular, have walked with time and I have been able to connect, I think, with all generations. That’s why you can see grandparents, parents and grandchildren in my audience. In an artistic work, one must know how to be timeless and ensure that its text, music, harmony, rhythm, etc., can respond to all stages, and that there are people who, many years later, still believe that this song is beautiful and identify with her. That is what happens with the masters of one, two, three or four centuries ago. You listen to his music and it’s as if you listened to today’s. That is the greatness of the author, be it of any cultural, musical, literary genre, etc.: that he knows how to create an artistic work that lasts over time.

-How is your daily rutine?

At this point I still study different genres. I just made a salsa album and that’s how I’m getting into all the styles, trying to adapt myself to them, but always invading them with a criterion of novelty and adding what is being played and heard at the present time. That’s in the work aspect. In the family, I lead a quiet life, I have my wife, children and friends. And I have books and music to listen to, and all those things give me a pretty quiet, safe, and happy life.

—About current music, what happens if a young person tells you: “Don Pablo, please, reggaeton is valuable and has memorable, deep, hypnotic songs or whatever”? What would you answer?

I would tell him that I am a student of music and that for a reason I have studied for so many years to find out if a piece of music has quality. I don’t distinguish music by genres, countries or cultures: I distinguish it by its quality. I believe that music is one. It’s universal. At the same time, it is good or bad. So there is music that I consider bad due to various studies that I do about it. In that sense, when there is music that does not contribute anything, it seems to me that it does not have quality. That is why I am critical of certain styles that, for me, have no novelty, spirituality, literary quality, etc. There are many criticisms that I can make of the current popular song.

—Do you feel that the figure of the committed artist has been devalued?

I believe that the artist continues to exist and there are many quality authors around the world. But due to manipulations, they have been left aside: they are not commercial because of the world in which we are living. Society responds to culture, and culture responds to society. There is a connection between the two that cannot be separated.

—He is an artist who has always sung to freedom. How do you see freedom in today’s Cuba?

I think they warned you not to ask me political questions. So I cancel that question and let’s go to another one, please.

They didn’t give me that warning. In any case, we can talk about freedom in general in today’s world. How do you see your course?

I have a song that says:Freedom is a beautiful and pure girl who is raped after years. When she grows above the trees we know she won’t survive”.

Source: Elcomercio

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I have worked as a journalist for over 10 years and have written for various news outlets. I currently work as an author at 24 News Recorder, mostly covering entertainment news. I have a keen interest in the industry and enjoy writing about the latest news and gossip. I am also a member of the National Association of Journalists.


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