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Les Luthiers

Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2017

Speech by Marcos Mundstock, member of Les Luthiers.

Your Majesties,
Members of the Jury,
Fellow Laureates,
Ladies and

First of all, we would like to dedicate this award to the memory of our beloved brothers who are no longer here, Gerardo Masana and Daniel Rabinovich.

We also wish to share this great honour with our current colleagues in Les Luthiers: Tato Turano, Martín O’Connor, Tomás Mayer Wolf and Roberto Antier.

And with our “Spanish family”, those who are still here and those who have already left us and whom we miss, José Luis Coll, Miguel Gila, Tricicle, Joan Manuel Serrat, Pepe Caturla and Rafael Estrella. As well as Álex Grijelmo, who put forward our candidacy to the Princess of Asturias on several occasions… We are so lucky he got his way this time! We are happy for him most of all!

(because) If it were for us… ! But, you know, we are going to miss those nominations… which filled us with uncertainty, anxiety... and frustration. The thing is we had grown fond of being nominated; we did not win, but we were featured in the press and friends congratulated us… (dramatic tone) Now that we have been granted the Award, we only hope that our friends will not forget us.

Seriously though, it is a great honour, an immense honour, to receive the Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities. In this beloved Campoamor Theatre, the illustrious and endearing venue for our first performances in Oviedo. And we are especially happy that this Award has been granted to a group of humourists. Today, more than ever, we are proud of this blessed profession.

The practice of humour –whether it be professional or domestic, more refined or coarser, oral, written or mime, or drawn– improves life, allows us to contemplate things in a different, playful, but above all lucid way, unreached by other mechanisms of reason. Humour does not depend on us being in a good mood or bad mood, or even on us having a real dog day afternoon (you know, when we don’t wag our tails at anything). Some people are always in a good mood, but are unable to understand a joke. It doesn’t matter; a sense of humour is acquired and improves with practice: no one is born laughing.

Humour is always social. You don’t tell a joke to yourself, but to friends or acquaintances, at work, in the bar or at a wake. Humour, ladies and gentlemen, is communication! It is even more: Communication and Humanities, which is what we wanted to demonstrate! Our greatest satisfaction is to have won a place in humour with the aid of music, some strange instruments and the exuberance and ambiguities of the Spanish language.

How proud we are to receive this award of international renown! How happy we are to join the list of Argentineans who have received it: Raul Alfonsín, Mario Bunge, Daniel Barenboim… and our dear friend Quino, the father of Mafalda, that girl who is watching us from a bench in San Francisco Park, just a short distance from here!

In the reasoning of this Award, the Jury considers our group “a leader in communicating Spanish American culture”. Apart from the enormous compliment that supposes, we are somewhat surprised. Not just out of a sense of modesty, but because we had never aimed so high. But, anyway, if the Jury says so… who are we to contest their wise decisions!

Thank you so much.

Translated by Paul Barnes

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