CULTURE

Luz Casal booked for shows in Athens and Thessaloniki

She has 10,034 friends on Facebook, two official websites and a forum dedicated to her. For all the online activity, however, Luz Casal is not an avid talker.

Known as a Pedro Almodovar muse, she has also been dubbed as ?the voice of rock? and ?Iberian diva? in her native Spain. Her last album to date was released in 2009, while two years have elapsed since her last appearance on stage. What does the program of her upcoming performances in Athens and Thessaloniki look like?

?The concert is based on my album ?La pasion? and will also include other songs from my repertoire; I will be accompanied by a 13-member band,? Casal told Kathimerini.

So far she has done pretty well for herself, given that 5 million people have bought copies of her records.

Casal is passionate about rock, not just in music terms, but as an attitude for life in general. How does a star like the 53-year-old Casal use Facebook, Twitter and other forms of new technology to promote her work?

?Back in 1995 we were the first to broadcast a live concert in Madrid on the Internet. I have been using digital technology to communicate with my fans ever since,? she said.

Does she ever get tired of being constantly presented as an Almodovar muse? ?I see myself as an expressive singer, someone who expresses herself through different kinds of music,? she said.

So enough already with Almodovar?s 1991 ?High Heels? and the film?s memorable hit single ?Piensa en mi.? Besides, Casal?s voice was also heard in Alejandro Amenabar?s 2004 film ?Mar adentro? (The Sea Inside).

In 2007, Casal was diagnosed with breast cancer and saw her life change from one day to the next. She was hospitalized in Madrid, underwent surgery, and seven months later revealed to the press that the cancer had gone. Why did she divulge all this?

?Because I have always been spontaneous and friendly vis-a-vis my public in all my appearances. I?m very understanding and sensitive when it comes to other people?s problems,? she said. At the time, she also released ?Vida toxica? (Toxic Life), an album inspired by her experience with chemotherapy. In May, 2010, she had yet another announcement to make: She had been diagnosed with cancer in her other breast and was calling off a scheduled tour.

Born Maria Luz Casal Paz in La Coruna, Galicia, Casal grew up in neighboring Asturias, where she took singing, music and ballet lessons, before moving to Madrid bringing along her dreams of becoming a professional musician. She had always nurtured a passion for singing solo, admitting that team spirit had never been one of her strong points.

?Being a soloist means having more freedom and more control over what you want to do. It also means that you don?t depend on what other people have to say,? she said.

Casal?s first single was released in 1980 and was immediately followed by a debut solo album, ?Luz,? which led to live performances in 35 Spanish cities and the launch of an international career. Since then, Casal has shared the stage with Sting and U2, while, following the death of her father, she abstained from it all for four years. When she reappeared again, her new album sold some 600,000 copies. From jazz to flamenco, she has tried — nearly — everything. Is there something she has left out?

?Yes, I have never done opera,? she said, sounding joyful and like the kind of person who can see the light that lies ahead, as her name would suggest.

?Indeed, I?m a happy person, even if it?s a little bit at a time. I?m an optimist, because I love life and I suppose that, somehow, my name lights up my path.?

Luz Casal appears at the Athens Concert Hall (www.megaron.gr) on March 18 and 19 and the Thessaloniki Concert Hall (www.tch.gr) on March 20.