This June 9 is a sad day for rock and music in general in Spanish, Unfortunately, Pau Donés, vocalist and leader of Jarabe de Palo, died at the age of 53 after fighting for almost five years against colon cancer.. A sad news because just a few weeks ago he had reappeared on his balcony to give us courage in the face of the coronavirus pandemic to play “I’ll be back”, a song that will remain as a last legacy of his philosophy before life.
Without a doubt we will always remember Pau for the songs he composed for the Spanish band, however, one of the most emblematic songs in Donés’ entire career and that launched him to fame was “La Flaca“, That song that spoke of a slim woman who drove him crazy became a true classic of Hispanic musicWell, practically anyone you ask we are sure you know it, but did you know the story behind this great song?
It all starts in the summer of 1995, when Jarabe de Palo organized a trip to Havana, Cuba with the director Fernando de France with the aim of recording the video for “The Dark Side”, another important song in the discography of the band. But when you get to the island and party at a disco called 1830 – known by all the locals as La Tasca -, Pau Donés found a woman who left him speechless and who would eventually inspire him to compose this song.
According to the leader of Jarabe de Palo on the album / book Recycling orchestra found on the web, This was a short but intense romance for him: “We had some mojitos and when we were leaving, a woman of impressive beauty entered the premises, wearing a semi-transparent red chiffon dress, and in the face two suns that spoke without words.”
This girl was called Alsoris Guzmán, a young Cuban model who in those years loved to spend her nights dancing at La Tasca. During all those days they were looking for a woman to appear in her video clip, but both Pau and the rest of the band could not get out of the mind of that woman who had suddenly entered their lives, until one day and after spending several nights having some drinks in the same club, They saw her again and asked her if she wanted her to appear in the video.
Although the plans to shoot the video clip were not going as they wanted, Because it rained like never before in Havana, Pau Donés managed to get to know Alsoris better, knowing places on the island that only the locals could teach him: “It rained without compassion all week, so we could not shoot a meter of film, although we could discover, from the hand of Alsoris, that Cuba that does not appear in the catalogs of travel agencies.”
During those days, “La Flaca” moved to Pau’s room and there were some changes in the logistics of the band, pBut what affected the leader of Jarabe de Palo the most was undoubtedly falling in love with that ‘tremendous mulatto’Because she only saw him as someone she worked with, but before returning to Spain Inspiration came to the leader of the band to compose a song as a farewell.
“The night before the trip we went out to celebrate, we returned to the hotel at dawn and already in the room, Alsoris, like every night, gave me a kiss on the cheek and got into his bed. I went to the bathroom and when I went out, seeing that black angel clad in white sheets, I couldn’t help myself. I lay in bed, hugged her and the next memory I have is waking up with the morning sun hitting me in the face, hugging Alsoris, but fully dressed, ” Pau account.
He got up, grabbed pencil, paper and, Sitting on his bed and looking at “La Flaca” asleep, he wrote, according to Pau Donés: “In just ten minutes, a short poem that related what he had felt for that woman during those two incredible weeks in Havana.” He copied the quick poetry he had written on another sheet and put it away before leaving.
“Here I leave you a gift, my Skinny, in gratitude for these days that I will never forget. We hugged each other and said goodbye. Once I passed passport control, I couldn’t resist the need to see her one last time. I turned around and looking at her I realized that I had already opened the envelope. I was crying while reading that short poetry that over the years would become the song that put Jarabe de Palo on the map ”, concludes the gang leader.
And you may wonder, did the vocalist manage to kiss this woman? Well, everything indicates that yes, although he was not as passionate as we expected. According to El Mundo –who interviewed “La Flaca” a few years ago -, Pau Donés was a winner because in the end he did get what he wanted, a kiss from that woman: “A kiss emerged, but now; a kiss on the bus when we were traveling in Cuba. He was a shy person then, apart from that we were very young; and don’t ask me to mix work with something else ”.
History would change when in 1996, Jarabe de Palo would publish the album of the same name, where Pau turned the poem into an iconic song of music in Spanish. But the name of the band would not be so well known until almost a year after the release of their debut album and thanks to the tobacco brand Ducados, who chose the theme to music one of their ads, becoming the song of the summer of 1997.
But beyond that, we remember “La Flaca” as that song dedicated to those women who, for various reasons, make it impossible for a few romantics to speak to them and even untouchable, but deep down they always have in mind that they would do anything for a single kiss, even if only one was …
Watch on YouTube