Archive for 1/04/12

Desde Santurce a Bilbao Blues Band’s “El ídolo”


Desde Santurce a Bilbao Blues Band - Vidas Ejemplares Carátula CDDesde Santurce a Bilbao Blues Band was a songwriting band of satyrical and critical song of the 70s: their name (From Santurce to Bilbao…) it’s a reference to a Northern popular song plus the “blues band”, own of the great 60 and 70s foreigners rock bands; acording to Ramón “Moncho” Alpuente, they took the idea from great graphic humorist “Forges”. The most members of the band were the “survivors” of another band, Las Madres del Cordero (The Mothers of the Lamb, a name that refers to Frank Zappa’s fantastic group): Moncho Alpuente and Antonio Piera, plus Jordi Pi, Felipe Montes, Álvaro Ibernia and Joss Martín. Their first and only LP, produced by Alain Milhaud in 1974, was called Vidas Ejemplares –Exmplary Lives-, that was, with the curious presentation of the cover nad the back, a critic against the Catholic moraltiy of family. With them, collaborated in this record aome friends as the great songwriter Hilario Camacho and Rosa León, the lyricist –brother of other great songwriter: Javier Krahe- Jorge Krahe, the songwriting and progressive rock female duo Vainica Doble, Macu from the group Aguaviva, and the famous female singer Massiel (soloist in other song). The band, with several members, continues during the 70s, but, at finally, break up. Alpuente, with other musical adventures since then, actually is a journalist and musical critic (so he was then); Antonio Piera, actually writes in this blog and he is very implicated in civil and social causes.

El Idolo - PortadaThe second track of the album was this critic against commercial singers, most of them overrated. Singers who like to go to parties of people from Government, some of them of Extrem-Right wing, but sometimes, when a kind of protest song came into fashion, they sing “social” themes, making a lot of money, meanwhile Desde Santurce a Bilbao Blues Band and their friends, for singing songs like these, were fined and, sometimes, got inot jail. The lyric of the song is very difficoult, for being an exclussive of this country and of that time, so I’ve quoted some lines.

El ídolo

Señoras y señores,
ladies & gentlemen,
con ustedes
¡el ídolo de las multitudes!

Mis canciones se cotizan
en los hit parades,
y mi voz la canoniza
el disc-jokey.

Yo soy tremendamente pop,
tremendamente in,
tremendamente
ayayayayay.

Insignes compositores
trabajan para mí;
sus canciones emotivas
en mi voz las amortiza
el royalty.

Yo protesto si es preciso,
canto a Machado
y a Brecht,
y cuando llega el verano
vuelvo a la rumba otra vez.

Canto en lengua ehtranherah,
en catalán y en francés,
y ahora, al ponerse de moda,
canto en gallego también.

Yo soy el rey del hit parade
yo me impongo mi ley,
soy un camale-ón
que cambia de color
ante el mo-ne-y.

Yo a los palacios subí
y a las cabañas bajé,
y en todas partes mi voz,
gracias al televisor,
escucha usted.

Yo triunfé en Eurovisión,
defendiendo con pasión
a mi país,
y ante Europa demostré
que en esto de la canción
somos así.

Él se llama Raphael,
es Karina y es Serrat,
Víctor Manuel.

Yo soy todos a la vez,
soy el cantante español
made in Spain.

Mis fans gimen de placer
y mi manager también
¡soy un filón!

Mi voz es una mina,
mi abuelo era minero,
se llamaba Manuel.

No canto por dinero…

The idol

Señoras y señores,/ ladies and gentlemen (1),/ here’s to/ the idol of the mass!// My songs are quoted/ on the hit parades,/ and my voice is canonizad/ by the disc-jokey.// I am tremendously pop,/ tremendously in,/ tremendously/ ayayayay.// Distinguished melodists/ are working for me;/ their emotional songs,/ in my voice, are amortized/ by the royalty.// I protest if I must,/ I sing Machado/ and Brecht (2),/ and when the summer comes/ I get back to rumba again.// I sing in foreigner languages,/ in Catalan and French,/ and now, as come into fashion,/ I sing in Galician too (3).// I am the king of the hit parade,/ I impose my own law,/ I am a chamele-on/ that change his colour/ in front of the di-ne-ro (4).// I went up to the palaces/ and went down to the alleys (5),/ and everywhere you hear,/ due to television,/ my voice.// I got succeed at Eurovision,/ defending with passion/ my country,/ and in front of Europe I proved/ that in the issue of singing/ we are this way (6).// His name is Raphael,/ he is Karina and he is Serrat,/ Víctor Manuel (7).// I am all at once,/ I am the Spanish singer,/ made in Spain.// My fans moan with pleassure/ and so my manager,/ I am a vein!// My voice is a mine,/ my grandfather was a miner,/ his name was Manuel (8).// I don’t sing for money…

Moncho Alpuente

(1) In those years, some commercial singers, musical critics, and their followers, abused of English words, and even of making strange mixings of both languages. For that reason, there’s a lot of English words in the song. I mark these in the original in italic, and in the translation the values are reverted.

(2) As I was saying, singers like Julio Iglesias or Juan Pardo –singers with conservatives ideas, and even widely Francoists-, when protest song, or at least, a kind of that style, was into fashion, make that kind of songs, getting a lot of money and being ignored by censorship. Desde Santurce… and others songwriters never made a lot of money singing those songs, and even it get them a lot of problems. The success that songwriters get by singing poems by Antonio Machado (as Joan Manuel Serrat) and Bertolt Brecht made that some of this singers sung some of those poems.

(3) So it was: singing in Galician came into fashion, and many commercial singers decided to sing in this beautiful language; for example, Mr. Julio Iglesias –ok, he is Galician, but he never sung in Galician before nor later-.

(4) Let me this little poetic license in the translation.

(5) This is a refference to José Zorrilla’s play Don Juan Tenorio. The line is not exactly a translation of the lyric, only keeping its order, but from this translation of the play:

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Spanish/donjuanpart1act1.htm

(6) At least, the European know that Eurovision is the contest-festival of the commercial song in Europe since 60s (or last 50s?). In the 60s and 70s, the Francoist regime used the participation in the contes politically, as it was usual about all: always with the motto “Spain is different” (according to regime, we the Spaniards are of a special way in every sense). If the singer loses the contest, it was due to the “envy” of the rest of the world, specially France and England; but when the singer wins… When Massiel won the contest, the press said a kind of stuffy rubbish declarations about the English singer, Cliff Richard (in the same way, when Beatles come to Spain, the press said a lot of foolish things in this stuffy chauvinist way). Every international show, may were music or sport, was conceibed as a war against the world, or better, as a war of the world against Spain.

(7) Raphael and Karina (linked for your information) are two commercial singers (Raphael seems to be very known outside, but not Karina); meanwhile, Joan Manuel Serrat and Víctor Manuel (which the followers of this blog already know) are songwriters. I think that, in those days, as Serrat as Víctor Manuel were a little commercials in the songwriting and protest song, and for that this reference (I must say that Antonio Piera today is fan of Serrat).

(8) I don’t know to who reffers this line. Maybe Víctor Manuel? (see Note before).

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