Friends and admirers bid farewell to the 'King of Bolero'

Concert in Barcelona's Auditori venue pays tribute to bolero singer Moncho, who died unexpectedly in December

Image of the tribute held in Barcelona's Auditori to Moncho on January 14, 2019 (by Mar Vila)
Image of the tribute held in Barcelona's Auditori to Moncho on January 14, 2019 (by Mar Vila) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 15, 2019 05:53 PM

Friends and admirers of Moncho came together this week for an emotional concert to pay tribute to the Catalan bolero singer who died on December 28.

Barcelona's Auditori was the venue for the tribute, which included performances by a host of recognized artists who were also friends and admirers of the 'King of Bolero.'

Joan Manuel Serrat, Dyango, Antonio Carmona, Miguel Poveda, Lolita, Pau Donés, Tamara and Sabor de Gràcia were among the artists who performed in the concert.

Moncho's family also went on stage to perform the song 'Rosó,' and the concert ended with all of the artists present together singing 'Toda una vida' along with the audience.

Farewell concert becomes posthumous tribute

This was the song Moncho was supposed to sing surrounded by his colleagues in a farewell concert that, due to his unexpected death, was turned into a posthumous tribute.

Moncho was 14 when he began to take an interest in Catalan rumba, a musical genre that appeared in the 1950s, mixing influences from flamenco, Cuban music and rock and roll.

In fact, it was Catalan rumba band, Sabor de Gràcia, who kicked off proceedings, with a rendition of one of Moncho's favourite bolero songs, 'Levántate.'

Moncho appeared on screen, in a video he had recorded to present what was supposed to be his farewell concert, tickets for which had sold out by Christmas Day.

Ramón Calabuch Batista

Known as the 'King of Bolero,' although singer Dyango said he preferred the moniker 'The Bolero Gypsy,' Moncho was born Ramón Calabuch Batista in the Catalan capital in 1940.

In a career that lasted for over half a century, Moncho recorded some 34 albums of bolero songs, in both Spanish and Catalan.

The singer died from heart failure on December 28, 2018, in the hospital in Mataró, the city not far from Barcelona where he lived.

As Moncho said in the video at the start of the tribute, for him bolero was a "feeling," and it was one family, friends, colleagues, and the audience shared as the concert came to its moving end.