Pioneer of the Rumba Catalana

Pedro Pubill Calaf, better known as Peret, was born in Mataró on March 24th 1935 and died in Barcelona on August 27th 2014.

He was a gitano or Spanish gypsy singer, guitarist and songwriter and one of the best known popularisers of Flamenco in Barcelona and Catalonia.

Recording from the mid-1960s onwards, Peret popularised gitano music and rhythms throughout Spain and particularly in Catalonia where he is considered pioneer of the genre Rumba Catalana, which was made most popular in the 1990s by groups such as the Gypsy Kings and Los Manolos.

His best known song is probably "El Borriquito" which he recorded for Ariola in 1971 and he represented Spain in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with "Canta y sé feliz".

After a period as an Evangelist preacher in the 1980s, Peret famously performed at the closing ceremony of the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 and received the Creu de Sant Jordi, possibly the highest Catalan honour, in 1998.

In 2000, he recorded one of his most popular albums "El Rey de la Rumba" (The King of the Rumba) in which he rerecorded some of his most popular songs alongside artists such as Jarabe de Palo, Carlos Jean, Fermín Muguruza and David Byrne (of Talking Heads).

A fierce supporter of Catalan independence, in 2013 Peret performed "L'emigrant" and the iconic "Catalunya té molt poder" (a version of "Gitana Hechicera") at the pro-independence Concert per la Llibertat in FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium.

He died of lung cancer at the Clínica Quirón in Barcelona on August 27th 2014 and the following lay in state in the Saló de Cent in the Ajuntament de Barcelona, where thousands of fans and admirers paid their last respects to this great Catalan gypsy.


Selected Discography

1974: Canta Y Sé Feliz (Ariola)
1989: Rumbas De Oro (Divucsa)
1991: No Se Pué Aguantar (PDI)
1995: Que Disparen Flores (PDI)
1996: Jesús De Nazareth (PDI)
1998: Sus Grabaciones En Discophon (Blanco Y Negro)
2001: Rey De La Rumba (Narada World)
2007: Que Levante El Dedo (K Industria)
2008: Como Me Gusta (PDI))
2008: Gitana Hechizera (PDI)
2009: De Los Cobardes Nunca Se Ha Escrito Nada (Universal)

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