Esther Segara, director of Pancho Varuna, on breaking up with Sabina: “It’s a gratuitous goodbye”

  • The guitarist-actress from Madrid spoke with EL PERIDICO DE ESPAÑA to explain her account of the split between the two musicians, after 40 years of working together.

  • “Joaquín always said he would never go on stage without Pancho,” he explains for the first time.

  • announces a new tour in La Banda del Pirata Cojo which will be called “Punto y seguido”

I also send you pictures of me with Joaquín [Sabina]so you can see the bad relationship we had.”

EL PERIDICO DE ESPAÑA receives this text via Whatsapp from Esther SegaraMusic Director Pancho Varuna. He says it sarcastically, because in the pictures he sends, he is seen laughing and hugging singer Gyan.

Esther Segarra has become an unlikely hero in most of the year’s media break. It’s not an emotional break, but a musical one. His actor, guitarist and composer Pancho Varona, and singer Joaquín Sabina. Tandem has been together since 1982. After 40 years (and 40 tours) together, 15 albums and 100 songs written as one, that team broke up. Pancho Varuna himself announced on his Twitter account on November 15 with a text that said the following:

“Joaquín Sabina has decided against all odds 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’ve accompanied him on and the 15 albums I’ve produced. Even though I won’t be on this tour, I want to tell you all who have accompanied me for 40 years that I will always be on every stage with you. I am so sorry. Pancho Varuna.”

After the initial shock among fans, the first reactions were. Two media articles published by cultural journalists (one by Victor Lenore in Vozpópuli and another by Juan Puchades in Efeeme) were the most consulted by fans. In them, they put forward their version of what happened and delved into the interhistory. They talked about the cold and distant relationship between the Ubeda singer and the guitarist from Madrid for a long time. One of the differences in the musical field is due to the different bands that interpret the repertoire Sabinero. That Sabina sided with the rest of the gang at Varuna’s expense. But also from Esther Segarra (Almería, 1986), who has represented the guitarist since 2019, and which has been pointed out as one of the factors of the final rip.

Varuna has not given an interview giving her version since announcing the break. Neither did Sejara, although he sent a text response to Vozpópuli’s article. EL PERIDICO DE ESPAÑA attends a conversation across oceans. He begins speaking with us in Mexico (where Pancho was on tour) and ends up in Spain, where they will continue their professional activities, now far beyond Sabina’s orbit. And among the photos she sends us, many are with Sabina, insisting that their relationship with the singer was good.

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How did you receive the news that Sabina is working without Pancho Varona for the first time on her tour, after so many years of working together?

It’s still totally surprising, but it’s true that there have been rumors lately about what was going to happen. it’s shocking; In total, there were 40 years that Pancho never missed his due. And Joaquin always said he wouldn’t go on stage without it. For me, as a fan, this breakup is also sad.

What do you think of the reasons that prompted you to make this decision? Did he call you to tell you?

We don’t know the reasons. When Pancho received the news, I don’t think there were any obvious reasons for dismissal. It was a gratuitous goodbye or no explanation. Or, at least, that was the feeling we were left with. He received an e-mail saying that this year he would not be part of the tour, no more.

In several articles published after the breakup, it is mentioned that the relationship between the two was almost non-existent 15 years ago, just very professional and cold.

I don’t remember any cold moments between the two. Whenever we were on tour we would go into Joaquín’s dressing room to say hi or have a drink with him and there was always laughter, they were joking with each other or me. The relationship as I remember it was one of compassion and tenderness. We have dined with him on several occasions in Mexico and Argentina and also visited him at his hotel on occasion. They talked of old memories, and Pancho, and told me tales of their travels. Joaquín also offered us his home in Madrid to sleep in on several occasions. Also, before the pandemic I remember being at his house in Rota one night with more friends. Pancho and I would read some verses he had written to see what we thought. We had such a good time that night.

it’s shocking; In total, there were 40 years that Pancho never missed his due. And Joaquin always said he wouldn’t go on stage without it.”

Esther Segarra, Director of Pancho Varona

It is also mentioned that another key to the conflict was the feud between the band ‘La Noche Sabinera’ and Pancho Varona, ending up supporting Joaquín at the expense of Pancho in a power struggle within the band. They accuse him of “declaring himself the true repository of the group’s essence”.

They wanted to do a solo project in which they thought Pancho had no place and changed course. Pancho then continued with his solo projects and with a new group, “La Banda del Pirata Cojo”. Because he always wanted to work in a band. In all families there are differences and we should not take them further. The groups are separate and there is room for everyone. Regarding networks, no one said anything. They call themselves the “Original Sabinera Band”. and Pancho had his “original Sabinera run” which she simply noted was not a tribute. No one pretended to be above anyone. Or so we think. Each one started their new project with their new name.

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You were mentioned as one of the factors in the breakup.

I don’t have much power to influence that. I take Pancho’s professional schedule and accompany him as much as possible, but tours with Joaquín always take priority over any schedule.

One of the fragments I mentioned to you reads: “All these tensions caused a break in the relationship between Sabina and her group from Varuna, who left her at her side with the new manager, Neira Morena.” [sobrenombre de Esther Segarra]whose imposition was one of the reasons for the dispute.

I don’t quite understand what you mean by imposing. Joaquín’s agenda was Pancho’s top priority, as it had always been. Indeed, when he booked concerts for Pancho, he warned that if Joaquín called him, the concert would have to be postponed or cancelled. When Pancho worked with the old formation, their manager divided the monthly calendar so that half of the month was for work in the band and the other half for Pancho to work solo. They can continue working on their projects on their own or as they see fit.

So the problem…

The problem came with the epidemic. The dates that their manager assigned me to close concerts for Pancho, I complete every month. We have to do up to two parties a day sometimes. Even in the midst of the pandemic, aside from three months of confinement, we went to work putting on private concerts. or to the Autonomous Communities in which it was permitted. We didn’t have a break. But always respect deadlines. They’ve been out for a long time and when the manager manages to get back to work with everyone the mood seems to have really changed and that’s when they decide to drop the project they had with Pancho.

We do not know the reasons for his decision. When Pancho received the news, I don’t think there were any obvious reasons for dismissal. It was goodbye I say gratuitously or without explanation.”

Esther Segarra, Director of Pancho Varona

Another article says literally: “Pancho’s friend, having no experience in the field, took over the recruitment process, replacing the previous manager (…). Herein lies one of the reasons, though there seems to have been more. 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 some music venues and we started going to and closing many concerts together. There we realized that we had created a good working team and continued the working relationship. The band that previously included “Noche Sabinera” had its own manager. So no one was fired or replaced by anyone. The band had one and Lee had Pancho for his solo projects. They were two different agendas.

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Another important character in this story is Antonia García de Diego, who is the third in the feud. Another musician who has worked alongside Sabina and Varuna all these years. He spoke on Canal Extremadura about Sabina’s decision and said: “For whatever reason, you don’t want to play with him anymore and now what matters to Pancho is to make noise. Pancho should be on his knees in front of Joaquín, thanking him.”

Pancho didn’t mean to make a noise. He had almost the right and obligation to inform that he would not continue with Joaquín’s tour, to thank him for the many years of working together and for the many songs he loves so much. There are a lot of people who love Pancho and they keep asking him if he’s going on tour. Don’t you have the right to tell your current status in your social network? If this tweet made noise, it might be because it was something surprising and important to music. But each person can see and misinterpret things at will. I think it’s ugly and unfair to say someone should kneel. Pancho started working with Joaquín when he was playing in La Mandragora and was not yet well known. They grew up together and shared years of work. I think they made a good team and that will go down in history.

I think it’s ugly and unfair to say someone should kneel.”

Esther Segarra, Director of Pancho Varona

How do you face the future of Varuna Segara’s labor double after Sabina’s decision?

We continue to tour. We are recent arrivals from Mexico, a country we love and visit at least twice a year. We did a very extensive tour with Los Secretos the first week. Some shows we do together. A mixture of references that we also started to make in Spain. Now when we get to Spain we continue with the agenda. We haven’t taken a vacation in the four years we’ve worked together. Every week is a new life. We’re rocking Pancho’s solo concerts in theaters and auditoriums with Pancho Va! , a project we started during the pandemic which consists of doing private concerts for Pancho, where anyone can hire him.

Where did this idea come from?

He grew up when theaters closed and this now, even though we’re back to normal, Pancho doesn’t want to give up because people gave us so much love when everything stopped and going through this is a way to give that love back. We also did a tour with La Banda del Pirata Cojo. So we are already working on the agenda for next year with more news and a new tour called “Punto y seguido”, something we haven’t announced yet.

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