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Sinatra sings Joe Raposo (4)

By Mahnuel Muñoz

German photographer Michael Schwan has built his career over the last decade on the basis of a fascination with abandoned places, immortalizing them with dazzling delicacy; a loving and moving work that can be enjoyed on his website (

Human beings live poorly, vampirized by haste, oblivious to the decadence of places born in a time when slowness was better and everything was simpler, although we didn’t know it; spaces that are, more than walls and foundations, scenes of our tragicomedy. The closing of a store, a bar, a theater, a sports facility, takes with it conversations, laughter, crying, shouting, music and verses, sweat and perfumes, sleepless nights and dreams. . Stopping for at least a moment in front of the inert façade of a bookstore, a restaurant or a concert hall, crying silently for the dust and rust is the least we can do to pay tribute to those pieces of life lost forever.

In examining the Joe Raposo songbook performed by Sinatra today we find an exquisite composition that is like one of Michael Schwan’s forays into a forgotten place, in search of the beauty of posterity to capture and eternalize it.

There Used To Be A Ballpark” obviously talks about much more than sports; It is a visit to the silent scene of a forgotten world, that of its youth, whose history and essence are ignored by new generations, who belittle or vandalize the mute dignity of the ruins.

I’m struck by how appropriate this song seems in our day, as are the other Raposo pieces discussed above, “Bein’ Green,” “You Will Be My Music,” and “Winners.” Music of longing and resilience for times of anxiety.

Gordon Jenkins was the perfect choice to make the theatrical and melancholic arrangements that surround Sinatra’s emotional performance; together they allow us to see and feel each image with incredible vivacity, and call for reflection about our respect for the past in a time of “fast-living.”

I end this article with a reflection to Michael Schwan about the purpose of his work, a quote perfectly applicable to our work on this page:

I think it is important that these places are never forgotten. Many of our current problems would be solved simply with a look at the past. We could sketch out some ideas on how to be better today. That’s why I think it would be good if some of these places had a second life. The loss of these architectures is terrible.”

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