Pimpinela shook the music scene with the theatrical "singing duels" of the 1980s. Four decades on, siblings Lucía and Joaquín Galán are not even thinking of retiring: "We continue on with the same intensity as on our first day."
The Argentine duo have begun a United States tour to commemorate their 40th anniversary after months of separation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It’s an important number," Lucía, 60, told AFP in an interview at her hotel after a concert in Los Angeles.
"For us [onstage] presentation is very important. Our proposal, mixing theatre and music, is a concept prepared to be performed live," she adds.
Pimpinela sprang to fame with the inescapable ‘Olvídame y pega la vuelta’ in the early 1980s. On the insistence of their mother, Joaquín, already a musician, composed a song to sing with his sister, who moved in theatre circles.
"When I arrived back from class, he played the guitar and I began to sing, exaggerating: '¿Quién es?/Soy yo/¿Qué vienes a buscar?/A ti,' whereupon we said: ‘Hey, wait, we’ve got something there!’ recounts Lucía about the powerful song sung by thousands and relaunched by celebrity couple Marc Anthony and Jennifer López in 2016, two years after their divorce.
"That song is magic. After all those years it’s still the song they sing most in Spain at karaokes," said Joaquín, 68, the duo’s composer.
"It was part of a sequence, they began to come out as solos," he tells about the process behind the "canciones de pelea, as people used to call them."
But Pimpinela is more than that, affirm the Galán siblings.
"We have songs dedicated to the family, against gender violence and against xenophobia and for gay marriage. We’re always going over stories common to many people in different places," says Lucía.
But in the effervescent musical market, Pimpinela decided to renew their repertoire while remaining true to their style.
"We arrange each song as if it were a mini-opera of three minutes, our shows are more theatrical than musical," explains Lucía.
"Music has changed radically, it’s another world, but we have adapted," admits Joaquín.
In November, 2019, the Galáns received a Latin Grammy for their career.
In March, 2020, they premiered ‘Traición,’ another theatrical song in which a middle-aged man reveals to his wife that he is betraying her but with a man and not a woman as she supposes.
"Many people are surprised by this facet," comments Joaquín, himself surprised at the reaction. "If there’s one thing we haven’t been in our career, it’s conservative, we’ve always sought to break prejudices as a brother and sister singing love songs."
During the pandemic they were separated while mourning the death of their mother in January, 2020.
"Living just four blocks away from each other, we spent nine months without seeing each other," says Joaquín.
They met just twice in their native Buenos Aires, once to launch a song on the pandemic, ‘2020: el año en que se detuvo el tiempo (the year time stopped),' while administering their charity work in virtual form.
They will continue their Latin American tour next year while recording a disc to commemorate their 40 years as invited artists.
‘We are as one’
The synchronisation of the Galáns is notorious. There’s a rhythm between them when they pose and when they talk.
When asked how she divides her professional and personal life with her only brother, Lucía responds laughing: "It’s intense, how much time have you got?"
"It’s mostly OK but yes, we do have our rows and our days distanced from each other," she confesses.
"But a joke or a chat is enough to get over the arguments. If we weren’t brother and sister, I don’t think we’d have lasted 40 years."
The siblings, whose versatile musical taste includes reggaeton and trap, say they’ve never contemplated solo careers.
"As Pimpinela we permanently feel the recognition for having done something different, for having created our own style. Separately we’d just have been two more of the same, together we’re one," says Joaquín.
"Never solo," adds Lucía, immediately joshing: "I wouldn’t have anybody to fight with!"
by Paula Ramon, AFP