“I’m also sending you my photos with Joaquín. [Sabina]so you can see the bad relationship that exists between us”.
EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA from the Prensa Ibérica group receives this text via WhatsApp from: Esther Segarra, manager of musician Pancho Varona. He says this ironically because in the photos he sent, he is seen laughing and hugging the Jaén singer.
Esther Segarra has been the unlikely hero of this year’s most media holiday. It’s not an emotional break, it’s a musical break. It represents guitarist and composer Pancho Varona and singer Joaquín Sabina. A tandem that has been together since 1982. After 40 years (and 40 tours) of composing 15 albums and 100 songs together, the team disbanded. Pancho Varona announced on his Twitter account on November 15 with text saying:
“Joaquín Sabina nevertheless decided not to take me on the next tour. I want to thank him with all my heart for the 100 songs we wrote together, the 40 tours I accompanied him, and the 15 albums I made. I will not be going on this tour, all of you who have accompanied me for 40 years, always on every stage I want to say that I will be with you. I am very sorry. Pancho Varona”.
After the initial shock of the fans, the first reactions came. Two articles published by cultural journalists in two media (one written by Víctor Lenore in Vozpópuli and one by Juan Puchades in Efeeme) were the most consulted by fans. In them, they gave their own version of what happened and dived into history. They talked for a long time about the cold and distant relationship between the free singer and the Madrid guitarist. Disputes in the field of music due to the different groups that interpret the repertoire sabinero. That Sabina, along with the rest of the gang, took sides against Varona. But also from Esther Segarra (Almeria, 1986), who has represented the guitarist since 2019 and is cited as one of the factors of the definitive break.
Varona hasn’t given an interview telling her version of the breakout since she announced it. Although Vozpópuli sent a text response to his article, Segarra did not either. He joins EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA in a transoceanic conversation. He starts talking to us in Mexico (where Pancho is touring) and ends in Spain, where they will continue their professional activities, now far from Sabina’s orbit. And among the photos he sent us, with Sabina, he insists that their relationship with the singer is good.
– How did you hear that Sabina will be without Pancho Varona on tour for the first time after working together for so many years?
-It’s still surprising but it’s true that there have been rumors about what’s going to happen lately. This is shocking; It’s been 40 years in total that Pancho never missed his appointment. And Joaquín always said that he would never go on stage without her. For me as a fan, this breakup is also sad.
-What do you think were the reasons that pushed you to take this decision? Did he call to let you know?
We don’t know the reasons. When Pancho got the news, I don’t think there were clear reasons to justify his dismissal. It was a goodbye that I would say without reason or explanation. Or at least that’s the feeling that stayed with us. He received an email with the news that he will no longer be part of the tour this year.
-In several articles published after the breakup, it is stated that the relationship between the two has been almost non-existent for 15 years, only professional and very cold.
I don’t remember a cold moment between the two. Whenever we were on tour, we would go to Joaquín’s dressing room to say hello or have a drink with him, and there would always be laughter, jokes with each other or with me. As I recall, the relationship was one of sympathy and affection. We had dinner with him several times in Mexico and Argentina and also visited him at his hotel. Pancho and he talked about old memories and told me anecdotes about their trips. Joaquín also offered us his house in Madrid a few times to sleep. I also remember being at his house in Rota one night before the pandemic with more of my friends. He would read some scriptures he wrote to Pancho and me to see what we were thinking. We had a good time that night.
This is shocking; It’s been 40 years in total that Pancho never missed his appointment. And Joaquín always said he wouldn’t go on stage without him” -Esther Segarra, manager of Pancho Varona
-Another key to the conflict is the disagreement between the ‘La Noche Sabinera’ group and Pancho Varona, with Joaquín supporting them at Pancho’s expense in a power struggle in the group. They accuse him of “declaring that he is the true guardian of the core of the group”.
-They wanted to do a solo project, which they believed had no place for Pancho, and they changed direction. Pancho then continued his solo projects and with his new band “La Banda del Pirata Cojo”. Because he always wanted to work in a group. All families have disagreements and we shouldn’t magnify it. Groups are separated and there is room for everyone. Regarding networks, no one self-proclaimed anything. They call themselves the “authentic sabinera band”. And Pancho had the “authentic Sabinera tour” implying it wasn’t a tribute. No one was acting like they were above anyone else. Or so we believe. Each of them started their new project with a new name.
-It is mentioned as one of the breaking factors.
I don’t have that much power to influence it. I take Pancho’s professional program and accompany him as much as possible, but with Joaquín, tours always take priority over any program.
-One of the pieces that talks about you says: “All these tensions caused the relationship between Sabina and her group to break with Varona, who broke up with her new manager, Nira Morena. [sobrenombre de Esther Segarra]imposition was one of the causes of the dispute”.
I don’t quite understand what you mean by ‘appreciate’. Joaquín’s agenda was, and always has been, Pancho’s top priority. In fact, when he booked a concert for Pancho, he warned that if Joaquín called him, the concert would have to be postponed or cancelled. While Pancho was working with the old formation, their manager devoted the monthly schedule to half the month working in the group and the other half working in Pancho’s solo. And they can continue to work on their projects alone or on anything they see fit.
So the problem is…
-The problem came with the pandemic. I’ve completed the deadlines my managers assigned me to close Pancho concerts each month. Sometimes we can go up to two concerts a day. Even in the midst of a pandemic, apart from three months of house arrest, we went to work giving private concerts. Or to autonomous communities where it’s allowed. We didn’t take a break. But always respecting the appointed dates. They stopped working for a long time, and when the manager managed to return to work with everyone, it seems that the mood had already changed and they decided to quit the project they had with Pancho at that time.
-Another news word for word says: “A friend of Pancho’s with no experience in the industry took over the hiring, replacing the previous manager (…). Pancho and the new manager left together, while the old manager returned to Benditos Madlitos.”
-When I started working with Pancho, he didn’t have a manager. I tried to help him find a few music venues and we started closing many concerts together. We realized that we formed a good working team there and we continued our working relationship. The group that previously owned “Noche Sabinera” had its own manager. So no one was fired or replaced. The group had one and Pancho had me for their solo projects. The two were different agendas.
-Another important character in this story is Antonia García de Diego, who came in third in the contest. The other musician who worked side by side with Sabina and Varona all these years. He spoke about Sabina’s decision on Canal Extremadura and said: “For whatever reason, Sabina doesn’t want to play with him anymore and what Pancho is now interested in is making noise. Pancho should kneel before Joaquín and thank him”.
-Pancho didn’t want to make noise. He had the right, and almost the obligation, to announce that Joaquín would no longer be on tour, thanking him for the many songs he had worked with over the years and were extremely fond of. There are many people who love Pancho and they constantly ask him if he will go on tour. Don’t you have the right to describe your current situation in your social network? If this tweet made noise, it’s probably because it’s pretty surprising and important to the music. But each can see and misinterpret events at any time. I think it is outrageous and unfair to say that one has to kneel. Pancho started working with Joaquín while playing in La Mandrágora and was not yet known. They grew up together and shared years of work. I think they made a good music team and it will go down in history.
– After Sabina’s decision, how do you see the future of the Varona-Segarra labor binomial?
-We continue the tour. We are newcomers from Mexico, a country we love and visit at least a few times a year. We had a pretty intense tour with Los Secretos the first week. Some show that we did it together. It’s a repertoire mix that we’ve started to do in Spain as well. Now, when we arrive in Spain, we continue the agenda. During the 4 years we worked together, we never took a vacation. A new life every week. Pancho Va!, a project that consists of making Pancho’s solo concerts in halls and halls, special concerts that we started during the pandemic period and that anyone can rent it to Pancho. we replace it with.
-Where did this idea come from?
-It came out when the rooms were closed, and even though we’re back to normal now, Pancho doesn’t want to give up, because when everything stopped, people showed us a lot of love, and continuing like this is a way of giving back that love. We also toured with La Banda del Pirata Cojo. That’s why we’re working on next year’s agenda with more news and a new tour we haven’t announced yet called “Punto y seguido”.