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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Pedro Navaja"
Song by Willie Colón & Rubén Blades
from the album Siembra
LanguageSpanish
Released1978
GenreSalsa
Length7:22
LabelFania Records
Songwriter(s)Rubén Blades
Producer(s)Willie Colón

"Pedro Navaja" (English: Peter Blade) is a salsa song written and performed by Rubén Blades from the 1978 collaboration with Willie Colón, Siembra, about a criminal of the same name.[1] Navaja means "knife" or "razor blade" in Spanish. Inspired by the song "Mack the Knife",[2] it tells the story of a panderer's life and presumed death. The song is recognized throughout Hispanic America, as it retells scenes and stories common to these countries, although the story takes place in New York City. The song deals with life, death and the unexpected with dark humor.

A film titled Pedro Navaja based on the song was filmed in Mexico in 1984, starring Andrés García as the title character, Maribel Guardia as his girlfriend, and Resortes as his best friend.[3] It was made without Blades's input and he responded by recording the song "Sorpresas" (Surprises), which continues the story, turning the movie plot by revealing that Navaja was alive and had killed another panderer while he was being searched by the panderer, provided that the other panderer believed Navaja was dead. The 1984 film had a 1986 sequel, El Hijo de Pedro Navaja (The Son of Pedro Navaja) starring Guillermo Capetillo. The story is believed to take place in the New York neighborhood of Queens.

The musical La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja is based on John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera"[4] and Bertolt Brecht's ''Threepenny Opera.''[5] The book and lyrics are by Pablo Cabrera,[5] and music is by Pedro Rivera Toledo.[5] It was first produced by Teatro del Sesenta in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1980 at the Teatro Sylvia Rexach; toured to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and, opened the Joseph Papp's Latino Festivals of 1985 and 1986, where José Félix Gómez and Idalia Pérez Garay played the title role; also produced by the Teatro Musical de La Habana, Cuba; produced by the Compañía de Teatro Nacional de Venezuela (1986 & 1991); Lolyn Paz produced it three times: in Caguas, Puerto Rico (2003),[6] with Yolandita Monge in the lead female part,[6] San Juan, Puerto Rico (2004), and Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2004); Lima, Peru, starring, among others, Camila Mac Lennan. In 2019 it was staged in Miami with Beatriz Valdés and Manolo Ramos in the lead parts.[7][8]

Storyline

The lyrics of the song by Blades[9] describe the namesake of the song as he walks down an unnamed avenue in New York City, explicitly mentioning how Navaja dresses, what kind of shoes and hat he wears, his dark glasses (worn so that no one can tell where he's looking at), his shiny gold tooth, and how he always hides his hands in his coat pockets so that "no one can tell in which hands he holds his knife." At the same time, the song notes and also describes a tired streetwalker who is walking the same street about three blocks from Navaja. An unmarked police cars slowly cruises down the avenue, and the prostitute steps into an alley to have a drink - it's a slow day and she hasn't had any clients.[9]

Navaja looks around the empty avenue, when suddenly the woman comes out of the alley and he sees her. He tightens his grip on the knife and silently runs across the street. Meanwhile, the prostitute takes a gun out of her coat pocket and is about to put it in her purse, so that it stops "bothering" her, when Navaja attacks her with the knife, laughing and the gold tooth "lighting up the avenue" as he plunges the weapon into her. Suddenly a shot rings out and Navaja falls dead to the ground while the mortally wounded woman taunts him verbally as she also falls dead to the ground.[9]

A drunk stumbles upon the two dead bodies, picks up the gun, the knife, and two dollars and saunters away singing off-key about the "surprises that life throws at you."[9]

Reception

On the review of the album Siembra, John Bush of Allmusic referred the message as "a devastating life-in-el-Barrio exposé".[10] He also praised the arrangements of Willie Colón and Luis Ortiz, noting the use of street noise and police sirens as well as the statement "I like to live in America", part of the chorus lyrics for the song "America" from West Side Story, the film. It was listed on Billboard's "15 Best Salsa Songs Ever" in 2018.[11]

Covers

The song has been covered by Los Joao, La Lupe, La Orquesta Plateria (that popularized the song in Spain), Pepe Arevalo, Los Flamers, Roman Palomar, A Palo Seko, Markoz, and La Pozze Latina. Pedro Navaja was one of the songs that Puerto Rican singer Chayanne covered his 1994 album, Influencias.[12] Mexican pop singer, Emmanuel covered the song on his live album, Emmanuel Presenta...[13]

References

  1. ^ "Pedro Navaja" on MaestraVida.com
  2. ^ "Performance with Seis del Solar"
  3. ^ IMDB profile
  4. ^ "La Verdadera Historia de Pedro Navaja". Koubek Center - Miami Dade College. Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  5. ^ a b c Bruckner, D. j r (1986-08-08). "Stage: 'Pedro Navaja'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  6. ^ a b "Exitos para 'La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja'". La Prensa Panamá (in Spanish). 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  7. ^ Encarnacion, Mariela (2019-04-03). "Así es el musical "La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja"". CNN (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  8. ^ VOCERO, Jorge Rodríguez, EL. "Con "arma secreta" en Pedro Navaja". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  9. ^ a b c d Willie Colón & Rubén Blades – Pedro Navaja, retrieved 2020-08-18
  10. ^ Bush, John. "Siembra: Review". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  11. ^ Cantor-Navas, Judy (31 May 2018). "The 15 Best Salsa Songs Ever: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Influencias — Chayanne". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  13. ^ "Emmanuel Presenta...;— Emmanuel". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-11-24.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 September 2021, at 03:20
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