Argentinian Culture Vs. Spanish Culture

joan-manuel-serratAs mentioned before, Teatro Colón might be the best venue a true artist could ever wish for when performing in Argentina. Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat, known as El Nano Serrat by his fans, was granted the honor of performing at Teatro Colón. Perhaps, per the public’s request that, for two decades, has been chanting “al Colón, al Colón” at the end of his concerts.

The last time I saw Joan Manuel Serrat in Buenos Aires, it was on the field of a soccer stadium, with 65 thousand people, squeezed among the crowd, stomping on each other’s feet and being stomped on in return. Seeing him, in this case, might be a euphemism, since he was a tiny white dot moving on a distant stage. The first time people saw Serrat in Catalonia, it was in a sports center in Barcelona, sitting in a comfortable armchair with 350 other people and there were empty seats. During the intermezzo, the singer got down the stage to order a glass of wine at the bar. Nobody was screaming or talking to him.

Here in Catalonia, Joan Manuel Serrat is not a rockstar. For those Argentines that might be reading this post, he is a mixture of Sergio Denis (a popstar from the 70s) and Chico Novarro, (a bolero artist popular in the 60s). This is probably a rather arbitrary comparison, but the point is that Joan Manuel Serrat in Catalonia is a singer songwriter, who can play in a small sports venue, without anyone bothering him if he goes down to the bar to drink wine during intermission. Unlike in Argentina, where Serrat is revered as a sort of folk music demigod, a Bob Dylan, in Catalonia, he is mostly followed by older ladies (who were in love with him maybe some twenty years ago).