Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanese dies at 79 ( News Washington )


HAVANA – Pablo Milanes, the Grammy-winning Latin balladeer who found Cuba’s “new trova” movement and toured the world as a cultural ambassador of Fidel Castro’s revolution, has died in Spain, where he was being treated for blood cancer. He was 79

One of the most famous international Cuban singers, he released dozens of albums and hits such as “Yolanda,” “Yo Me Quedo” (I’m dying) and “Amo Esta Isla” (Love Isla) in a career that lasted more than five decades.

“A cult in Cuba in mourning for the death of Pablo Milan,” Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz tweeted Monday night.

Ambassadors from Milan announced that he had died early Tuesday in Madrid.

In early November, he announced that he was hospitalized and the concert was cancelled.

Pablo Milanes was born on February 24. 1943, in the city of East Bayamo, which was then in the province of East, the youngest of five siblings working parents. His musical career began with him singing, and he often won local TV and radio competitions.

His family moved to the capital and he studied for a time at the Havana Musical Conservatory during the 1950s, but he credited neighborhood musicians rather than formal training as his first inspiration, along with trends from the United States and other countries.

In the early “60s” in several groups including the Cuarteto del Rey (King’s Quartet), he composed his first song in 1963: “Tu Mi Desengano” (You, my Disillusionment), which spoke of moving on from a lost love.

“Your kiss doesn’t matter to me because I have a new love/ To whom I promise to give you my life,” the tune goes.

In 1970 he wrote the seminal Latin American love song “Yolanda”, which is still a perennial favorite from the casas of Old Havana to the cantinas of Mexico City.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais in Milan asked in 2003 how many women he loved by saying the song inspired him. He replied, laughing. “But many people said to me: ‘My son will be born from Yolanda.’

The people of Milan supported the Cuban Revolution of 1959, but were still targeted by the authorities in the early years of Fidel Castro’s regime, when all forms of “alternative” expression were highly suspect. The Milanese were reportedly harassed by the afro-haired sneer, and a forced essay was given because of the foreign music.

That experience did not dampen his revolutionary fervor, and he began to incorporate his politics into his songwriting, working with musicians such as Silvio Rodriguez and Noel Nicola.

The three Cuban founders are considered a “new trova,” a musical style that mostly featured guitar in songs composed during the island’s wars of independence. Infused with the spirit of American protest songs of the 1960s, nueva trova uses musical narratives to highlight social problems.

The Milanese and Rodriguez became particularly close, world-class as cultural ambassadors for the Cuban Revolution, and bonding over booey sessions.

“If Silvio Rodriguez and I got up together, the rum was always there,” Milanes told El Pais in 2003. “We were always three, not two.”

Milanes was a friend of Castro, a critic of US foreign policy and also a member of the communist government’s parliament. He considered himself faithful to new things, and spoke of his pride in serving in Cuba.

“I am a worker who works with songs, in my own way doing what I know best, like another Cuban worker,” the former Milanese, according to The New York Times. “I’m faithful to what I do, to new things and to the way I’ve been brought up.”

In 1973, the Milanese wrote “Versos Sencillos” (Versos Sencillos), which were translated by the hero Jose Marti into songs of Cuban Independence. Another composition became a kind of gathering of the political call left by the Americas: the “United Latin American Song”, which praised Castro as the heir of Mars and the hero of the liberation of South America Simon Bolivar and modeled the Cuban Revolution for others. nations

In 2006, when Castro abdicated as president due to a life-threatening illness, the Milanese joined other noble artists and intellectuals in their support for the government. He promised to represent Castro and Cuba “for this time is worthy: unanimously and strongly in the face of any threat or irritation”.

He, however, was not deterred from speaking his mind, and sometimes encouraged him to be more free in public on the island.

In 2010, a dissident hunger striker backed by the government demanded the release of prisoners. Cuba’s aging leaders are “stuck in time,” the Milanese told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “History must progress with new ideas and new people.”

The following year, when the island was undergoing economic changes that would allow for greater market activity, he pledged to do more for President Raul Castro. “These franchises have been seen in the smallest endowments, and we hope that they will grow with time,” Milanese told the Associated Press.

The Milanese disagreed without dissent, withdrew without impact, Fidel Castro’s famous warning in 1961 to Cuba’s intellectual class: “Revolution within, everything; nothing outside the Revolution.

“There is a lot of disagreement in Cuba, and everyone knows it,” Milanes once said.

Always political, even when he had given up his conservatively styled bushy afro, graying, thinned hair, in 2006 he contributed the song “Exodus” (Exodus), about missing friends who have gone to other countries, to the album “American Somos”. (We are Americans), a compilation of poems by American and US and Latin artists about immigration.

Rodriguez and Milanese fell out in the 1980s for reasons that are unclear and are barely on speaking terms, although they maintained mutual respect and Rodriguez collaborated musically with Milanese’s daughter.

The Milanese sang in the 1980 album “I love this island” because “I’m from the Caribbean and I’ve never walked on dry land.” however, he divided most of his time between Spain and Mexico in his later years.

By his number he underwent more than 20 surahs.

The Milanese won two Latin Grammys in 2006 — best singer-album for “Como un Campo de Maiz” (Like a Cornfield) and best tropical album for “AM/PM, Lineas Paralelas” (AM/PM, Parallel Lines), a. a collaboration with Puerto Rican salsa singer Andy Montanez.

He also won numerous Cuban honors including the Alejo Carpentier medal in 1982 and the National Music Award in 2005, and the 2007 Haydee Santamaria medal from the Casa de las Americas for Latin American culture.

Peter Orsi, associated with the Vatican writer, contributed this story.


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