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Joan Manuel Serrat

Joan Manuel Serrat

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Joan Manuel Serrat i Teresa (ʒuˈam mənuˈɛɫ səˈrat) (27 December 1943) is a Catalan
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

  singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

.

Serrat is considered one of the most important figures of modern, popular music in both the Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 and Catalan language
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

s. He became involved with music at the age of 17, when he got his first guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

, to which he dedicates one of his earliest songs, "Una guitarra".

In the early 60's, the young artist participated in a pop band, playing along with classmates at Barcelona's Agronomy School and performing mainly Beatles songs and Italian 'pop-of-the-era' songs translated to Spanish.

In 1965, while singing in a radio show called Radioscope, host Salvador Escamilla helped him secure a record deal with local label Edigsa, where he recorded his first LP, as well as joining the group Els Setze Jutges
Els Setze Jutges
Els Setze Jutges was a group of singers in the Catalan language founded in 1961 by Miquel Porter i Moix, Remei Margarit, and Josep Maria Espinàs...

.

Joan Manuel Serrat's first live stage performance in 1967 at the Palau de la Música Catalana
Palau de la Música Catalana
The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall in Barcelona. Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement...

, served to establish him as one of the most important artists inside the Nova cançó
Nova Cançó
The Nova Cançó was an artistic movement that promoted Catalan music in Francoist Spain. The movement sought to normalize use of the Catalan language in popular music and denounced the injustices of the Franco regime. Musically, it created a new genre, with roots in the French Nouvelle Chanson...

 movement in Catalonia.

The following year, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 entered Serrat in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968
Eurovision Song Contest 1968
The Eurovision Song Contest 1968 was the 13th Eurovision Song Contest. The contest was won by the Spanish song "La, la, la", performed by Massiel....

 to sing "La, la, la", but he asked to sing it in Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, to which the Spanish authorities would not agree. This would be the first time he would come into conflict with the language politics of Francoist Spain, because of his decision to sing in his native Catalan language
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, repressed by dictator Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. Defiantly, Serrat refused to sing the Spanish-language version, and was hurriedly replaced by Massiel
Massiel
María de los Ángeles Felisa Santamaría Espinoza , professionally known as Massiel, is a Spanish pop singer...

, who went on to win the contest with her Spanish-language interpretation.

As a result, Serrat's songs were banned and his records burned in the streets. He then traveled to South America and participated in the Rio de Janeiro's World Music Festival, where he took first place with the song "Penélope".

In 1969, Serrat released an album containing songs with texts of Antonio Machado
Antonio Machado
Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz, known as Antonio Machado was a Spanish poet and one of the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of '98....

, a well-known Spanish poet of late 19th-early 20th century. This album brought him immediate fame in all Spain and Latin America though, in spite of this, his decision to sing in Spanish was criticized in some Catalan nationalist circles. Regarding this and other times when his choice of language (sometimes Spanish, sometimes Catalan) raised controversy on either side of the political sphere, he once explained: "I sing better in the language they forbid me."

The release of the Mediterráneo LP in 1971 consolidated the artist's reputation worldwide. During that year, Serrat sang a seminal concert at the theater of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
The University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras , also referred to as UPR-RP, is a public research university located on a campus in Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico...

, which was highly influential in the Puerto Rican music community of the time, and which had repercussions as late as 2006.

In late 1974, Serrat was exiled in Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 due to his condemnation of arbitrary executions under Franco's regime. It wasn't until Franco's death on November 20, 1975 that Serrat was able to return to his homeland. In 1976, Joan Manuel Serrat was acclaimed for the first time in the U.S.A., while performing in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

In January 1995, the Spanish government awarded him a medal for his contribution to Hispanic culture. That same year, a tribute album called Serrat, eres único was made to honor his career, featuring artists such as Diego Torres
Diego Torres
Diego Antonio Caccia Torres , is an Argentine Grammy Award-nominated pop singer and composer.-Biography:Diego Torres was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the son of Argentine singer Lolita Torres...

, Ketama
Ketama
Ketama are a Spanish flamenco group in the fusion flamenco style. The leaders of what has been called New Flamenco, they brought a style that was somewhere between flamenco and pop salsa onto the musical scene that drew as much criticism as praise, but which has won over the young public and has...

, Rosario Flores
Rosario Flores
Rosario Flores is a two-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Spanish gypsy singer and actress.She was born in Madrid, Spain as the daughter of Antonio González and Lola Flores. She is the sister of actress Lolita Flores and singer-songwriter Antonio Flores. She has a daughter with her ex boyfriend...

, Joaquín Sabina
Joaquín Sabina
Joaquín Ramón Martínez Sabina , known artistically as Joaquín Sabina, is a singer, songwriter, and poet. He has released fourteen studio albums, two live albums, and three compilation albums...

, and Antonio Flores
Antonio Flores
Antonio González Flores was a Spanish singer-songwriter and actor.He was the only son of singers and actors Antonio González 'El Pescaílla' and Lola Flores. He was the brother of actresses Lolita Flores and Rosario Flores...

. On November 28, 1998, Serrat performed the Cant del Barça
Cant del Barça
Cant del Barça is the official hymn of FC Barcelona. It was commissioned in 1974 to celebrate the club's 75th anniversary. The words were written by Jaume Picas and Josep Maria Espinàs and the music was composed by Manuel Valls....

 during the FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona
Futbol Club Barcelona , also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça, is a professional football club, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain....

 Centenary festival at the Camp Nou
Camp Nou
Camp Nou , sometimes called "the Nou Camp" in English, is a football stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The stadium, located in the west of the city, has been the home of FC Barcelona since its construction in 1957....

.

In 2000, the Spanish Association of Authors and Editors (SGAE) awarded him with one of ten Medals of the Century.

Serrat revealed in October 2004 that he had been undergoing treatment for cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 of the urinary bladder
Urinary bladder
The urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine excreted by the kidneys before disposal by urination. A hollow muscular, and distensible organ, the bladder sits on the pelvic floor...

 and in November that year he had to cancel a tour of Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 and the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in order to undergo surgery
Surgery
Surgery is an ancient medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, or to help improve bodily function or appearance.An act of performing surgery may be called a surgical...

 in Barcelona, where he still lives.
His signature song "Mediterráneo" was selected as the most important song of the 20th century in Spain.

His recovery was satisfactory, and in 2005 he went on tour again ("Serrat 100×100") around Spain and Latin America with his lifelong producer and arranger, Ricard Miralles. During the tour Serrat played symphonic versions of his songs with local symphony orchestras.

A second volume of Serrat, eres único was also released this year, featuring Alejandro Sanz
Alejandro Sanz
Alejandro Sanz , is a Spanish singer-songwriter and musician. For his work, Sanz has won a total of fifteen Latin Grammy Awards and three Grammy Awards. He has won the Latin Grammy for Album of the Year three times, more than any other artist...

, Estopa
Estopa
Estopa are a popular Spanish rock/rumba duo from Cornellà, Spain. The band consists of the brothers José and David Muñoz, who sing a unique blend of sounds reflecting many genres, including rock, rumba, flamenco, and a "sonido callejero" that does not easily fit into categories...

, and Pasión Vega. Around the same time, Cuban artists such as Silvio Rodríguez
Silvio Rodríguez
Silvio Rodríguez Domínguez is a Cuban musician, and a leader of the nueva trova movement.He is considered Cuba's best known folk singer and known for his highly eloquent and symbolic lyrics. Many of his songs have become classics in Latin American music, such as Ojalá, Playa Girón, Unicornio and...

, Pablo Milanés
Pablo Milanés
Pablo Milanés Arias is a Cuban singer-songwriter and guitar player. He studied at a conservatory in Havana. He is considered one of the founders of the Cuban nueva trova, along with Silvio Rodríguez and Noel Nicola...

, Chucho Valdez, and Ibrahim Ferrer
Ibrahim Ferrer
Ibrahim Ferrer was a popular Afro-Cuban singer and musician in Cuba. He performed with many musical groups including the Conjunto Sorpresa, Orquesta Chepin-Choven and Afro-Cuban All Stars...

 came together to make another tribute CD, Cuba le canta a Serrat.

By 2006, the theater of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras where Serrat sang in 1970 had undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, after being closed for ten years. The university planned to reopen the theater with Serrat as its first popular culture act, thus recalling his first performance there. However, student protests over the university conceding private entities control over some theater administration functions ended up in a physical confrontation between some student leaders and patrons attending the theater's inaugural gala, the day before Serrat's first scheduled performance. As a result, the concerts had to be postponed and changed to another venue. Serrat felt particularly uneasy about the whole situation; when he was pressed to take sides in the controversy he opted to remain neutral.

In 2006 Serrat also released Mô, his first album completely in Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 in 17 years. The album title refers to the city of Mahón
Mahon
Mahón is a municipality and the capital city of the Balearic Island of Minorca , located in the eastern part of the island. Mahon has the second deepest natural harbor in the world: 5 km long and up to 900m. wide...

, capital of the Spanish island of Menorca, where he likes to get away from it all during long touring seasons.

Serrat is a part owner of the Mas Perinet winery producing both DO Montsant and DOC Priorat wines in La Morera de Montsant.

Discography (LPs)


1967 - Ara que tinc vint anys

1968 - Cançons tradicionals

1969 - Com ho fa el vent

1969 - La paloma

1969 - Dedicado a Antonio Machado, poeta

1970 - Serrat IV

1971 - Mediterráneo

1972 - Miguel Hernández

1973 - Per al meu amic

1974 - Canción infantil

1975 - ...Para piel de manzana

1977 - Res no és mesquí

1978 - 1978

1979 - Mi niñez

1980 - Tal com raja

1981 - En tránsito

1983 - Cada loco con su tema

1984 - Fa vint anys que tinc vint anys

1984 - En directo

1985 - El sur también existe

1986 - Sinceramente teu

1987 - Bienaventurados

1989 - Material sensible

1992 - Utopía

1994 - Nadie es perfecto

1996 - Banda sonora d'un temps d'un país

1996 - El gusto es nuestro (live with Ana Belén
Ana Belén
Ana Belén is the artistic name of María del Pilar Cuesta Acosta, a Spanish actress and singer. She was born on 27 May 1951 in Madrid.- Biography :...

, Víctor Manuel
Víctor Manuel
Víctor Manuel San José Sánchez is a Spanish singer-songwriter.He has been married to the Spanish singer and actress Ana Belén since 1972. He and his wife are considered symbols of the Spanish Transition, and his songs and albums often feature boldly-titled works with social and political content.-...

, and Miguel Ríos
Miguel Ríos
Miguel Ríos is a Spanish singer, composer, actor. He is one of the pioneers of rock and roll in Spain.-Biography:...

)

1998 - Sombras de la China

2000 - Cansiones (Tarrés)

2002 - Versos en la boca

2003 - Serrat Sinfónico

2006 - Mô

2007 - Dos pájaros de un tiro (live with Joaquín Sabina
Joaquín Sabina
Joaquín Ramón Martínez Sabina , known artistically as Joaquín Sabina, is a singer, songwriter, and poet. He has released fourteen studio albums, two live albums, and three compilation albums...

)

2010 - Hijo de la luz y de la sombra

Tributes (LPs)

  • Varios: Serrat, eres único (BMG Ariola, 1995)
  • Ricardo León: Antes que lleguen los perros'  (Whitehill Records, 2002)
  • Ricardo León: Levementeodioso'  (Whitehill Records, 2004).
  • Varios: Serrat, eres único (volumen 2) (BMG Ariola, 2005)
  • Varios: Cuba le canta a Serrat (Discmedi, 2005)
  • Varios: Per al meu amic Serrat (Discmedi, 2006)
  • Varios: Cuba le canta a Serrat (volumen 2) (Discmedi, 2007)

External links