Isabel Pantoja to Release Post-Prison Album

Isabel Pantoja
Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Isabel Pantoja performs during the opening of 'Expogays Fair 2011' at Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos on Oct. 14, 2011 in Torremolinos, Spain.

After completing a two-year sentence for money laundering, the Spanish diva will release an album of songs by Juan Gabriel.

With a two-year sentence for money laundering just completed, Spanish diva Isabel Pantoja is revamping her career with a new album of songs by Juan Gabriel, to be backed by an international tour. The album release and concert dates are expected to be announced Wednesday (Nov. 2) by Pantoja’s label, Universal Music Spain.

Pantoja and Gabriel recorded the album, titled Hasta Que Se Apague El Sol (Until the Sun Goes Dark), in Mexico shortly before Pantoja entered prison. The record includes the last new songs written by Gabriel, who died in August. The record cover posted on social media by Universal shows a slim and youthful-looking version of Pantoja wearing a white, traditional Mexican style dress.

Pantoja, who is now 60 years old, entered a women’s prison in Southern Spain in November 2014; she was released on probation in March of this year, and was required to remain in Spain, check in regularly with her probation officer, and inform authorities anytime she left her home province of Cádiz. Pantoja has reportedly paid a fine in euros equal to about $1.25 million dollars that was part of her sentence, but still owes the equivalent of nearly $2 million dollars to the Spanish government in back taxes.  Pantoja completed her probationary period on Oct. 28.


Pantoja, who is now 60 years-old, had prepared for a comeback before her sentencing by signing with Universal. She had also announced a string of concert dates that were subsequently canceled.

The singer was reportedly denied permission earlier this year to travel to Mexico to film a video with Gabriel, her friend for many years. The Mexican superstar died in August.

Pantoja, who has sold some 6 million albums over her long career, is an icon in Spain who has released over 30 recordings. A native of Triana, a Seville neighborhood that breeds flamenco artists, Pantoja first danced in a flamenco show at age 7, and started singing professionally when still in her teens. Pantoja's notoriety increased with her 1983 marriage to Francisco Rivera "Paquirri," a star bullfighter. When Paquirri was killed in the ring in 1984, the glamorous Pantoja became known as "the widow of Spain."

The singer's troubles stem from her romantic relationship with Julian Muñoz, the former mayor of Marbella, the oceanfront Southern Spanish city long known as a hot spot for the rich. A state court in nearby Malaga convicted Pantoja of helping Muñoz launder funds he embezzled from Marbella government coffers while serving as mayor. Muñoz is currently serving a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence. His ex-wife, Maite Zaldivar, was also convicted.

A judge called Pantoja's crime "one of the most demolishing attacks that can be infringed on a democratic society." The court acknowledged it was making an example of Pantoja at a time of rampant corruption in Spain by public figures.


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