26TH Festival Acatife July 2019
Bandana Municipal de San Bartolome July 2019
News, previews, interviews and reviews
We had first been told, as long ago as in May, by one of their members no less, that come the evening of Friday 12th July the folk lore band of Acatife would be giving a concert in the Convent de Santo Domingo in Teguise. When we actually saw, on the Tuesday of 9th July, some on-line or printed advertising for that mooted event, we learned that the venue had been changed to another part of Teguise and that the concert by the band was actually a much more comprehensive event, celebrating the 26th annual Acatife Festival. Not only would Acatife be performing but also, too, would be their special guest groups, Attenya from Gran Canaria and Ensemble Dos Orrilas from Tenerife.
It is always worth arriving early for such events in Teguise. To stroll the streets of our former capital city in the late afternoon and early evening is blissfully quiet and relaxing with a view out to a distant sea one way and, the other way, the elevated sight of the six hundred year old castle dominating the higher horizons, lending them real majesty. There are pretty villages, too, all within short drives.
Teguise is not short of fine eateries either but not much beats the simple pleasure of sitting at a rickety table on the cobblestone floor, either inside or outside the bar of La Palmera. The Tortillo Baguette with cheese is simply delicious and of course every bite needed to be washed down with a mouthful of the cold beer I ordered to accompany it. Dee also enjoyed her grilled chorizo and vegetables, washed down with a white wine, and the cheesecake that only I ordered was so divine that I absolutely refused to share and instead sent back the extra spoon that had no need of a wash and dry !
So, the apparent relocation saw the concert being housed in the huge tented arena that is used on Sunday Market days for folk lore demonstrations of dancing, music and wrestling, to use three words you won’t often see in the same sentence.
To be honest, this has looked in sad disrepair recently but seems to have been rejuvenated. What had been looking like a torn and weary canvas has had a facelift, and now looks gleaming white, and the neck area, if you like, has been reinforced with stronger panelling and so looks less wrinkled and ravaged. In fact the old girl looks splendid and should be the centre of attention come White Night later in the month.
The queues for this free event tonight, though, gathered early for a concert that was to start at 8.30 or 9.00 or even 9.30 depending on which literature you had read, (fiction, obviously, you might say), but in truth we could have sought to verify the exactitude, but what the heck. This is all part of the charm.
By the time the first group took to the stage, the big top was full and there was a real buzz around the place. Attenya have been around since 2012 and have since performed at many major events and festivals, offering audiences selections of the popular folk music of South America, as well as Spanish music and some surprising and interestingly arranged pop songs.
The thirty young ladies, all dressed in black and playing a variety of stringed and woodwind instruments, were directed here by an enthusiastic and energetic beat-box player. He, too, was dressed in black and appeared almost as a shadow, drawing those incredible rhythms from what, to all intents and purposes, looks like nothing more than a flimsy wooden box in which you might keep your fruit or vegetables. He played other instruments too, whilst patently having a really good time.
Attenya certainly brought us some surprising song selections, with Billy Joel’s Piano Man somehow taking on added gravitas in Spanish,
With several of the band able to take lead vocals they offered a programme that included a wonderful version of Lenard Cohen’s Hallelujah as well as Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, made famous decades ago by Andy Williams, that remains a perennial pop classic, in any language it seems. A soulful and huge sounding Stand By Me was their penultimate number and they closed with a gospel flavoured I Will Follow.
From what appeared to a be a quasi-classical band we had been given an exciting pop concert and the roars of approval from the audience saw members of the group waving happily as they exited the stage.
Ensemble Dos Orillas were formed in 2003 and have become a timple, guitar and percussion line up, delivering rootsy fusion music. The six piece set up was of four males and 2 females and their string arrangements, and added woodwind and percussion with guitars lent a Steeleye Span feel to their work, redolent of the electrification of traditional English Folk songs that the Span brought about. They also gave us, though, lovely slow duets between two excellent vocalists. The female percussionist was a lively firebrand bringing visual and audio excitement to the performance by a band that should, I think, be listened to over a few slow beers in a crowded cellar full of atmosphere. They would be everybody’s secret favourite group!
Acatife, of course, did what they do best. They somehow recreated the sound of the sea around our coastlines, at times rippling quietly at our feet and at others booming like a tidal wave in our face. How they change vocal and instrumental power and volume so quickly and smoothly remains a mystery to me, but here tonight we seemed to have several newer, younger members among the thirty and more contingent, including musicians and vocalists. Acatife have about them a seniority and gravitas that lends them much authority, and their smooth transition from gentility to power was nowhere better demonstrated than on their Song For Yaiza.
So many members, tonight, were so obviously delighted to be taking part. There was a younger man in their midst, in glasses and a grey fedora, who jigged and jazzed to the music throughout, even when occasionally taking lead vocals.
Another young musician at the very end of the front row to the right of the stage, never missed a beat, even whilst doffing his hat and grinning at the audience. Acatife is fully deserving of its place at the top table of Spanish folk lore groups.
The following evening we found ourselves out on the street when we had expected to be sitting inside La Casa De La Cultura Augustin De La Hoz in Arrecife, listening to a concert by the Banda Municipal De San Bartolome.
It wasn’t that we had been thrown out on our ear for not having tickets, nor was it that the performance had been cancelled. What had happened, though, was the road outside the building had been cordoned off, closed to traffic and low platform staging for a forty piece orchestra was being built and about 120 seats were being laid out in rows on the walkway across the road. Well, why not? It was a lovely night for sitting outside and listening to music and there was still a couple of hours to go before the concert was due to start, and the traffic could go and follow detours and side-tracks, to quote our all across the arts strap line.
We wandered across to the sea front near the bandstand and had a water (for me) and wine and bread and cheese supper accompanied by some lovely recorded folk lore music and waited on by a young vendor my wife seemed to think was even hunkier than her bread.
We first watched the world go by and then watched the crowds gather before wandering back to make sure we could secure two of the chairs by now laid out, many of which were already taken. Having ´saved´ a couple we moved fifteen feet down the road to the neighbouring ice cream bar in defiance of my diabetes nurses, but don’t tell them. And what a defiance it was; of mango sorbet and raisin and rum, washed down with a cold beer, whilst we watched the band arrive from all directions in dribs and drabs. We then listened to sounds swooping from on high and booming from below as trumpets were terrorised, tubas throttled and tambourines tickled throughout a tuning up process.
The band then stood as one as musical director Kenty Mauri took centre stage, signalled for silence, held the suspense for a second or two, then swooped his baton to commence play.
The opening number of this, the sixth in a series of eight Conciertos Classicos was Feistas en Dax composed by Juan mas Quiles, the jaunty, stately step of which was followed by the ubiquitous arrangement of some Queen classic rock songs. It seemed somewhat incongruous to see this this smartly attired band, dressed all in black, almost military-looking uniforms, blasting out the bombastic pop strains of We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You and the inevitable Bohemian Rhapsody.
It was at this point, too, that darkness fell and the stage lighting cast the walls of the Casa De Cultura and its wide open second floor windows in an eerie, old fashioned light. This made an incredibly spectacular back drop for a band that was playing superbly.
The Liberty Bell by Sousa galloped along, as do all his marches, in a superb arrangement by Stuart Johnson, originally from Staffordshire in the UK.. Like every Englishman of my generation form a Northern secondary modern education. I used to know dozens of rude lyrics set to Sousa marches but never thought that the boy I was then would grow into this man: unable to remember a single word of those lyrics but still able to hum along with the tune in a genre of music I, at that time, treated as a bit of a joke.
There was a beautiful solo instrumental piece that carried us through Javier L Pasoriza’s arrangement of Morning, and the gentleness of the music was lent even greater serenity by the lighting placing pastel shades along the walls of the building. This was managed perfectly by Illuminacion Shelma, and contributed much to the occasion.
Dakota was a typically cinematic piece of the kind of music that used to be the soundtrack of those Ward Bond style Western films, and then gave way to some familiar refrains of a different style of music with Tchaikovsky’s El Cascaneuces
Following well performed deliveries of La Viren de la Macarena and Variazoni In Blue there appeared, suddenly, a face at an upstairs window. It was of a seemingly young boy of perhaps twelve, thirteen or fourteen years old.
When he sang, though, we learned he had the spirit of an old soul and his sustained vibrato passages earned huge applause. He was word and note perfect and his appearance and his performance at the window was the height of musical drama.
It led into the final number, an arrangement by John Moss of James Horner’s The Mask Of Zorro with its faintly mariachi sounds drawing a wonderful evening to a close.
Prolonged applause led to well-earned cries for an encore that was hugely entertaining. And then the instruments were put back in their cases. The lights were taken down, the stage dismantled, and the Banda Municipal de San Bartolome disappeared into the dark night air. They left us, though, with a colourful kaleidoscope of back lit silhouettes and echoes of the music those silhouetted figures had played so vibrantly.
Only a couple of days later we received the arts and cultural agenda for August and September, to which The Cabildo have also helpfully included events for October and November!
all across the arts are delighted to share this information with our readers, but as Susana always says in her excellent ´music in the afternoon´ pieces, ´also please note that while this information was correct at the time of publishing this post, the entertainment changes quickly sometimes. There is always the possibility of last minute, unexpected changes. To avoid disappointment always check with the venue to make sure the concert you have been looking forward to will be performed on the day you have noted in your diary.´
Even with new exhibitions, concerts and shows being announced for the cultural and arts agenda of August through to September, there is still the opportunity to visit some visual arts collections still on display and running until 31st December 2019.
If you haven’t yet seen Insularia, for example, celebrating sixty years of art in the Cabildo, it remains free to the public from Monday to Friday.
Similarly, in the same building you can catch Grabado En Linea and both these collections of work, not often available for public viewing, will prove rewarding visits.
Also showing soon will be a new exhibition called The Possibility Of A Museum, a strangely titled collection that will be showing at The Castille de San Jose in Arrecife from 15th September. Featuring the work of artists such as Daniel Jordan, Francho, Ivan Viella, Moneiba Leme and Jose Otero, Nicoilas Lazi Placeres, Parto cerbral, Pillimpo, and Yuri Fontes, admission to this exhibition is 4 euros on weekdays.
This sounds like more than a straightforward exhibition. These local artists are taking a museum and, for a while, are turning it into a big variety show. They will perform on a specially built stage and visitors will meet characters, wearing elaborate costumes, moving among the audience. There will be images projected all around with pictures on the walls and an altar with figures waving at each other. In the middle of the room you might even discover ´the memory of unknown civilizations.´ The timelessness of this collection makes it impossible to place the scene in a known timeline.
There will be conferences, workshops and performances at various stages throughout the duration of this exhibition so do check schedules before attending.
Another visual arts exhibition scheduled for later in the year, too, is Sandra March’s work being shown under the title of Que nos surzan. This opens on 4th October at Cic El Almacen with an 8.00pm inauguration, and will run until February 2020. Sandra takes a look at how wounds, injuries and scars tell our autobiographies.
Later in October, yet another exhibition opens at Cic El Almacen. The inauguration takes place at 8.00 pm on 4th October, of Pepe Vera´s El Dedo Índice.
As the title implies, this work focuses on how the index finger, the second of the hand, is used in almost all cultures to point out, indicate, select, and also, curiously, to operate the shutter of the camera, and how these actions might also be interpreted as not only directions to look outwards but also as a guide to our inner emotions. We also use the index finger to draw lines and imagined boundaries, and in so doing we create the temptation to step over those line. El Dedo Indice is, in this sense, an unattainable project, a search that does not cease, of everything that crosses the path of Pepe Vera.
Parallel activities include tours of the exhibition with our favourite freelance curator and guide, Estefanía Camejo, and the final presentation of the catalogue on Thursday 4th January 2020, at 7.00 pm with admission to this event being free while places remain.
The film Film Todos Nos Llamionos Ali, will be shown in cinemas in Arrecife from 6th September.
Another film to be screened is Andrei Rublev, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (1966) This film, however, is to be screened at CIC El Almacén on Saturday 28th September at 8.30 pm with tickets free whilst still available. This Russian drama, set at the beginning of the 15th century, follows the monk / painter, Andrei Rublev, as he travels to Moscow, together with colleagues, to paint the frescoes in the Cathedral of the assumption in the Kremlin. From the isolation of his cell, Rublev becomes aware of the tortures, crimes and killings that have terrorized the Russian people. This biography is famous for its icons and serves to create a thorough portrait of the social, political and artistic life in Russia at the time.
Musical performances are part of the staple offer from The Cabildo’s arts and culture department and on 6th September you can see Lajalada, The Smooth Alley. Singer / songwriter Bethlehem A. Doreste follows the success of his debut, Bel Bee Bee, with Lajalada.
This release is more electronic than his previous offering, with more thoughtful compositions written in English and Spanish, that have already been presented live at several festivals. For this performance the singer / writer has collected a band including Ner Suárez (Nimanana, Atlantis), Alberto Rodríguez (the Dog of Pavlov, Luz Futuro) and Octavio Limiñana. The sixty minute performances is promised as being free whilst space remains available and begins at 11.30 pm, though the precise location is unclear as yet.
Two nights later on 8th September there will be sixty minute performance by Orqesta Catacumbia, that is again free to the public while space remains available prior to the 8.00 pm start. After its successful debut (La Sonora proposal, 2017) EP, Orchestra Catacumbia presents this as its first album length work. The release of this album in March 2019 represented two milestones of great importance for the Tenerife cumbia and rock band: the consolidation of a repertoire to account to demonstrate their range of influences and, at the same time, the addition of colour to the percussion and guitar sound for which they have become known.
There is still more live music scheduled for Saturday 21st September to be performed by Claudio Alamo and Beselch with the free entry scheme applying here at Casa de la Cultura Benito Perez Armas in Yaiza, for a sixty minute show that begins at 9.00 pm.
From 2015 Claudia Álamo and Beselch Rodríguez have represented, on stage, the entire Canary Islands women project: giving a female voice to the world, which reinterprets, with a powerful band, an exquisite selection of songs by vocals and timple, some instantly recognisable, others hitherto almost anonymous.
Now, in a trio format, accompanied by guitarist Carlos de el Castillo, they present us with a new sound of contemporary ethnicity in what should be an un-missable event.
On the same evening there will also be a sixty minute musical performance in Cueva de Los Verdes by Lanzarote Ensemble. Admission for what should be an atmospheric occasion, to begin at 9.00 pm, will be ten euros.
Lanzarote Ensemble, a formation of academic music by the Cabildo of Lanzarote, will present, on this occasion, the different visions of Spring created by some of the greatest musicians of all time. Works by Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Copland and Johann Strauss composed for different formations and, therefore, with a multitude of sounds, bring us closer to where nature flourishes, expands and shows all its splendour and beauty. A guest soloist will be David Ballesteros, a virtuous violinist of our time and a member of the London Symphony Orchestra.
There will be an insight, too, into the creation of musical theatre in a workshop by Canarias Escribe Teatro, facilitated by Liam O´Malley. The session will run on 24th, 25th and 26th September from 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm and is described as an initiation workshop identifying the enjoyment of the ´exploration´ necessary before a playwrite even begins the process of writing.
The workshop will look at the conflicts that arise even in these early stages and look at a grid-search structure to develop plot and characters and participants will learn what it means to confront a play script. The cost of taking part is fifty euros although reductions are available to those who are unemployed or claiming social benefit.
This sounds to me a lot like an initiative I took part in when living in the UK. RAW (Read and Write) was a BBC Project that addressed many of these themes and some of the plays developed during their workshops were subsequently delivered in improvised performances in local arenas.
Vivaldo Nature is similarly described as a ´musical theatre´ event. This is to be performed on Thursday 26th September at 8.30 pm at El Salinero in Arrecife. This sixty minute performance will be presented as part of the Second Annual Festival Canarias of Performing Arts. The Department of Culture at The Cabildo have advised all across the arts that the price of tickets will be ten euros, for the piece that they also advise us might not be suitable for children under thirteen years of age
This performance sees the great lady of the theatre, Nuria Espert, return to Lanzarote to present us with a new show. Accompanied by, The Tempest, a prestigious of classical music ensemble, the actress offers a trip to the 18th century showing the maximum expression of the union between music and words. The voice of Espert speaks the text that inspired Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – and Il Gallerdino and La Notte – while the Orchestra, with soloists Pablo Súarez Calero (violin) and Guillermo Peñalver (flute), accompany the actress in this great show that Silvia Marquez Chulilla directs.
We have talked many times on our all across the arts pages, here on Lanzarote Information about the huge number and diversity of art forms made available us on this wonderful island, so it is perhaps surprising that dance occasions are not included more often on the arts and cultural monthly agendas.
Nevertheless, looking ahead to October we see the promise of a spectacular workshop of dance on 2nd and 3rd October at 8.30 pm. This Taller de Publico para Publico will be led by Raquel Ponce at CIC El Almacén. Admission will be free with an invitation that can be requested from CIC El Almacén from 30th September between 10.00 am and 9.00 pm
It all sounds hugely intriguing. all across the arts have been told that ´the public chooses the artist, chooses and decides what he wants to see.´ But who elected the public? Can the artist choose it? If you do so, what kind of public does the artist need for each of his works? Can you learn how to be a public alternative, pop, experimental, autonomous and independent? Is there a professional audience and another amateur?
I find questions like this to be fascinating. As a writer I have a clear image in my head of my ideal reader´ but I’m sixty six and I haven’t met that person yet, and nor do I believe that person has yet read me, his ideal writer´!!
Under this premise, the actress and dancer Raquel Ponce presents an innovative and surprising proposal that blends performance, dance, workshop and theatre. This will be a scenic piece which is built according to progresses and where you, as a viewer, have much to say.
There will be another dance event on Saturday 5th October at 6.00 pm when a fifty minute performance of Eti-Quete will be presented by Tenerifie Danza. The admission fee is six euros for another performance that all across the arts are advised is most suitable for an audience of 3 years or older.
Tenerife dance team, under the direction of veteran Helena Berthelius, presents a new project for all young children and adults who remain young children at heart, and it is in this show that dance and theatre merge.
This show, full of light, colour and animation reflects on the identity and the importance of being who we want to be. Prototypes with human qualities are manufactured in a laboratory of people and perfection is being sought. But what is perfection? This multidisciplinary recognises the important of you the audience in creating characters like TSI and Queta and choosing attributes for new beings that are still works in process.
all across the arts applaud The Cabildo for staging two plays in quick succession that so obviously talk not only to each other, but also to all of us, whether child or adult.
Looking even further ahead, to Saturday 23rd November, we have marked on to our calendar a contemporary dance event. El Fin de Las Cosas is a performance by Compañía Eva Guerrero to be given at Teatro Víctor Fernández Gopar “El Salinero”. The dance performance will last for approximately fifty five minutes and is recommended for thirteen year olds and above, at an admission fee of twelve euros.
Eva Guerrero dance company present here a work that addresses ´that moment in which rhythm is lost.´ The choreography speaks of inertia and stubbornness, lack of control, what actually happens and what we would like to happen. The dance explores that liminality between what we do and say and what remains unspoken. Here at all across the arts we reviewed a visual arts exhibition earlier this year by Rachel Plans, called Fall, that explored the notion of falling, in every sense of that word. That collection of drawings, painting, sketches, poetry and prose might have made a perfect backdrop in which this dance could have been set.
all across the arts is currently representing a fairly major Opera Production company in the UK to try to broker a deal with The Cabidlo and movers and shakers in the field. These could include students, tutoring staff, choirs, singers, musicians, musical directors, technicians and front of house meeters and greeters.
It is hoped that we could arrange and find finance for a package that might bring the Opera Company over here to work with volunteers in all these spheres to deliver workshops and subsequent performances of the Pirates Of Penzance, and dates of October 2020 have been provisionally squared off in various diaries. There does seem to be a sudden recognition of Opera as an art form over here on the island, and this partnership between the UK and Lanzarote could be an idea for which the time is right.
We had a superb performance of Carmen Burana as part of the Manrique stage celebrations in Arrecife earlier this year, and then, a few weeks ago, we were all invited to The Marriage Of Figaro. There was also a selection of ´operatic favourites´ performed recently at the last of this year’s Concierto’s Clasico.
There will now also be another offering of Opera in the Teatro de Tias, performed by Timbiriqui Teatro on Saturday October 5th at 8.00 pm. Like so many of the offers from The Cabildo’s Arts and Culture Department, this one comes free whilst tickets are available. Suitable for anyone over the age of six, the show will last for an hour.
How would you feel to be in a place that allows you to listen to songs of all kinds in an extraordinary and original version? The Operetta is a work starring three characters for the sea of fun: a lyrical and dreamy singer convinced of being the hero of the music; a multi-instrumentalist, his faithful companion of adventures, with feet on the ground; and a clumsy and unfortunate, technician who appears and disappears from the scene stumbling with notes and soaring melodies. The result is a comic show for the whole family in which illusion and reality are mixed continuously.
Strangely, though, as I was writing the above paragraph I realise it could also be an apt description of an ill-defined partnership in which nobody is quite certain of their job description and nobody really recognises the talents of others. Hmm,…note to self, remember this when brokering the opera deal.
Later in October, there will be theatre for all the family when Peter Pan And Wendy is performed at El Salinero in Arrecife. At 6.00 pm on Saturday 26th October this sixty minute performance can be seen for an admission fee of only eight euros.
The very same theatre becomes a ´big top´ on Saturday 9th November with a circus performance of Express, is delivered by Compania Falton 7. This fifty minute entertainment is suitable for all children over four years old and adults and admission is ten euros.
It tells the story of Messaging Express Agency, where nothing works as it should. Everything is upside down, even the employees! The packages come and go between acrobatics, balances and juggling. The work does not stop and shipments fly as high as the workers! And the workers, and the shipments, are also full of surprises that will amaze everyone. Missing 7 Company presents a fresh show which combines humour with different circus disciplines.
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