Música en mi primer idioma: Fito Páez

Pianist, lyricist, singer, songwriter, film-maker and novelist Fito Paez has been around for more than 30 years and influenced Latin American music and the collective consciousness of me and my friends.

“Al final lo que queda es abrazarse, confiar en el otro, amar y dejarse amar en medio de la balacera que es la vida.”

The quote translates something like “In the end, what we have left is to hug each other, trust one another and let yourself be loved in the middle of this shoot out that is life”.

Tumbas de la gloria – Fito Páez

I remember the first time I heard to Fito Páez in my life. I was in high school, 16 years old and I went to a party with friends and a guy had a tape of Fito´s “El Amor Después del Amor”. I heard this song I just posted as the first track and immediately loved it. The guy sent me the copy of the tape the next day, and I think it was the album I listened to the most that year. I knew straight away that this guy was the real deal, and not a passing trend. What I never suspected was that he would implant himself in my heart and my soul, and his lyrics shaped my perspective of the world.

Rodolfo “Fito” Páez was born in Rosario, Argentina on March 13th – 1963.  His mother Margarita Zulema Ávalos was a concert pianist and math and algebra teacher and his father, Rodolfo was a public employee. Fito´s mother died when he was only 8 months old due to liver cancer, and Fito was raised by his father and paternal grandmother. He started playing the piano when he was a kid and used to play by ear, but had a lot of trouble reading music, so his teacher kicked him out, but Fito continued playing as he was naturally talented. When he was 13 years old he started his first band, Staff. Then he played in El Banquete with Ruben Goldín and Jorge Llonch. Then he started doing solo presentations and also playing piano for Juan Carlos Baglietto, and he would already play his famous Del 63 in concerts. He also had another band, Acalanto on the side, where he played folklore music with guitarrist Pichi de Benedictis.

Giros – Fito Paez

In one of the shows, Charly García went backstage to congratulate him and then contacted him for the tour “Clics Modernos”, and he would tour with Charly in 1983 and 1984. In that final year, he released his first solo album Del 63. He became a recognized composer and then released his second album Giros in 1985. In 1986 Argentina´s beloved Luis Alberto Spinetta praised his music, and together they released the album La La La.

Parte del aire – Fito Páez 

On November 7th, 1986, while Fito was on tour in Río de Janeiro, his grandmother (Delma Zulema), grandma´s sister (Josefa) and Fermina Godoy (their maid) were brutally murdered in Rosario. It was a dark, difficult and terrible time. Fito’s father had died the previous year and he was now alone and devastated by such tragic incident. Later, his former bassist Walter De Giusti was found guilty. During that period Fito wrote the famous and visceral song we feature below.

Ciudad de Pobres Corazones – Fito Páez

In December 1987 he was the opening  act for Sting at River Plate stadium. In 1988 he released his album Ey, which was recorded in New York and La Habana, it was the first record he produced. In 1990 he released Tercer Mundo, about his travels around Latin America. My personal favorite is included on this one. It also has guest musicians like Mercedes Sosa. His next album was his biggest commercial success El Amor Después del Amor (1992).  He sold over 650.000 copies and had numerous hits and won different awards. In 1994 he released Circo Beat, which did not live up to the hype but had several hits. In 1996 he relased his acoustic album Euforia which was his first live album. It is gorgeous. In 1998 he collaborated with Spanish singer songwriter Joaquin Sabina and they released the album Enemigos Intimos and, since then, he has released more albums, but I lost track of them after 2003’s Naturaleza Sangre. You can find his discography here.

Besides his musical talent, Fito wrote a novel, which he launched in 2013 and also wrote and directed movies and short films, he also did a Cameo in Almodovar´s Todo Sobre Mi Madre. He is political and votes in favor of Argentina´s left party, and was the fist foreing musician to play in La Habana for a long time, where he sang with Silvio Rodriguez and later met Fidel Castro. He has had three formal relationships and two children, one of his former wive´s is Spanish movie actress Cecilia Roth.

As you can sense from the final paragraphs, I have sort of disconnected from his life and recent works. I have to admit the last 2 or three albums he released which I actually sat down to listen to were not my cup of tea, but in no way does it lessen the importance his music had on me while I was in my teenage years, or the excitement I felt when I was lucky enough to see him live. Like Charly, Fito is family. The “cool” cousin. The safe haven I go to when I need something to ground me and make me feel home.

“¿Quién dijo que todo está perdido? Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón.”

I will leave you with the song this quote came from. “Who says everything is lost? I have come to offer my heart”.  A song that is now my other favorite song by him.

Yo Vengo A Ofrecer Mi Corazón – Fito Paez

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