Pablo Guerrero
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Pablo Guerrero
Sueños Sencillos

cd cover Spanish singer-songwriter and guitarist Pablo Guerrero hails from Esparragosa de Lares, Badajoz, Extremadura, the parched homeland of many of the Spanish conquistadores. In 1967, at age 21, he left for Madrid, and within two years his work had begun to gain wide reception in Spain. In particular, his song "A Cántaros" (a title implying "raining like cats and dogs," inspired in spirit by Dylan's "Hard Rain") became a utopian hymn for the late-1960s generation, still living under the fascist pall of the Franco regime.

However, as a schoolteacher with a background in literature and philosophy, Guerrero would not dedicate himself fully to a performing and touring career until the mid-1970s. As a singer and lyricist, Guerrero's uncompromising poetic inclinations have had a bracing effect on Spanish canción popular. Among the country's leading troubadours, Guerrero remains a spiritual counterweight to the generic pop sensibilities that have arisen, here as elsewhere, with an uncritical embrace of commercial rock.

The latest in an idiosyncratic recording career that began in 1969, Sueños Sencillos (Simple Dreams) is Guerrero's thirteenth Spanish release. Some listeners may recognize his inimitable, understated baritone from A Maria Teresa Vera (Intuition, 1999), the superb tribute to the grand Cuban singer-songwriter. The accompaniment is sparse (acoustic guitar, bass and backing female voices), putting his pensive lyricism up front, a masterful illustration of the artistic virtues of less-is-more. Guerrero is a musician who has made a conscious choice to live at the margins of a music industry whose modus operandi is to homogenize everything in its grasp. Spanish speakers will appreciate the inclusion of the original lyrics. They emanate from the soul of a poet deeply concerned with the relations of power that deform community life on the planet. Guerrero's unassuming philosophical reflections upon mundane experience acknowledge the precious, fleeting character of human existence, the delight to be taken in everyday social relations, and the healing powers of love and a famously unfettered imagination. In the Spanish double-pun on his name, this singer continues to pablar y guerrear, to testify and to fight for dreams whose simplicity speaks the language of freedom. - Michael Stone

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