The country that forgot Concha Piquer, the first modern artist in its history

100 years ago now, Conchita Piquer was becoming in the first modern Spanish artist in history. She happened in Manhattan, acting in one of the brand new talkies in the history of cinema, and interpreting the opera in English The Wildcatby maestro Penella, at the Park Theater on 49th Street in New York.

On January 13, 1958, Concha Piquer stop singing. During a performance in Huelva, the Valencian woman suffered a hoarseness and at the age of 52 she retired to live on income. They were not few. born poor on Ruaya street in Valencia and won her first duro in 1917, at the age of eleven, singing at the Sogueros theater on Na Jordana street. What happened between the two dates could be a Scorsese script mistreated by the direction of Damien Chazelle: how to kill a man who tried to rape her in The Big Apple in the 1920s, how to shoot the first scene of the talkies in Spanish or how to tell Franco in El Pardo that she was not going to sing before him after make her wait during her very general snack. All this with Blasco Ibáñez, Eva Perón, Al Jolson, Rafael de León, Indalecio Prieto, Negrín and the Maredeueta (Virgin of the Helpless) as guest stars.

Curro Romero and Concha Piquer. (Getty Images)

The life story of the most relevant voice of our 20th century seems, at times, a fable invented by Piquer to extol her legend. And yet, few took care to rescue such a celebrity. First, the work impregnated with sentimental education by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, then Manuel Vicent, on October 17, 1981, with that masterpiece of journalism that was Concha Piquer’s trunk (The country)and recently with his novel Portrait of a modern woman (Alfaguara, 2022). Also the illustrator Carla Berrocal in Doña Concha: the rose and the thorn (Reservoir Graphic, 2021). The next recognition will be the exhibition lady shellan initiative of the Valencia City Council, curated by Cristina Chumillas.

Raimon and the birth of the songwriter: 60 years of ‘Al Vent’

Victor Lopez Heras. Valencia

Nobody questions the legacy of Sinatra or Billie Holiday in the United States or denies Édith Piaf in France, but in this country, the sociopolitical context in which her artistic career developed he condemned her to oblivion. “The interview was part of a series that I conducted in 1981 with retired artists, politicians, and intellectuals who, due to their age and experience, could tell their lives first-hand without fear of speaking. Concha Piquer was one of those figures. I was not surprised by the impudence with which he explained the unsuspected incidents of his biography. I wasn’t interested in the couplet but in her personality. A woman with arrests, who had gone through everything and deep down had done what she wanted ”, recalls the Valencian writer Manuel Vincent.

The couplet was the particular expression Spanish of a global cultural movement to recover folklore, within the political process of consolidation of all European nationalisms, also among the new nationalities without a state until the collapse of liberal democracies. There was copla with Maura, Dato and Primo de Rivera, in the Second Republic, during the Civil War and in the dictatorship, but this perspective was indecipherable in the ideological urgency of anti-Francoism.

Photo: The Blue Pants by Víctor Ortiz and Los Milos with Bruno Lomas.  (on loan)
The man who was always there: rock in Valencia in the last 50 years

Victor Lopez Heras. Valencia

Among the most intransigent, those who never enjoyed any music that did not say what they wanted to hear. Deaf by vocation, the environment was tight. Neither Franco managed to appropriate the music of Concha Piquer, nor can it be blamed, excessively, that some erred when affirming that he had indeed succeeded. The historical account is polished over time, and historiography helps to reverse the preconceived ideas and common places that someone turned into dogmas of faith in 1968. When rebelling was a priority, not even the music of the mothers was saved.

in the novel Portrait of a modern woman Manuel Vicent intertwines real biographical data with fabled spaces: “Concha Piquer she is herself a character in a novel whose voice for many years synthesized a collective passion. His songs were the soundscape of the postwar period. I thought that this Valencian heroine deserved to come to the surface again and in my novel I have done nothing but surround it with a literary atmosphere. a life full of passions They were between glory and tragedy. The coplas de la Piquer were the soundtrack of all the children of the Spanish postwar period.

Concha Piquer Museum of Valencia. (Valencia City Hall)

These became twentysomethings in the early sixties. If the historical context is relevant, the generational factor is essential. In the same way that today the kids listen to Rosalía and Bad Bunny, fleeing from the CDs of Madonna and Guns ‘n’ Roses of their parents, Raimon, Bruno Lomas and that generation of Valencians chose musical diversity offered by Brassens, Mina, Elvis Presley or Adriano Celentano in 1961. Modernity never sounds on the parents’ radio, and the melodies of childhood are those impositions to which one only returns when youth disappears.

Photo: Joaquín Prats, from behind, with Nino Bravo, Yaco Lara and Bruno Lomas.  (Ana Mafe Garcia)
Nino Bravo, Camilo Sesto and Bruno Lomas in 1972, the year they conquered the charts together

Victor Lopez Heras. Valencia

In the deliberations of the jury for the Prince of Asturias Awards, in 1987, Manuel Vicent, Joan Manuel Serrat, Pilar Miró, Antonio López and Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón they tried to coup to the verdict including the candidacy of the Valencian singer. “When the award was already awarded and about to sign the minutes, we agreed to change the candidate at the last moment. We proposed Concha Piquer. We believed that it was a way of vindicating popular culture. It was a storm in a glass of water”, says Vicent. There were no more attempts. Concha Piquer died in 1990. Now, Piquer’s legacy returns to Valencia today. It’s never too late. A proud businesswoman and an excessive woman for the parameters of her time, she already received recognition from Valencia during her lifetime. On February 20, 1964, she herself anointed the Conchita Piquer street, in the El Calvari neighborhood of Campanar. A street frozen in time, tattooed on the city’s must.

100 years ago now, Conchita Piquer was becoming in the first modern Spanish artist in history. She happened in Manhattan, acting in one of the brand new talkies in the history of cinema, and interpreting the opera in English The Wildcatby maestro Penella, at the Park Theater on 49th Street in New York.

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more

Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

Leave a Reply