The Poetry and Music of Joaquín Sabina: An Angel with Black Wings is a thoroughly researched exploration of the life, music, and song lyrics of the celebrated Spanish singer-songwriter Joaquín Sabina. Often called "the Spanish Dylan," Sabina has established his own highly poetic space over the course of his forty-plus years as a recording artist. Using selected song lyrics from his fifteen studio and three major live albums, Daniel J. Nappo analyzes Sabina's use of antithesis, simile, metaphor, synesthesia, rhyme, and other rhetorical and poetic devices. Nappo also devotes a chapter to Sabina's ability as a narrator and concludes the book with a comparison of Sabina's best work with that of the American singer-songwriter and Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan.
Daniel J. Nappo is professor of Spanish at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Introduction: Joaquín Sabina and the Question of Song Lyrics as Poetry
Chapter 1: Essential Biography and Musical Trajectory
Chapter 2: The Poetics of Joaquín Sabina’s Lyrics
Chapter 3: “Los Cuentos Que Yo Cuento” (“The Stories That I Tell”)
Conclusion: The Poetry of Joaquín Sabina and Bob Dylan
The book does an outstanding job of interpreting and bringing Joaquín Sabina’s lyrical yet down to earth creativity to the next level for the critics and anyone interested. Moreover, the fact that this brave work is released in English, places the artist among other international rock stars that have transcended the musical scene to become poets of the masses. Daniel Nappo’s monograph is a thorough, enlightening, and a needed piece that keeps pushing Hispanic studies to review, reimagine, and rethink our modes or representation through the paths that connect us as a society, as well as the weight of music and popular culture in the 21st century.
In this lively and engaging book, Daniel Nappo introduces the English-speaking world to the illustrious Spanish poet and singer-song writer Joaquín Sabina. Written in an accessible style, this is also a work of serious scholarship that makes an invaluable contribution to the burgeoning field of Spanish popular music studies. The book concludes with a spirited and meticulous defense of Sabina against those who would see him as a mere imitator of Bob Dylan. Despite his admiration for the iconic American artist, Sabina is an original creator in his own right whose work deserves scrupulous attention.
In the gravelly voice of Joaquín Sabina, contemporary Spain’s nocturnal poet, one can hear the texture of cigarette butts and dirty napkins discarded every night on the floor of Madrid bars. Daniel Nappo is attuned to such nuances and he expertly demonstrates the poetic genius and narrative skills of Sabina in a book that will appeal to both sabinistas and music lovers unfamiliar with “the Spanish Bob Dylan.” Throughout, Nappo offers ample evidence that while comparisons with the folk icon are unavoidable, Sabina’s version of “literary rock” has been shaped as much by Spanish (and Latin American) literature, music and culture as by American folk and British rock. English speakers will appreciate Nappo’s diligent translation of Sabina’s playful lyrics, which makes the electric songs of this singular force in Spanish music and letters accessible to an audience that will arrive late to the party, but not before the lights go out.
For English-speaking audiences, The Poetry and Music of Joaquín Sabina: An Angel with Black Wings is a must-read introduction to the Spanish singer-songwriter and his many accomplishments as a poet and storyteller. Nappo advances the otherwise overlooked and understudied literary significance of this “poet turned singer," and he does so by conducting a rigorous critical study of the relevant biographical, rhetorical, and discursive elements of the artist´s songwriting. This book ultimately succeeds in bringing Sabina´s remarkable poetic talent to the foreground, even to the point of making a strong case that the Spaniard surpasses some of the achievements of his American counterpart, Bob Dylan.
Nappo’s book is an encouraging first step to English-speaking academia’s understanding of a major figure in Spanish popular culture of the past fifty years.