Homenaje a Leonard Cohen en Gijón: Nacho Vegas Dando Titulares Y Censurado by Víctor Rodríguez (Hipersónico. October 21, 2011) deals with the political statement made from the stage during the Gijón Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert that took place during the 2011 Prince Of Asturias Awards ceremonies. That event was significant enough to be shared and understood by readers who read and speak only English; consequently, I prevailed on Coco Éclair to translate the pertinent excerpt from the article rather than depend on Google Translate or similar mechanisms. The following (translated) text, the photo, and the video were all part of the original article. (The entire article can be read in its original Spanish at the link.)
Tribute to Leonard Cohen in Gijón:
Nacho Vegas Making Headlines and Being Censured
On Wednesday night Leonard Cohen sat down in the guest box of the Teatro Jovellanos (Jovellanos Theatre), the box that opens on very few occasions. He arrived like the star that he is, with photographers waiting for him at the door and striking a pose for the media in the foyer. He knew what they had prepared for him, or perhaps not, but at the end of his tribute he took a handkerchief out of his jacket and made a gesture as if to dry his eyes after listening to “So Long, Marianne” by all of the participants.
Everything happened according to plan, or almost everything, because among the headliners of the next day was Nacho Vegas, who, after telling in comedy club style how he found out about the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters and before launching into the last of the three songs that he did, dropped a bomb that broke all protocols.
The man from Gijón (Vegas) said something like “Leonard Cohen says that he is very happy to have come to the land of Lorca and I recommend to him that he be careful, because even these days you need to shake the hand of some of those who may kill you.” The review on the website of the organizers of the event, the Foundation of the Prince of Asturias, was careful to not let the politically incorrect comment get out. Did Vegas do a good thing or a bad thing? Personally, I think that it was not the place nor do I think that they translated for Cohen what Vegas had said.
Nacho Vegas sung “The Stranger Song” by the honoree, accompanied on chorus by Mar Álvarez (from Pauline en la Playa) and Montse Álvarez (ex Nosoträsh member), and it became silent in the jam-packed theatre with a very diversified audience, some of which, I would swear, were not familiar with his work.
Vegas pleasantly surprised the audience with a cover of “The Partisan” in Asturian, with the traditional French theme that Leonard Cohen did in his version, and whose lyrics were adapted by David Guardado (ex Penelope Trip member). To say that it was moving is not enough for a song that he should introduce into his repertoire. And he left playing “Ocho y medio” solo, in his role as a singer-songwriter.