First act: December 31, 2020.
The Madrid City Council hires Nacho Cano to give a concert at Puerta del Sol on December 31. The Mecano component interprets the song “One more day” in tribute, it is explained then, to the victims of the coronavirus, on an atypical New Year’s Eve in which the presence of people is prohibited due to the pandemic in the bells. The consistory of José Luis Martínez-Almeida and the singer’s representative assure that Cano did not charge anything for this performance and that the singer bore all the expenses of the short show.
The day after this performance, as published shortly after Vanitatis In conversation with the musician’s representative, Cano flies to his house in Ibiza – which a few months later will be the accommodation of the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, on her summer vacation – to prepare a new musical.
Second act: May 2, 2021.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso gives Nacho Cano one of the highest distinctions in the Community of Madrid, the great cross of May 2. And the musician takes advantage of the act to praise the president, kneel before her, pretend that he returns the medal and congratulates her on her management in the face of the pandemic. That day, Nacho Cano does not speak only in his name, he claims to represent the feelings of the world of culture, and of the musical entrepreneurs and the industry colleagues who supposedly called him “from Australia, New York and London” to ask him about “the miracle of Madrid “and the open theaters. “What is the name of that miracle?” Asks the former member of Mecano, who does not take long to answer himself. “Well, that miracle has legs, head and heart,” he says, pointing to Díaz Ayuso, who nods on the verge of tears.
“I think that the medal, for being so brave and such a good president, you deserve it,” continues Nacho Cano who proceeds to place the medal on the Madrid president. The musician is the only one among all the winners at the ceremony who wears a microphone and is one of the last to collect the award.
“It was clear that everything was ready,” concludes a political leader who attended the event held in Puerta del Sol that day. There were only two days left for the 4M elections.
The relationship with Cano and the Madrid president was not born on the big day of the Community. It starts a few months before in its negotiations with the Madrid City Council for a new show that it plans to launch. That May 2, the president tells behind the scenes that Cano is preparing an “incredible” show and that he is a “brilliant” guy.
Third act: August 6, 2021.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso lands in Ibiza to enjoy a few days off on the island. He is staying in one of the mansions that Nacho Cano has in the Sant Mateu area. The musician owns two properties on the Balearic island: one with an area of 2,500 square meters and another of 8,000, according to what has been collected. different media.
Act four: August 26, 2021.
The Madrid City Council gives a plot of 19,000 square meters in the district of Hortaleza to Nacho Cano for four years to build a new ephemeral theater; a sort of detachable tent in which the musician wants to premiere a musical based on Hernán Cortés. The agreement is that the Mecano member will pay the Almeida City Council a fee of 450,000 euros per year for this public land. It is a price of less than two euros per square meter of plot per month. There is no contest for the award nor an official explanation of why to him or about whether there were other applicants to the field.
Long before …
Those who know Nacho Cano do not see anything surprising in this sequence of events, which all occurred in the last year. “He was always proPP, anti PSOE and anti left”, assures a good friend of the artist, who remembers that the relationship between the Mecano composer and the Popular Party began many years ago. Ayuso and Almeida are not the first conservative leaders with whom he has a connection and with whom he has worked throughout his career.
The Cano brothers –Nacho and José María– studied at the Nuestra Señora del Recuerdo school, in the north of Madrid. It is a religious center of the Jesuits, in the Chamartín neighborhood – the district with the highest per capita income in the capital. There they met another of the most famous students of this school: Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, who years later would be the first president of Madrid of the PP and, later, mayor of the capital and president of the Community.
Sources consulted by elDiario.es assure that the relationship between Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón and Nacho Cano was forged at school. In conversation with this newspaper, the former mayor of Madrid denies it: “Nacho is two years younger than me; José María is my age but we were not in the same grade. I met both of them years later, but at school we never talked to each other ”, says the retired politician.
With Gallardón at the head of the Community of Madrid and José María Álvarez del Manzano in the City Council (both from the PP), Nacho Cano was commissioned in mid-2002 to compose the instrumental music for the 2012 Madrid Olympic Candidacy. The city competed with Seville for being the Spanish headquarters that would lead the race to celebrate the games in which Madrid insisted up to three times. In all of them it failed and with them hundreds of millions of euros were buried in infrastructures that today are useless skeletons.
That composition was the prelude to more collaborations by the PP administrations with the Mecano component. Two years later –in 2004, already with Gallardón as mayor–, Cano also composed “Music for a wedding”, an instrumental piece that was performed by the Madrid Symphony Orchestra in tribute to the then princes of Asturias –Felipe de Borbón and Letizia Ortiz– . That piece was presented as “a gift” from the Madrid City Council to the newlyweds. Gallardón assures elDiario.es that Nacho Cano never charged for that piece and that it was also a gift from the singer.
The former mayor of Madrid assures that the artist was never paid or hired because Cano’s type of artistic proposal “may be more or less popular but his route is commercial.” “It did not fit into the cultural proposals that Alicia Moreno’s team included in the public subsidies that always sought to go where the market did not,” he adds.
But there was a Madrid administration that paid a high cost to the public coffers for a Cano show. It was from the hand of Esperanza Aguirre. The artist was preparing a musical called ‘A’ in Madrid after the success of ‘Today I cannot get up’, which in its last editions confronted him with his partners to the point that Cano denounced that they did not let him access the theater. It was 2008 and the Mecano component had projected an ambitious project with a giant pool of water for this new musical, inspired by a similar one that at that time had been programmed in Las Vegas.
Cano did not raise the money necessary for its start-up and finally settled for a more modest show that the regional government of Esperanza Aguirre would hire for its premiere at the opening party of the Teatros del Canal, in a new dramatic center that the president premiered in June 2008, on the former grounds of the Madrid water company –which was then chaired by Ignacio González, years later prosecuted for corruption derived from suspicious contracts related to the international expansion of this public company, the one with the largest budget in Madrid– .
That was a great show, with a performance by Nacho Cano as the main course. Cano’s company charged 407,354 euros plus VAT, as reported at the time by the Community of Madrid. “He is one of the most important pop artists in Spain, and he is also from Madrid,” Esperanza Aguirre defended at the time, despite the fact that the artist’s usual residence was located in Miami. The total cost of the party exceeded one million euros According to the opposition, ‘A’ had much less travel than “Today I can’t get up” and it was a “failure”, according to sources who closely followed the show, and it was on the bill for a year and a half in Madrid and Barcelona.
From then until 2021 and his relationship with the president of the Community of Madrid, Nacho Cano has had a busy and controversial life that has moved between Madrid, Miami and India. In addition to music, Cano had close contact with the world of meditation and yoga and entered the business of hot yoga centers, known as Bikram Yoga. He opened a couple of them in the United States.
The return of Cano and Ayuso
Cano’s return to the Madrid music scene took place this New Year’s Eve with his performance at Puerta del Sol. Since then, relations with the Madrid president have grown to the point that both no longer hide the great friendship that unites them. Ayuso spent part of his summer vacations at the artist’s home while the City Council chaired by his colleague José Luis Martínez Almeida closed a very advantageous transfer of land for the artist who already dreams of premiering his musical there.
From the Consistory directed by José Luis Martínez-Almeida they assure that the provisional authorization for the use of the 19,000 square meter land in Hortaleza has been managed from the area directed by Mariano Fuentes, from Ciudadanos. “It has been he personally who has handled this matter with Cano, a process that is not from now but began two years ago,” they say from the councilor’s environment.
According to other sources, Cano’s wish was to take the new musical to a large, highly valued municipal plot in Puerta del Ángel: “It was explained to him that it was impossible because a change of use could not be made and another two were offered to him in Hortaleza and Fuencarral-El Pardo and chose the first one ”. In the Madrid City Council they insist that this transfer will end after four years, that the council can recover it whenever it wants, and that it is not the first time that public land has been transferred for such a use. Which is true, although that is not always synonymous with the project ending well.
This type of land transfer agreements for cultural uses are common for, for example, installing the Circo del Sol, or developing festivals such as Mad Cool. But sometimes they also go wrong, as happened with a transfer of public land to producer José Luis Moreno to build a great theater, the Coliseum of the Three Cultures. It was going to be a huge building, with a capacity for 6,000 spectators and a 164 million investment. It was never done, although it was signed in 2002.
The land where the new musical by Nacho Cano about Hernán Cortés will be installed is precisely this same plot that José Luis Moreno previously got, and that he retained for years without getting to carry out that theater. Time and viewers will tell if the new project is closer to the success of “Today I can’t get up” or to its ill-fated “A”. In that Madrid of miracles that the artist recounted, Cano already has the municipal plot at his disposal.