“Backwards or to gain momentum”, the Spanish singer Raphael used to insist vehemently. Thus, 60 years of career have been necessary to convince him to review and synthesize it in an ambitious documentary on the Movistar + platform that is released at the same time as an exhibition that shows him, he says, “as one is, without hiding anything.”
“I do not have to invent any film, because my life has been since it began,” claimed the one from Linares (a town in southern Spain) in the presentation today in Madrid of both projects, the first of which, “Raphaelismo”, Consisting of four episodes, it can be enjoyed in full from this Thursday on television.
After the documentary by Lola Flores, Movistar + has defined this production created and directed by Charlie Arnaiz and Alberto Ortega, from Dadá Films & Entertainment, as “the definitive documentary of a pioneer artist in modern music in Spanish for 60 years in which nobody he has stepped on the stage like him “.
“Alaska says that when he goes to see him at the theater, it is like going to mass. Few artists can mount a phenomenon so great that it transcends the character himself”, have highlighted those responsible for “Raphaelismo” when explaining why they chose this title for a “magical” project, elaborated with total “freedom” of maneuver and the full collaboration of its protagonist.
To carry it out, it was necessary to overcome a vital maxim taken to the extreme by the singer: “Backwards or to gain momentum. “
“It’s a bad thing because it doesn’t let me enjoy success. I can be on stage with everyone standing and already be thinking about tomorrow. That is very cruel because I don’t have a good time. I would like to leave the stage one day crying with joy, but I can’t, I always sharpen everything, but that has made it better and better, “he confessed.
There were many offers that were made to him in the past to take his life to other formats. “And I said: If the interesting thing is to see me on stage! But time heals everything and there came a time when I understood that it was time,” he explained the reasons that led him to say “yes.”
“Everything” has been told, they insist, with a single “red line”: dwell on the days of his liver transplant. “There are no taboos in the documentary. The only thing that has not been pleasant was talking about the transplant, but I force myself to do it until I can,” he acknowledged.
Privileged access has been provided to fellow professionals and to Raphael’s own family, who have not only offered their testimonies, but also abundant personal material such as the domestic recordings that his eldest son, Jacobo, accumulated for years in the wake of his father.
“Life has given me unforgettable moments. I remember the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York sharing the bill with Caballé and Rostropovich. Or when I went to the Sydney Opera House. Or my presentation in St. Petersburg, which cost a lot of work because Spain did not have diplomatic relations with the USSR so that I was there it meant many things, with Brezhnev (general secretary of the Communist Party) among the public, “he recalled.
The Spaniard who went to Eurovision twice, who went through the Ed Sullivan show and helped bring Sammy Davis Jr. or Shirley MacLaine to Spain, has also not stopped praising their work with Manuel Alejandro or José Luis Perales as composers of his great “crown jewels”, as well as his incarnation in theater as “Jekyll y Hyde” and his films with Spanish film directors such as Vicente Escrivá or Mario Camus.
“Camus commented that I was the only artist he knew who went beyond the screen. And that is what I like the most, that people feel for me something more than how well I sing,” he said about how he would like to be remembered. “Someone also said that Raphael is the only artist made by hand. And so I sing. Mine is made closely, not in series, they are not collections to sell,” he insisted.
In parallel with the premiere of the documentary, the Fundación Telefónica has opened the doors of a small exhibition that collects emblematic material from his careers, such as posters or records, but above all some of the most iconic pieces of his wardrobe, such as the sequin suits from the musicals “Billy the liar” and “Pippin” or the coat and top hat from “Jekyll Hyde”.
Those who visit it will also be able to interpret in karaoke some of his numerous hits, from “I am that one” to “Escándalo”, and pose next to the uranium record that he received in 1980 when he sold over 50 million records, despite which, his career still continued to seek a ceiling.
This same year, he will go on tour again and record an album with Pablo López as the author. “I swear there will never be a farewell tour. I will never say goodbye because I could not, I would not stop crying,” he assured.