Friday, October 25, 2013

Noveltyobit: Manolo Escobar

Manolo Escobar - whose death has been announced - probably deserves to be known as something more than just the bloke who did Y Viva Espana.

To be honest, Y Viba Espana probably deserves to be remembered as something more than just a novelty hit. It's interesting how Escobar's obituaries just glide over how the song was released as Spain was shifting from fascist dictatorship to parliamentary monarchy. A song about letting your hair down and celebrating the joy of being on holiday might reek of cheap sangria and straw donkeys, but a joyous celebration of life lived lightly in a nation which was stepping out of decades of right-wing extremism and extra-judicial killings actually carried more meaning than that. It was novelty, certainly, but not just of the cheap holiday souvenir variety.

To remember just that one song, though (and in the UK, it's probably more recalled in the more tipsy cover version by Sylvia Vrethammar) neglects the rest of his fifty-year career, swapping between Andalusian copla, Spanish pop and a bit of acting as well.

Manolo Escobar was 82; he died Thursday after being ill with colon cancer for some time.

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