Diego El Cigala "Indestructible" - Seville
Text: Sara Arguijo Photos: Adam Newby
Diego el Cigala: being and being there
This article was intended to be a chronicle of Diego el Cigala’s return to Seville, talking about the artist’s tribute to the great stars of salsa with his show ‘Indestructible’, the recording he released last October, and in which he applies his unmistakeable sound to those Caribbean rhythms, just as he did previously with tangos and boleros.
But as it happened, round about 9:15pm, when the audience hadn’t even been able to enter and take their seats in the Fibes auditorim for the concert announced for nine o’clock, tempers starting to wear thin. And even more so if it’s half past nine, and there’s no announcement regarding the reason for the delay, and people start whistling in protest. Or when it’s nine-forty, and the singer finally appears with sound that could have been better and without giving the most rudimentary apology. “How rude!” could be heard.
From that point on, it clearly was difficult to bond with the Madrid singer who appeared uninterested in what he was doing, and oblivious to the audience’s coldness. And of course, the applause was more for the masterly interpretation of the musicians than for the artificial suffering in the voice of El Cigala.
So it was inevitable that in the new salsa pieces, our ears were tuned in to the band, and our eyes went straight to the chorus girls, who were terrific, and tried to keep up the color and flavor required by a genre more luminous than what the Madrid singer was delivering. At times he even seemed to be a spectator at his own show.
He did seem more at ease in the boleros, accompanied by the exquisite and elegant piano of Jaime Calabuch, interpreting the tortured verses that gave him international fame, prompting people to record with their phones. Classics that he completely made his own, and in which he also included a wink to Camarón with the “Nana del Caballo Grande”.
Even so, people were leaving the auditorium due to the delay in starting, and the disappointment of those who were expecting a truly dedicated artist. Because there is no doubt Cigala is capable of getting through to your soul with that dark sound of his. And of giving new meaning to the verses of songs like ‘Si te Contara’, ‘Corazón Loco’, ‘Te Quiero te Quiero’ and ‘Lágrimas Negras’ – the high points of the night – chewing every note. But in the end, to communicate, you have to feel, and to feel, in addition to being, you have to be there.
Video Diego el Cigala grabado en su concierto de Madrid - 7 diciembre 2016