Anyelia & Yoriell

In concert at Convento de Santo Domingo, Teguise
October 2021

We have been fortunate enough to have seen and heard Yoriell perform a number of times since coming to live here on Lanzarote, and we think the first time was probably at the welcoming El Patio bar in Teguise, a small intimate venue actually just around the corner from Convento De Santo Domingo. In fact we bought an album called una poco seca by a trio he was playing in at the time. He has no idea, of course, that it was when we heard he and his colleagues play live that night that whatever vague doubts I had about coming to live here on Lanzarote evaporated. If this was to be local music diet for Dee and I, then we´d be doing a lot of fine dining. And we have ! So come follow your art down sidetracks and detours of an old capital city in search of a new duo creating contemporary sounds out of centuries old music.

We have previously seen Yoriell perform as part of a trio, as a solo artist, and as the performing host of a musical compendium of live artists at this same venue This, however, was the first time we had seen Yoriell and new partner, Anyelia, playing together.

We know from past experience that Yoriell is comfortable with traditional Canarian folk lore music and we have also seen him kick up a storm presenting contemporary fusion music, at El Patio on that first occasion we saw him. In fact the blurb on the posters for tonight´s concert reflected thathis versatility, promising that the style of this new duo would incorporate Pop, Reggae, Bachata, Reggaeton, Salsa, Ballad, Bossa Nove, Calypso, and Flamenco Fusion. In other words, we might expect a wide range of fresh rhythms and world music. The aim of Anyelia and Yoriell, each a musician and composer, is to deliver a message of love, accompanied by exquisite melodies and the ´current´ rhythms which invariably see audience members dancing at their gigs.

It was surely their reputation for delivering with verve and enjoyment that had generated such a surge of ticket sales that, only a few days before the event, saw the gig moved five hundred yards from the Casa De Timple Teguise to the more spacious Convent of Santo Domingo.

The Convent, which today stands as a reminder of former grandeur, was built in 1711, funded and managed by Captain Rodriguez Carrasco who, on completion of the work granted a founding document in favour of the Dominican Order The building included vaults for burial, a choir tribune, bell tower, sacristy and a cloistered area. But, in addition, he gave the church several images, including one of San Juan de Dios and another of Our Lady of Grace, pieces of gold-smithing and let six new houses that he owned in the town pass into possession of the convent.

The entire convent complex underwent transformations throughout the second half of the eighteenth century with a view to constant expansions, such as the creation of a second nave and the main altarpiece that dates to the end of that century. At that time, the community used to have about fourteen friars, more than enough to meet the spiritual and religious needs of the island.

The convent disappeared with the confiscation processes of the first half of the nineteenth century so it barely had a century of life. The enclosure was put at the service of various activities, from commercial to military and education, etc., causing a deterioration that meant the loss of the second floor and important areas of the back. In 1956, the municipal authorities decided to carry out a series of works on part of the ruins of the building, mainly those that had occupied the cloister, for its re-modelling to serve alongside the Town Hall, space that is still maintained and that preserves some remains such as the arch of access to the archive room of the corporation.

The church has now been converted into an exhibition hall, still housing the main altarpiece of the original temple dedicated to Our Lady of Grace and preserving the only trasaltar with mural paintings of the entire island. To wander round exhibitions in the quiet of this sacred space is an awe-inspiring experience and to hear concerts such as this one is to hear new and old and secular music presenting heart stopping moments. It was here where we heard the incredible Nordic Voices that somehow took us back to the birth of the world where morning has broken like the first morning, and blackbird has spoken, like the first bird´.
Anyelia is obviously proud that she and Yoriell were able to release a debut after forming the duo little more than a year earlier.

´We can already announce the release of our first album,´ she told the audience. ´If someone wishes to have a copy, they communicate it to us privately and we will send it to them signed. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for the love and support´.

The duo actually released the debut album earlier this year. This was made possible, they say, by all their friends and fans and the Department of Culture of the City of Las Palmas who helped with the production of this fantastic album. Anyelia & Yoriell´s album is availabe in both CD and USB formats so you can enjoy their sounds anywhere. The couple are delighted to share all the music they have composed for Vivo Canto Amo Sueño as their first album. and the duo do so simply by allowing ´free rein to the muses who expressed themselves so freely´.

Yoriell had bounded on stage from the wings, a beaming smile head-lighting his long limbs and illuminating his striking pink tousers. Even as he ran on, pulling his guitar strap over his shoulder he looked languid and easy and he was immediately followed by Anyelia who, with her blond hair flowing. appeared in impossibly tight, white trousers and a black crop-top affair. She shimmied and swayed to the centre of the stage and the two of them stood together, seemingly gazing adoringly at one another, and there we had the two players we had been expecting,…..but the twosome of Anyelia and Yorriell immediately became three as a guest player joined them from the wings. He came on quietly, almost unnoticed until the duo pointed to him and asked for our applause.

Althay Paez, we learned, is a timplist from the island of Fuerteventura with a devilish interpretation technique. Among his contemporaries he is recognized as a virtuoso of the Canarian instrument, both for his technical abilities and for the mood to which he leads his instrument in his live performances. It brings together very powerful accents related to tradition and, however, with a spirit of contemporaneity that makes it unique and extraordinary in the panorama of instrumental music in the Canary Islands.

Tonight, he and Anyela & Yorriel also reminded us of how much the timple can add to contemporary, guitar-led pop music. The two that, for tonight, had become three gave us ninety minutes of catchy songs full of chorus and hooks, with brilliant guitar by Yoriell and some fantastic lead lines from the timple on the far opposite side of the large, and beautifully lit stage. The acoustics and the sound systems are always good here, and this was a high energy delivery of European acoustic pop that would have sounded as good at Glastonbury as it did here on home turf.

Yoriell was in perpetual motion all night, toes tapping, arms waving and pointing, whilst Althay was stock-still other than his fingers picking and plucking those beautiful sounds from his tiny instrument. The sound they created was particularly instructive to me, as Colin Liver, my song-writing partner, is currently working in a studio in the The Channel Islands recording our new song, Para Lara, inspired by a young woman here on Lanzarote. The recording will be released via www.lendanearmusic-com and we will make further announcements on these pages.

Colin is working on two versions, Spanish influenced and Brazilian flavoured, and I realised half way through this concert that this was a balance of sound that would work for the song. I have already sent him some of their music to listen to.

Another vital ingredient of tonight´s sounds, though, was Anyelia´s sweet, but powerful, voice that captured the emotion of every song. She was as easy on the eye as on the ear as with a salsa, a sway, and a swagger, she sashayed and shimmied around the stage, gliding between the two men on either side of her.

My dad used to sing a song called I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, often reduced simply to Sister Kate. It is an up-tempo jazz dance song, written by Armand J. Piron and published in 1922. Early recordings listed at Discogs include 1922 sides by Mary Straine And Joseph Smith’s Jazz Band on Black Swan Records; The Virginians on Victor; and The Original Memphis Five, as an instrumental, on Pathé Actuelle. Vocalist Anna Jones recorded it accompanied by Fats Waller on piano in 1923. Arrangements ranged from big band jazz to the Alabama Jug Band in the 1930s, a precursor to jug band revival versions during the 1960s’ by Dave Van Ronk and Jim Kweskin. The lyrics of the song are narrated first person by Kate’s sister, who sings about Kate’s impressive dancing skill and her wish to be able to emulate it. She laments that she’s not quite ´up to date´, but believes that dancing the Shimmy like Sister Kate will rectify this, and she will be able to impress ´all the boys in the neighbourhood´ like her sister.

Anyelia certainly impressed all the boys in the theatre, reminding this particular old boy of Lulu performing I´m A Tiger.

The musicians had been introduced by the island´s favourite master of ceremonies, and he politely interrupted proceedings after half a dozen songs to call The Councillor For Culture and Celebrations, Nori Machín to the stage to present the artists with a framed poster of tonight´s gig. Anyelia and Yoriell, seemed genuinely delighted to accept such a souvenir.

The music resumed and the audience were invited to sing and clap along with several of the numbers until, ,,,, surprise,… the two that had become three became four ! Anyelia called up a young lady from deep in the audience, but I´m afraid I didn´t catch her name.

the audience member was obviously delighted, though, as she gambolled, Yoriell-like, down the aisle and up the steps to the stage. She accompanied the other three players on the flute and on a solo excursion added yet another element to this great music, sending notes high into the air in what seemed a beautiful, brave and reaching passage of play. Dee reminded me we had seen and heard the young lady before, in the La Ermita Church in Tias three or four years ago.

After we had risen to our feet a couple of times with the rest of the audience in requests for encores, we heard two more great songs before filing out to buy a copy of the ten-track cd, Vivo Canto Amo Sueno. I took the opportunity to introduce myself to Anyelia as being a writer for Lanzarote Information and for my own Sidetracks & Detours daily blog. Explaining what the two outlets are all about I said we would love to conduct an interview with them in the future. She explained that they are just starting a fairly major tour, but she took my card and promised to get in touch on their return.

Watch this space.

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