Thursday, December 30, 2010

La Bicicleta Blanca - Francisco Llanos

Some singers are magicians - they not only sing the song, they transport the audience to another place. Such is the case in this performance by Francisco Llanos. The conditions are not ideal - a municipal salon in Rio Cuarto which has probably seen more press conferences than concerts; no live band, just a recording for accompaniment through a sound system with a little too much reverb. But Llanos, born in Rio Cuarto, has his home town audience spell-bound and visibly moved in his part recitation, part singing performance of La bicicleta blanca.

La bicicleta blanca was composed by Piazzolla in 1971, with lyrics by Horacio Ferrer. The music is almost incidental to the lyrics, which you can find here in the original Spanish and with an English translation. It is one of those poems full of symbolism and levels of meaning that literature professors love to ask students to interpret. It was first recorded by Amelita Baltar in the album titled La Bicicleta Blanca but popularized largely in these versions by José Angel Trelles and Raúl Lavié. From the perspective of just singing the song, all three of those performers may surpass Llanos but for sheer magic, Llanos wins the prize.

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