Serrat retires from the stage: new episode of the end of the era of singer-songwriters

  • The artist will offer a farewell tour in 2022 that will culminate on December 23 at the Palau Sant Jordi, while leaving the door open to record an album

Joan Manuel Serrat sets a date for his retirement as a stage artist: he will say goodbye to the public on December 23, 2022 at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Last night of a tour, ‘The vice of singing 1965-2022’, which will start at the end of April at the Beacon Theater, in New York, and with which it will tour both Spain and the Americas. An expedition that will appeal to these 57 years of experience in which Serrat has left an imperial trail as a creator of songs, marrying poetry and popular music, and connecting in a transversal way with the sensibilities of several generations.

Serrat retires from the scene, but leaves the door open to continue composing and recording, as specified in the interview with ‘El País’, where he announces his plans and places them, in the foreground, in the context of the pandemic. “What I have decided is to say goodbye in person. I didn’t like feeling fired by a plague & rdquor ;, explains the singer-songwriter, who points to “the need to recover family life & rdquor; and to “meet intimate and necessary matters & rdquor ;. Regarding this near horizon, he specifies: “I will play and compose at home, it is possible that I will record an album. But I will not return to the stage. And I’ll say goodbye, not French, but accordingly & rdquor ;.

Distanced by events

The last concerts, for now, by Serrat (who will be 78 years old on December 27) are those he offered with Sabina on the tour ‘No hay dos sin tres’, which remained abruptly interrupted after the fall of the singer-songwriter from Jaén on the stage of the Madrid Wizink Center, on February 12, 2020. Added to this incidence weeks later was the stoppage precipitated by covid-19. “The difficulties were distancing me & rdquor ;, says Serrat in the interview. For now, there are no more details about the cities and dates that the ‘tour’ will cover, which will arrive “after a forced inactivity, forced by the pandemic & rdquor ;, says the statement released by the promoter The Project and by Sony Music, which highlights the artist’s desire to “personally say goodbye to the public with whom he has shared life and songs for more than half a century & rdquor ;.

During this time, Serrat developed a career as a troubadour circumscribed first in the field of ‘nova cançó’, from his entry, in 1965, as the 13th member of Els Setze Jutges, a collective devoted to the dynamization of song in Catalan in full Francoism. There you have to place his first album, the epé of four songs headed by the theme ‘A guitar’, and early classics such as ‘Me’n vaig a peu’, ‘Paraules d’amor’ or ‘Cançó de matinada’ (theme this which was number one in Spain in 1967). The sensitive and traditional brushstroke was outlined, with a certain inclination for the secondary character: the ‘drapaire’, the ‘tieta’, the showmen from ‘Els titelles’. Then came the move to Castilian and the poetic pairing (Antonio Machado, Miguel Hernández), as well as the popular album ‘Mediterráneo’ (1971), episodes that reinforced their projection to the audience of the whole of Spain and Latin America, carving strong ties in countries like Argentina, Chile or Mexico.

Finite terms

The tour with which, in 2019, he celebrated the powers of ‘Mediterráneo’, 47 years after its edition (and without waiting, therefore, for a round anniversary), slipped the message that “the term is getting shorter and shorter & rdquor ;, as pointed out in the presentation press conference. “What before seemed infinite, life has dedicated itself to showing me that it is finite and extremely delicate & rdquor ;, pointed then. That same year, reflecting on the hypothesis of withdrawal in the documentary ‘Maria del Mar’ (by Joan López Lloret, about Maria del Mar Bonet), Serrat took long, taking advantage of the idea that “if you stop pedaling you fall off the bike & rdquor ;, although it added two requirements: “The support of the people and that I continue to be in a position to do things, because if something fails, then it is over & rdquor ;.

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Serrat’s scenic retreat may well feed the reading of the end of an era, the one in which a generation of singer-songwriters established themselves as a central reference in cultural and civic life, from the death throes of Francoism to the modern era. Before Serrat, they have come down from the stage in recent times Lluís Llach (2007, although soon, on December 18, he will perform exceptionally at Sant Jordi) and Raimon (2017), and these days another historical one is saying goodbye, Extremadura Pablo Guerrero. Too Remainder discreetly got off in 2016. In parallel, they left us leading figures such as Mikel Laboa, Labordeta or, more recently, Luis Eduardo Aute. Active are Amancio Prada, Benito Lertxundi and Víctor Manuel and Ana Belén. Of the ‘jutges’ that one day accompanied Serrat, Quico Pi de la Serra and Maria del Mar Bonet continue to fill theaters. And in the generational watchtower, the dean of the troubadours, Paco Ibáñez, with his 87 years of age a few days ago. Each of them, attending to their intimate reasons for acting in one way or another, freely managing their link with that ‘singing habit’ with which Serrat now wishes to distance himself.

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