Latin Grammy winner Pablo Milanés has died aged 79. : NPR

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Latin Grammy winner Pablo Milanés has died aged 79. : NPR
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Cuban singer Pablo Milanes performs during a concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday October 6, 2004. Milanes, the Latin Grammy-winning balladist who helped found Cuba’s ‘nueva trova’ movement and has toured the world as a cultural ambassador for Fidel Castro’s revolution, died early Tuesday, November 22, 2022 in Spain, where he was undergoing treatment for blood cancer.

Natasha Pisarenko/AP


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Latin Grammy Winner Pablo Milanés Has Died Aged 79. : Npr

Cuban singer Pablo Milanes performs during a concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday October 6, 2004. Milanes, the Latin Grammy-winning balladist who helped found Cuba’s ‘nueva trova’ movement and has toured the world as a cultural ambassador for Fidel Castro’s revolution, died early Tuesday, November 22, 2022 in Spain, where he was undergoing treatment for blood cancer.

Natasha Pisarenko/AP

His fans across Latin America knew him simply as Pablito. Known for hits such as Yolanda and Yo me quedoPablo Milanés helped define Nueva Trova, the musical genre that emerged in Cuba in the 1970s.

Milanés died in Madrid. He moved to Spain several years ago to receive cancer treatment. The Latin Grammy winner’s death was announced on his Facebook page:

“With great pain and sadness, we regret to announce that Maestro Pablo Milanés passed away this morning of November 22 in Madrid. We deeply appreciate all expressions of love and support, to all his family and friends. friends, at this very difficult time. . May he rest in the love and peace he has always transcended. He will forever be in our memory.”

In a 2019 interview with his daughter Haydée Milanés, NPR’s Alt-Latino described Pablo as “one of the most revered singer-songwriters to emerge from a heady time when politics, poetry and acoustic guitars were flowing from Cuba in the form of new trovaor a new song.”

Latin Grammy Winner Pablo Milanés Has Died Aged 79. : Npr

Pablo Milanés (right) and his daughter Haydée Milanés perform together at the Kennedy Center.

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Latin Grammy Winner Pablo Milanés Has Died Aged 79. : Npr

Pablo Milanés (right) and his daughter Haydée Milanés perform together at the Kennedy Center.

Jati Lindsay/Kennedy Center

Pablo Milanés has had a complicated relationship with the Cuban government over the decades. He supported Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution but he was also a free thinker. In the mid-1960s, he was sent to the Castro regime’s forced labor camps known as Military Production Assistance Units (UMAP) where, according to El País“priests, homosexuals and other ‘anti-social elements’ were interned under the pretext of compulsory military service.”

“It was a concentration camp and I spent a year and a half of my life there,” Milanés told the Guardian in 1999. “It wasn’t that there were physical punishments, it was the fact that you were locked up, with hard physical labor, cutting sugar cane from dawn to dusk.” He said he didn’t know exactly why he was sent there. “I was living a bohemian lifestyle… who knows, the whole attitude of youth at the time.”

Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted that Milanés and his songs are an “inseparable voice from the soundtrack of our generation”.

Earlier this year, Milanes announced that he had signed the Cuban Civil Society Manifesto calling for social and economic change in the country. In a Facebook post, he urged others to read the document and embrace new ways of thinking, ‘that call for new laws, new freedoms, new active participation in today’s society’ today, which would lead us to a dialogue of peace”.

Among the many tributes from other artists, Peruvian singer Tania Libertad wrote“A great composer, a wonderful singer and an extraordinary friend…We will miss you Dear Pablo. Bon voyage. I hold you in my arms and I will always sing to you.”

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