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He recorded nearly 50 albums, from Those Verses by José Martí in 1975 to 2021’s Personal Anthology.
Pablo Milanes, who died in Madrid on Tuesday morning, was part of Nueva Trova Cubana, who sang for the revolution with Silvio Rodríguez and Noel Nicola, and also sang classic songs from the island with the company Segundo and Chucho Valdez .
He sang to love with his songs – like beautiful “The Beginning and the End of a Beautiful Morning” and “I Love You Because I Love You”-, but he also did not hesitate to resort to the quintessential love genre on the continent: the bolero.
He wrote songs for his country – “I love this island”, “I don’t live in a perfect society” – and also for other Latin American countries such as Chile and Nicaragua.
Between its tributes and compilations, its protest songs and its declarations of love, BBC Mundo picks the singer-songwriter’s songs, Known for generations inside and outside Cuba.
love of ,yolanda, why ,i don’t ask you,
The first is a song that for him could not be just a song, it had to be a declaration of love that paid no heed to forms. It was dedicated to Yolanda Bennett, his second wife and the mother of his three daughters.
After his death, many followers of the Cuban artist remembered him on social networks with a phrase from the song:
“If you miss me, I’m not going to die. If I have to die, I want it to be with you.”
They met in 1968 when Pablo composed songs for a film, and they married shortly after. Song Appeared on the album Yo Me Quedo from 1982.
Besides “Yolanda”, he dedicated several of her other best-remembered romantic songs, such as “Yo no te pido”, to her.
“I don’t ask you to bring down a blue star. I only ask you to fill my space with your light.” This song appeared in the album Do not ask meSince 1978.
But “Yolanda” is the most famous love song for verses like “When I saw you I knew it was true, it was the fear of finding myself.” Though divorced, the two maintained a great relationship all these years.
I already promised him in the letter: Love her forever,
the pain of ,i will walk the streets,
It doesn’t seem strange that this song is on a record called “La Vida No Valle Nada” published in 1976.
the letter was written After the death of Miguel Enriquez, leader of the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR) in 1974A victim of political repression in Chile following the coup by Augusto Pinochet.
In the song’s lyrics, Milanes imagines when he returns to the streets of Santiago to cry “for the absent”.
“I will come from the burning desert, and I will come out of forests and lakes, and I will call on a hill in Santiago, my brothers who have died before.”
The song is also sung for Salvador Allende, the President of Chile who died during the September 11 coup, whom he remembers with these words. “The Life Taken at La Moneda”,
Despite the return of democracy in 1989, Pablo Milanes did not return to Chile until 1998, the year Pinochet left his position as army chief. In his song written amid so much death, the Cuban singer-songwriter imagines another future for Chile with children who “will play in the boulevards and sing with their new friends.”
Gone was “what a bloody Santiago.”
I fear ,the brief space you’re not,
A very different love song than “Yolanda” and almost any other love song out there. appeared on the 1984 album ,the beginning and end of a green morning,
Whereas in “I Don’t Ask You” he asks his beloved to fill his space with her light, here the space remains dark due to uncertainty.
The lover’s apprehension about the beloved’s behavior becomes apparent at the very beginning of the letter.
“I still don’t know if he will come back or not. Nobody knows what he will do the next day.”
fear is afraid to ask about the future,
“I haven’t asked yet, will you stop? I’m too scared to never answer.”
Encountering the eternal love of “Yolanda”, the woman in this song “does not speak of eternal union”.
And in the face of that fear, one of the most controversial and catchy phrases in the history of love songs:
“I’d rather share my life than empty it.”
After that phrase, which seems to break with all the canons of the Latin American romantic song, is one last perfect line.
Perhaps an explanation to justify his sacrifice. lover may have only one answer left,
“It’s not perfect, but it’s close to my dream.”
heartbreak of ,To live,
Again in 1976, on his album “La Vida No Valle Nada”, Milanes composed a hymn to heartbreak.
a mixture of contempt and resignation and a self-sufficient profession.
“Many times I told you that, before doing this, you have to think about it well. That this union of ours needs flesh and also desire.”
The song includes all the reasons that can unite a couple and that have nothing to do with love.
“It was not enough that you understood me and that you died for me. It wasn’t enough that I took refuge in you in my failures,
The lover recognizes the “tremendous fatigue” it causes him and accepts his impotence as the cause of the couple’s failure.
“For my part, I hoped that one day time would take care of the end. If it had not, I would have continued to play to please you.”
the only consolation are the years he still has left to live,
The only consolation for us after Pablo’s death is that we continue to listen to his songs.
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