Joan Ximénez, el Petitet

Barcelhome sells the flat dedicated to el Petitet, the boy of the Catalan rumba.

The story is as follows:

"Es preferible reir que llorar y asi la vida se tiene que tomar..."
"It is preferable to laugh that to cry and so life has to be taken ..."

This was sung by Peret, the boy from Carrer del Cera del Raval, who invented the Catalan rumba. Pedro Pubill, as Peret was called, came from a family that was pushing forward in the textile world, went out to play at street when he was a child. Other guys and he ran singing on Cera Street. Gypsies, happy and carefree, tired of boleros and tangos, clap the flamenco rhythm with more lightness, faster, creating more danceable melodies, more in agreement with times and with their way of doing. Rhythms and lyrics with great personality that dealt with issues such as love and lack of love, beauty and hypocrisy.

They rolled around where the Cera street widens, near the corner with the Riereta street. They sang and laughed at the capers that Peret made with his guitar.

At the rhythm of the fan, the clap of hands and the Catalan rumba that Peret strolled world wide. And if they had no instruments, they used any object on the street as a drum.

They animated the Cera street Sunday afternoons, those gypsies with long black shining hair, accompanied by dances of pretty teenagers gypsies and the clap of hands of anyone who was approaching.

Always next to Peret, he had his first hands claper, accompanied by his son, Joan Ximénez, whom they called El Petitet (the little one). Respected gypsy from Cera street, who never weeped. And now, after his mother’s death and after the diagnosis of his degenerative illness, he repeats like a mantra: "it is preferable to laugh that weeping and so life has to be taken ..."

Now he weeps every day, he needs it. He needs to go to Carrer de la Cera under the balcony from where he shouted to Peret, among hanging clothes, with colors, smells and noises, and weep.

He weeps for the rumba, for the neighborhood, for that colorful world of festive, elegant gypsies, and rumbers. But above all, he weeps for the promise he made to his mother: to bring the Catalan rumba to a great theater. And this year he has managed to create a symphonic orchestra of rumba and bring the Catalan rumba to the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Where the Cera street widens near the corner with Riereta street, in front of number 5, where the gypsies gather to sing, where the rumba was born, there is a sculpture hanging on the wall where it is read: "Es preferible reir que llorar y asi la vida se tiene que tomar..." ("it is preferable to laugh that to cry and so life has to be taken ...")


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