Essentials Bravo for Nino Bravo

“Essentials”: Bravo for Nino Bravo

It was The Voice, our Sinatra, or maybe he preferred to compare himself to Tom Jones. Other great singers of the period, late ’60s and early ’70s, cultivated their style of singing; Nino Bravo carried a miracle of nature in his throat. He was 28 years old when he died in a traffic accident in Cuenca. It was 1973. It was a shock when Spain premiered color television, needed songs like Libre, and thousands of girls were named Noelia.

Nino Bravo: vivir, the last episode of Imprescindibles, broadcast on La 2 and available on RTVE Play, was dedicated to Luis Manuel Ferri, as the Valencian singer was actually called half a century after his disappearance. Unreleased material from RTVE and the family archive is revealed, including his only live recording with the group (then called Conjunto) Superson. In the beginning, when he was covering Only You, one of his musicians told him: “You have such a good falsetto!” He replied, “It’s not a falsetto.”

He made a name for himself in Valencia but found it difficult to get to Madrid: he was booed for a sound problem on one of his first attempts. But his character and booming voice overcame all obstacles and the best composers put themselves at his service: Augusto Algueró, José Luis Armenteros and Pablo Herrero. They wrote him songs in a very bad mood to challenge his enormous vocal range, but he always went where almost nobody else went. He tried twice to go to the Eurovision Song Contest in the then OT-like programs, but Julio Iglesias and Karina were chosen. It didn’t matter. His fame crossed the pond, he went to Latin America to sing, he took part in the Montreux Festival.

He had just recorded América, América and was writing a song called Vivir, his first original song, when tragedy struck. The report brings together the memories of employees, colleagues, journalists and friends. And his two daughters, Amparo and Eva, one born shortly before his death, the other shortly after. We see him with the first, a baby, in his arms. He says he won’t improvise a lullaby: it has to be the best. The second, as an adult, had the opportunity to sing a duet on one of his recordings. The feelings of these women are strange: they had no father to remember, but they always kept in mind his myth.

Just three years after the death of Nino Bravo in 1976, this Spain that was beginning to appear in color lost Cecilia in another bloody car. Another truncated iconic voice, another talent that didn’t make it past its youth. I was 27 years old. She’s left for another Essentials.

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