If you don't know who Joan Manuel Serrat is, don't feel bad--it's not your fault.
Thanks to the lousy taste of the local Spanish-language radio stations, the work of artists such as Serrat, Mercedes Sosa, Silvio Rodriguez and other heroes of the real world of Latin music are largely ignored.
Thankfully, those who filled the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to near-capacity Sunday night remember very well that Serrat is a true legend of the Spanish-language popular song who since the late '60s has served as an example of how to sing and write.
And after 30 years, he still has a unique voice that fills the air when it murmurs and is as delicate as a feather when it screams.
The 52-year-old Barcelona singer-songwriter offered an intimate, nonstop journey of his extensive repertoire, which includes musical adaptations of poems by Miguel Hernandez, Antonio Machado and Rafael Alberti, as well as social and political commentaries that decry human exploitation and economic injustices suffered by society's most vulnerable.
But, like Rodriguez and the other so-called "political" artists, Serrat is, above all else, a premier writer and singer of love songs. And that's why, in his usual unspectacular way, he kept coming back for encores, always willing to please an audience that just wouldn't let him go.