1667447659 Serrat begins his departure from Argentina I leave the stage

Serrat begins his departure from Argentina: “I leave the stage, but I do not leave what life offers me”

Joan Manuel Serrat is once again in Argentina, the country that took him in as its own in the late 1960s. It won’t be the last time he ends up in Buenos Aires, he promised, but next time only to visit friends or to discover a new corner of this city that doesn’t require a passport. “My heart is calm. I come to say goodbye to the stages, but not to the people, nor to the country, nor to the affection that united us. From the moment I joined [el aeropuerto de] I’ve been in contact with Ezeiza for the last 60 years of my life,” Serrat said at a press conference in a theater a few meters from the Buenos Aires Obelisk. On Saturday November 5 he will sing in Rosario, the town of his beloved Roberto Fontanarrosa, 300 km from the Argentine capital. It is the first of the seven concerts of the Argentine chapter of El vice de cantar, the last tour of his career.

Seated behind a coffee table on stage, Serrat wandered through “the inserts of the soul.” There was an atmosphere of the announced end, time for an interim balance and few definitions about the future that he has in mind for the family, many readings and some new songs. The Catalan says he no longer has the strength for the rigors of a tour or to start ‘something big’. That’s why he’s decided to “keep that good taste in his mouth” he has for his job with a farewell after what’s been sown. The American chapter, which will occupy half of the rite, launched at the Beacon Theater in New York in late April. Then followed stations in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica. The entire month of November will be for Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay before finally landing in Spain.

Serrat has never hidden his ties to Argentina, where he is received like a family member who is absent but always returns. “This is where I saw my first TV shows and now these last concerts,” he recalls. It first came about just before the early 1970s, was banned by the dictatorship and returned in 1983 along with democracy. Since then, the South American country has held a privileged place on his agenda. “Hopefully he’ll come back to have a barbecue or to go to the field,” wished a journalist. Serrat didn’t like the subject. “That is pure rhetoric. It seems that only the asado, the cancha and the tango were factors of unity with this country, but there are many others and they are all fantastic,” he said. “I will visit places where I have seen changes,” he added, “some with joy and others with deep sadness. And the places are worth it when shared with friends.”

Joan Manuel Serrat, at the press conference on November 2, 2022 in Buenos Aires.Joan Manuel Serrat, at the press conference in Buenos Aires on November 2, 2022. Photo: Enrique Garcia Medina

It’s not easy to know that every concert is another step towards the last. That’s why Serrat prefers not to think about it. “I haven’t counted what I’ve done, what I’ve executed and what I have left to do. It’s a totally defensive stance. This tour is full of traps, emotions, distance from something that made me very happy,” he said. That’s why he sings at every concert “as if it were the last” and tries “not to talk too much about it”. “I shake my soul directly, in the depths of my emotions,” he is sincere and immediately repeats that the farewell comes only from the stage: “I do not stop writing, composing, loving, nor do I leave everything life is offers me”

Serrat answers with a look in the eyes, in a room full of questions. He smiles when the question pleases him, startles when surprised, and friendly when irritated. He even dared to gamble with the possibility of receiving the Nobel Prize, as another singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, had already done. “Do I want to win this award? No, but I would give it to three artists. Young [Buarque] because I find it moving; Silvio [Rodríguez] for the intelligence of his songs; and to Joaquín Sabina because I know he would like it,” he replied, laughing.

What will the audience find in this vice of singing? Big surprises were to be expected, fitting for a farewell to a life on the stage, but Serrat immediately dispelled any doubts. He warned that the elephants, exotic dancers and trapeze artists would abandon them at customs. “Then we have to go out with the usual,” he clarifies, “with musicians, instruments, songs. And a team that wants to be happy on stage.” In short, by far Joan Manuel Serrat.