Cubo Escenico; Cic El Almacen Cabildo review
Sincretismo; press viewing; Cic El Almacen
Centro de la Cochinella; review
Guitarras en Haria Festival Internacional; review
36th Festival Internacional de Musica de Canarias
Cora De Camara Ainur; review
Ensemble de la O. Sinfonica de L.P; review
Concerts At The Camel House; preview

We reported in last week’s all across the arts pages on Lanzarote Information about the performances that made up a week of workshops by Cubo Escenico at El Salinero in Arrecife from 15th to 18th January. A recent press release from the Cabildo confirmed the success of the event.

Four shows were delivered for the first edition, some of them with two passes.

´All tickets were sold. In total, 280 people were able to enjoy the contemporary performing arts shows that have been part of Cubo Escenico,´ said the Councillor of Culture of the Cabildo de Lanzarote, Alberto Aguiar, when learning about the data of attendance at this new cultural cycle organized by the first island institution.

So pleased is the Department Of Culture by the initial public reaction that all across the arts understands there are already plans in the pipeline for similar events in the near future.

The councillor of Cultura Lanzarote added that ´this data, and the excellent reception by the public and the artists themselves, encourages us to continue working in this line and we can already announce that there will be three other editions of Cube Scenic, specifically in the months April, July and October,´ says Aguiar.

In addition, the advisor added that the Cabildo de Lanzarote will continue to focus on the local creators for the programming of Cubo Escenico. ´There is a lot of talent in Lanzarote and our obligation to give the opportunity to show it to the public of the island,´ concluded the Culture Counsellor.

Alberto Aguiar has made these statements after the completion of this first edition of Cubo Escenico, which took place last week in the Room El Cubo of CIC El Almacén. Its prime objective is to give visibility to manifestations of the performing arts, particularly those contemporary and avant-garde styles that are rarely accommodated at commercial venues like the Teatro Víctor Fernández Gopar El Salinero.

Cubo Escenico was held on January 15, 16, 17 and 18 at CIC El Almacén and featured the participation of the artistic group Parto Cerebral, the dancers Acerina Toledo and Abián Hernández, the guitarist Eduardo Briganty and all the artistic team that performs Words of Woman, the play written by Dévora Ventura

Brain Birth inaugurated the cycle with the performance Dad Estado, which had two passes on January 15 at 20.00 and at 21.00 h. On Thursday, January 16, dancers Acerina Toledo and Abián Hernández offered their pieces of contemporary dance While and Wait, respectively. They also did so in two passes, at 20.00 and 21.00, with full in both cases, as happened with Brain Birth. The same was the case with guitarist Eduardo Briganty’s concert, which offered a noise and dream pop session on Friday, January 17. Briganty hung the entire line-up, as did Dévora Ventura’s play Words of Women on Saturday, January 18. The latter also had two passes, in which viewers were able to enjoy this theatrical piece directed by Valéry Tellechea and performed by actresses Virginia Barreto, Tharais Armas, Carmen Sancristóbal, Lourdes Bermejo and Marilyn Chacón.

You can consult all the cultural programming of the Cabildo de Lanzarote on the website of Cultura Lanzarote.

Sincretismo; press viewing; Cic El Almacen

Cic El Almacen will further demonstrate its versatility as an arts centre by hosting a recently-opened, intriguing and thought provoking visual arts exhibition, that will remain in situ until April 25th.

Sincretismo, by the Lanzarote sculptor Rigoberto Camacho, collects his latest production of sculptures, which, based on an investigation that could be described as anthropological, fuses in his pieces new and old material elements. These combine to express the cultural diversity through the symbiosis, coexistence and the integration of these elements. Deep down, what Rigoberto Camacho proposes is to question the concept of identity in Western societies based on ideas of race, colour or culture.

To give all the details of Sincretismo, Rigoberto Camacho himself previewed the exhibition, accompanied by the Councillor of Culture of the Cabildo de Lanzarote, Alberto Aguiar, in a press event held in the venue on Thursday 23rd April. He spoke to tv and radio journalists from The Canary Islands, Lancelot Media and Biosphere tv (in Spanish, so I can give only a very brief overview) about his materials, methodology and motivation in creating this collection. He spoke of his materials giving an impression of destiny to the viewer but being in fact soft and pliable to the artist. all across the arts will try to bring you more about his methodology when we attend the add-on walk around tour that will be conducted on 18th February at 6.00 pm. By e

We bumped into Estefania at the press conference, which she attended briefly before work called her to another room in Cic El Almacen where she was talking, playing and working with young children, enthusing a new generation with her own love of the arts. She will explain to them we’re sure, but we know, too that she will encourage them to make their own explorations and make their own informed evaluations. She told us that she is currently taking a masters course and we look forward to another interesting interview with her.

As for Rigoberto’s motivation for this Sincretismo exhibition it speaks immediately, and in this quiet setting of a private viewing for the press, quite loudly in plea for awareness and tolerance of each other and to celebrate the similarities and differences between the races, religions and cultures of this world rather than condemn them.

The largest of the pieces, is almost centrally in the floor of the main exhibition space, and forces to think even more deeply about how human kindness reacts to less-than-sea-worthy-boat loads of people arriving on our shores, some dreadfully ill and undernourished, some already dead from the journey from their homeland. This is powerful art and has something important to say. Call in at Cic El Almacen to check times for public viewing and then, when you visit Sincretismo, have a look at everything else that happens in the upstairs, cinema / concert hall and in the other parts of the ´warehouse´ that surrounds its central feature of a wonderfully buzzing bar and restaurant.

Centro de la Cochinella; review

With the press conference finally wrapping up at about 11.45am we wondered how to ´kill´ the time before the 7.00 pm concert we wanted to see at El Aljibe de Haria. It would have made no sense to have driven back to our home in the South, from this centrally located capital of the island, simply to then, in a couple of hours’ time drive all the way to the North of the island for a gig. This all sounds like the thorough planning of Scott Of The Antarctic or of Hilary preparing to scale Everest, but in truth the island is only about sixty miles long from top to bottom, so we were really just deciding to slightly formalise our daily pottering about.

An hour or so later we pulled up at the Cochineal Museum Centre on the left hand side of the road up from Guatize to the lovely beach at Arrieta. The name cochineal derives from a dye that comes from the cochineal beetle that inhabits, peculiarly, one species of cactus, known here as the ´prickly pear.´

For a long period of history this symbiosis of parasitic beetle and prickly pear made Lanzarote the fashion centre of the world, for the beetle created an exclusive dye, particularly of red, the envy of ladies in all the lands.

With an enchanting little arts and crafts shop at its front entrance this relatively new-build museum is cram-packed with the discovery and development of the dye industry and its eventual demise due to cheaper imports becoming available. The route around the exhibits is easy to follow and brings you back to the entrance.

We took a stroll around the village and then stepped over the road into the beautiful Don Quixote restaurant with its (literally) tasteful menu, quaint veranda with a charming view and a polite and friendly waiter. The Minestrone soup (all for Dee), arrugada potatoes (for me and Dee) mixed salad and goats cheese with honey,´(all for me) was a lovely, slow meal on a sunny afternoon, and a bienamesabe and vanilla ice cream (exclusively for me) was a perfect follow up, all washed down with beer for me and wine for Dee. We had a chat with our waiter as we left, who told us about the Friday night live music sessions of all genres here, that are always good and always well attended. We will return and report back to you.

We then drove down into Mala, a village that offers one of the most spectacular views of island coastline, and splendid isolation for nature-lovers´ who value its seclusion.

Guitarras en Haria Festival Internacional; review

Mala seems to be a one way in, one way out kind of town, so we meandered back along to the main drag and turned right for Orzola, then taking a left at the all-moving Manrique roundabout for Haria. Once we had parked up we wandered around the squares to see if there were any busker like activities going on that would show the Third Guitars en Haria Festival, due to open today and run for four days through to 26th January, was up and running.

There were no signs at 4.00 pm that this was yet the case, and with the gala concert not scheduled to start until 7.00 pm we had time to dip into Arrieta for omelette and chips and a coffee.

Later, queuing outside El Aljibe de Haria, we realised that once again we had fallen foul of Haria’s seeming inability to make transparent their ticket allocation policy. None of the posters or fliers we had seen had mentioned the need for a ticket. Instead they carried only a flash advert saying in Spanish that admission would be ´free until full.´ Talking to other ticketless souls we now learned that tickets had been allocated (as with the circus a few weeks ago, so we should have known better) from the town hall and that admission without a ticket, albeit a free ticket, was simply not going to happen as they had all been given out. Eventually, with only minutes to kick off time, a lady turned up to return four tickets that couldn’t be used and gave them to Dee and I and another British couple, without whom we might not have stayed the course. I am sure, given what we witnessed, that we shall, all four of us, be eternally grateful.

We saw two female guitarists give wonderful, solo acoustic shows, each playing in quite distinctive styles. There was also a departure from traditional guitar festival practice, with the introduction of an accordion player, delivering tango interpretations and a female vocalist and player of a bhodran-like instrument then being accompanied by the accordionist in a unique style of accordion playing of seemingly random, single notes.

There were only four or five seats left unclaimed out of the allocated eighty, but having only acquired our tickets late in the day we were right on the back row. The acoustics picked up the unplugged instruments quite exquisitely but every slight scrape of a chair, a shuffle in a handbag or a muffled whisper about the brilliance of an artist became part of the soundtrack, too.

Nevertheless, nothing could detract from the wonderful delivery by each of tonight’s artists.,

The first of these, Ebru Bas, took to the stage at the front of the long, narrow half of what is a strangely shaped basement room. She said Ola in about twenty different languages, just to make sure she touched all bases, before gently finger picking the opening to her performance.
In her second number her trait of working a constant slide down the neck of the guitar had created sounds that were at once romantic and playful, but her third piece also showed her ability to create rise and fall, with some of her finger-picking creating almost harp-like sounds. Ebru’s closing work brought all the abilities shown on the previous three to blend together, with her hand, higher up the neck, creating a string of beautiful motifs.

Argentinian guitarist, Victoria Pagola, was our next performer and it was immediately obvious from the seated position she adopted that we should expect a different mood and sound from this part of the concert. Virginia cuddled her guitar into her shoulder, so that it was almost in an upright position, and throughout her performance I admired the way she slapped the strings over the body of the guitar whilst simultaneously picking at strings as she did so. This created a unique sound as she caressed her instrument, invoking whispers and confidantes and secrets. Her second piece was instantly recognisable as an Argentine Tango with its demonstrable strength. Virginia’s guitar seemed to speak clearly identifiable vocabulary in her third offering, to which she then added an unusual slapping technique to create drama, softened by a subtle use of harmonics. This further use of ´slap and tickle´ (my own invented description for the way she banged the strings with the palm of her hand and simultaneously plucked out notes, too) lent a unique element to her playing.

A generation of American songwriters, in the eighties, like Guy Clark were amazed by the performances by the previous generation of guitar players, and Guy always voiced his amazement in a line of his own songs when he said ´I have heard Doc Watson play The Columbus Stockade Blues´ as if to imply he would never hear anything like that again. Well, I have heard Victorian Pagola ´slap and tickle´ her guitar.

It would have been a tough call for any guitarist to follow the two musicians we had just heard, so I wasn’t too surprised when the next act was introduced as Gerardo Agnese, a male exponent of the bandonean. His delivery of two separate tangoes included a huge swelling sound and an added hand-crafted reverb. It was powerful, foot stomping stuff but it would be when the next guest was brought to the stage that Gerardo would excel.

Mara Szachniuk is also a singer and musician from Argentina. She joined Gerardo and, accompanying herself on a bhodran-type instrument, she sang work she said was from North Argentina. To me, though, that whole sound, at once soulful, mournful and plaintive echoed what I consider to be Native American Indian music. Her voice even reminded me of artists like Buffy St. Marie and Rattlesnake Annie who brought such music to global awareness in the nineteen seventies. Mara and Gerardo were then joined by another Argentinian guitarist, Luis Alberto Saria. The music the three of them then created was like nothing I have ever heard, as the bhodran created that sound of ´distant drums´ to accompany Mara’s keening vocals, and the guitar played motifs below them,… and then filling every nook and cranny that might be left in his already full sound, Gerardo poked and prodded and pulled and pushed his instrument to moan and sigh around them.

We bought one of Mara’s CD albums, in a beautifully hand-crafted and bound sleeve, on our way out after the concert

That might, too, be the perfect description of the concert we had just seen: ´hand crafted music all beautifully bound together.´

36th Festival Internacional de Musica de Canarias
Cora De Camara Ainur; review
Ensemble de la O. Sinfonica de L.P; review

Our trek all across the arts this week would end with us following signposts and signals that would lead us back to the third event of five on Lanzarote of the 36th Festival Internacional de musica de Canarias. This time we found ourselves at their camp at Convento de Santo Domingo in Teguise.

We had arrived in the former capital of the island in time to have a meal before the concert, though we realised we might have to be at the venue quite early to secure seats at another free to full event.

We fine-dined in The Palmera, a bar and music venue at the other side of the town. This strange, slightly bohemian, beatnik, bluesy music kind of venue is staffed by smiley people and the food deserves my description of fine-dining. Omelette and cheese baguette might not sound to be so, but it would take several offerings from a five star chef to tempt me to part with this dish here. The cheesecake and cream is really special, too, and they know how to serve their beer and wine. The three of us, me, my wife Dee and our friend Magrait Margaret, were sitting back replete and relaxed when Dee suddenly alarmed us to the time to be going that it had become. We drove back the half mile across town so that we could park close to the venue, but when we arrived in the dark, we could nevertheless make out the silhouette of a very long but orderly queue around the walls of the building. By the time I had parked up and joined said queue I was already afraid we might be too far at the back to gain entry. Then, to our delight, a member of the staff from the Department of Culture at the Cabildo was walking down the queue giving everyone an admission pass. Surely he wouldn’t reach us, I feared, but he did and we became three of the last few to of the three hundred and fifty people who managed to see what would be the third wonderful concert in this festival.

The Ainur Chamber Choir resumed its activities with great momentum in 2006. Initially only a group of nine at its conception the Coro has gradually increased its members to around thirty, that allows, within the capacities of a chamber group, the Coro to address demanding repertoires. The group’s own idiosyncrasies makes addressing new challenges, and revisiting scores of great complexity, a motivation in itself to face ever more daunting challenges.

Several successes obtained in national competitions culminated in the national Grand Prix of Choral Singing in 2012 and in 2018. The evaluations of the different juries have as a common denominator the elegance with which Ainur approach different styles, musicality and vocal tones. This recognized quality is endorsed by invitations to participate in the most prestigious festivals and competitions such as the International Festival of Canary Music or the Festival of Religious Music of this same community.

The repertoire usually stands out for the variety and innovation, as it is common to incorporate pieces of recent compositions by the most prestigious composers of the choral world, as well as to give special attention to the new works of emerging musical authors from the Canary Islands.

The choir’s career to date could not be more glittering, obtaining first prizes in the contests of “Antonio José” in Burgos, “Fira de Tots Sants” in Alicante, the second golden lira of the contest of San Vicente de la Barquera in the special edition of winners for its fiftieth anniversary, and the National Grand Prix of Choral Singing won in 2018 in Burgos, complemented by the “Antonio José” award.

The activity of the choir is not limited to the interpretation of choral music but goes further in the dissemination of this type of music, promoting a composition contest of a biennial nature, currently in force, with several awards and the boost to the Canarian Week of Cora Music in which it participates.

The Ainur Chamber Choir has counted on the collaboration of guest conductors to face different programs, including. Elías Rodríguez, Angel Camacho, Emilio Tabraue and Laura González Machín and Eligio Quinteiro.

They were conducted tonight by Mariola Rodriguez, and in their first half of ac appella music, they gave a sparkling performance. They have an expansive and beautiful tonal range and the thirty or so members are capable of making all sorts of music, with their first number sounding somewhat of Gregorian Chant in its delivery. Their second delivery captured their ability to create high and low between male and female voices, with the latter soaring to wonderful heights. The next in their repertoire again proved to be both gentle and powerful within the same song and their fourth song gloriously highlighted harmonies within he female vocal work. The male section of the Cora De Camera Ainur excelled in the choir’s next offering, and indeed in their penultimate offering, when they provided a powerful opening for what became a female only piece. They closed their set with a full ensemble sound of enormous might and majesty.

Within a couple of minutes they had reassembled at the back of the stage to collaborate with Ensemble de La O. Sinfonica de L.P., a group of musicians from The Las Palmas Symphony Orchestra. Their recital of Faure’s wonderful Requiem, would remain faithful to an 1893 version with its celestial ending.

This chamber music arrangement included a huge harp, violins, violoncello and bass instruments, and would also introduce us to the marvellous voices of soprano Tania Lorenzo and Baritono Fernando Camper. All this was directed Jose Brito Lopez.

Their first number, of Fauve’s set, was gentle and extremely musical and on the second, Ofertoria, they were joined by the Cora. We had two such powerful ensembles here that I feared they might drown out one another, but skilful and knowledgeable musicians that they all are, they instead provided a beautifully modulated ensemble work.

What followed was one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. Sanctus was, of course, a requiem but the voices and the sounds of the instruments seemed ethereal, almost literally hanging in the air, crisp, clean and pristine.

Tania Lorenzo’s solo performance had her voice soaring around the walls right up to the high ceiling of this beautiful former church, and the strength of her vocals bellied her tiny frame. The same could be said, too, of Fernando Campero who was nothing like the stereotypical baritone. Tall and slender, he amazed us with a deep voice that roared, in a very musical kind of roar albeit, right around the auditorium.

Coro and Ensemble had worked together in perfect synchronicity all evening and the demands for more, (although unrewarded) were long and loud. There was, however, a glorious It’ll Be Alright On The Night moment when, during the calls for an encore, the two musical directors embraced, only to become entangled and trapped by her long, feathery scarf, much to the hilarity of the audience.

As we all eventually dispersed it seemed almost half of us were chatting excitedly about the musicianship of the ensemble and the other half were waxing lyrical about the voices of the Coro.

Our particular threesome, one the way home in the car, agreed that perhaps this wedding of music and vocals would be a long and happy marriage.

Still two concerts still remain on the agenda to be performed on Lanzarote and we shall, of course, bring you our reviews but given that the festival has already scored seventeen and a half out of ten on the all across the arts accumulator, we dare not hope for anything better.

Concerts At The Camel House; preview

The program of the upcoming concert on 15th February has been changed: Instead of Murray McLachlan “solo” there will be a tour de force by ´The McLachlan Family´. They offer us an exciting program with piano music from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Those who have seen this remarkably talented family will know what to expect. But this time we have the mother of the children performing as well, demonstrating that the children have their mother to thank, as much as their father, for their talents. You can also hear the parents playing an American Classic, the Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin.

Tickets are € 25,–. Children: € 10,–. For what is sure to be a great concert.
Ticket reservations:
Email: info@island-challenges.com
Tel. +34 928 834 150 and +34 658269142.