Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés dead at 79

Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés dead at 79

HAVANA — Pablo Milanés, the Latin Grammy-winning balladeer who helped discovered Cuba’s “nueva trova” motion and toured the world as a cultural ambassador for Fidel Castro’s revolution, has died in Spain, the place he had been below therapy for blood most cancers. He was 79.

One of the crucial internationally well-known Cuban singer-songwriters, he recorded dozens of albums and hits like “Yolanda,” “Yo Me Quedo” (I’m Staying) and “Amo Esta Isla” (I Love This Island) throughout a profession that lasted greater than 5 many years.

“The tradition in Cuba is in mourning for the demise of Pablo Milanes,” Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz tweeted Monday night time.

Milanés’ representatives issued an announcement saying he had died early Tuesday in Madrid.

In early November, he introduced he was being hospitalized and canceled concert events.

Pablo Milanés was a Latin Grammy-winning balladeer who helped discover Cuba’s “nueva trova” motion.WireImage

Pablo Milanés was born Feb. 24, 1943, within the japanese metropolis of Bayamo, in what was then Oriente province, the youngest of 5 siblings born to working-class dad and mom. His musical profession started with him singing in, and sometimes profitable, native TV and radio contests

His household moved to the capital and he studied for a time on the Havana Musical Conservatory throughout the Nineteen Fifties, however he credited neighborhood musicians somewhat than formal coaching for his early inspiration, together with tendencies from the USA and different international locations.

Within the early ’60s he was in a number of teams together with Cuarteto del Rey (the King’s Quartet), composing his first track in 1963: “Tu Mi Desengano,” (You, My Disillusion), which spoke of transferring on from a misplaced love.

“Your kisses don’t matter to me as a result of I’ve a brand new love/to whom I promise you I’ll give my life,” the tune goes.

In 1970 he wrote the seminal Latin American love track “Yolanda,” which continues to be an everlasting favourite in every single place from Previous Havana’s vacationer cafes to Mexico Metropolis cantinas.

Spanish newspaper El Pais requested Milanés in 2003 what number of ladies he had flirted with by saying they impressed the track. “None,” he responded, laughing. “However many have advised me: ‘My little one is the product of ‘Yolanda.’”

Joaquin Sabina accepts award of a golden disc award to singer Pablo Milanes (R) on Could 21, 2002 in Madrid, Spain. (Picture Europa Press through Getty Photographs)Europa Press through Getty Photographs

Milanés supported the 1959 Cuban Revolution however was however focused by authorities throughout the early years of Fidel Castro’s authorities, when all method of “various” expression was extremely suspect. Milanés was reportedly harassed for carrying his hair in an afro, and was given obligatory work element for his curiosity in international music.

These experiences didn’t dampen his revolutionary fervor, nevertheless, and he started to include politics into his songwriting, collaborating with musicians corresponding to Silvio Rodríguez and Noel Nicola.

The three are thought of the founders of the Cuban “nueva trova,” a often guitar-based musical fashion tracing to the ballads that troubadours composed throughout the island’s wars of independence. Infused with the spirit of Sixties American protest songs, the nueva trova makes use of musical storytelling to spotlight social issues.

Milanés and Rodríguez particularly turned shut, touring the world’s phases as cultural ambassadors for the Cuban Revolution, and bonding throughout boozy periods.

“If Silvio Rodríguez and I received collectively, the rum was at all times there,” Milanés advised El Pais in 2003. “We had been at all times three, not two.”

Milanés was pleasant with Castro, vital of U.S. international coverage and for a time even a member of the communist authorities’s parliament. He thought of himself loyal to the revolution and spoke of his satisfaction at serving Cuba.

“I’m a employee who labors with songs, doing in my very own approach what I do know finest, like another Cuban employee,” Milanés as soon as stated, in line with The New York Instances. “I’m trustworthy to my actuality, to my revolution and the best way during which I’ve been introduced up.”

Pablo Milanés supported the 1959 Cuban Revolution however was focused by authorities throughout Fidel Castro’s early years of presidency.AFP through Getty Photographs

In 1973, Milanés recorded “Versos Sencillos,” which turned poems by Cuban Independence hero José Martí into songs. One other composition turned a type of rallying name for the political left of the Americas: “Track for Latin American Unity,” which praised Castro because the inheritor of Martí and South American liberation hero Simon Bolívar, and solid the Cuban Revolution as a mannequin for different nations.

In 2006, when Castro stepped down as president because of a life-threatening sickness, Milanés joined different outstanding artists and intellectuals in voicing their help for the federal government. He promised to signify Castro and Cuba “as this second deserves: with unity and braveness within the presence of any menace or provocation.”

But he was unafraid to talk his thoughts and sometimes advocated publicly for extra freedom on the island.

In 2010 he backed a dissident starvation striker who was demanding the discharge of political prisoners. Cuba’s growing older leaders “are caught in time,” Milanés advised Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Historical past ought to advance with new concepts and new males.”

The next yr, because the island was enacting financial adjustments that might permit better free-market exercise, he lobbied for President Raul Castro to do extra. “These freedoms have been seen in small doses, and we hope that with time they are going to develop,” Milanés advised The Related Press.

Milanés disagreed with out dissenting, prodded with out pushing, hewing to Fidel Castro’s infamous 1961 warning to Cuba’s mental class: “Inside the Revolution, all the pieces; outdoors the Revolution, nothing.”

“I disagree with many issues in Cuba, and everybody is aware of it,” Milanés as soon as stated.

Ever political even when his bushy afro had given approach to extra conservatively trimmed, grey, thinning locks, in 2006 he contributed the track “Exodo” (Exodus), about lacking mates who’ve departed for different lands, to the album “Somos Individuals” (We Are Individuals), a compilation of U.S. and Latin American artists’ songs about immigration.

Rodríguez and Milanés had a falling out within the Nineteen Eighties for causes that had been unclear and had been barely on talking phrases, although they maintained a mutual respect and Rodríguez collaborated musically with Milanés’ daughter.

Milanés sang within the 1980′s album “Amo esta isla” that “I’m from the Caribbean and will by no means stroll on terra firma;” however, he divided most of his time between Spain and Mexico in later years.

By his personal depend he underwent greater than 20 leg surgical procedures.

Milanés received two Latin Grammys in 2006 — finest singer-songwriter album for “Como un Campo de Maiz” (Like a Cornfield) and finest conventional tropical album for “AM/PM, Lineas Paralelas” (AM/PM, Parallel strains), a collaboration with Puerto Rican salsa singer Andy Montanez.

He additionally received quite a few Cuban honors together with the Alejo Carpentier medal in 1982 and the Nationwide Music Prize in 2005, and the 2007 Haydee Santamaria medal from the Casa de las Americas for his contributions to Latin American tradition.

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