Let The Music Play On

I may have missed something somewhere in translation but if I am reading my Spanish correctly then somehow Arrecife lost a three-night concert festival and it was promised to Playa Blanca sooner than it was slated on the original schedule.  If I am correct in that summation then all praise to the guys and girls who got the stage erected in double quick time in the square in front of the church. The audio techies did their stuff too and the artists simply adapted, with an attitude of hey, that´s rock ´n roll. 

Andy and Lucas finally performed in Lanzarote, but did do so at a concert only re-arranged in Playa Blancain the last minute. This had been confirmed to La Voz by the Councilor for Culture of the Yaiza City Council, Daniel Medina.

As many of our readers will know, the Andalusian duo should have performed last Saturday, October 22, in Arrecife as part of the Sunset Festival, but problems with permits meant that it had to be suspended. A similiar fate also befell the other concerts that were planned in the Lanzarote capital as parts of this festival were not held and were subsequently cancelled.

This led to a real crisis of claim and counter-claim within government groups, especially between Nueva Canarias and Canarian Coalition. Finally, the mayor dismissed the Tourism and Trade technician, Miguel Ángel Leal, moving him to the Department Of Culture.

The mayor, Óscar Noda, encourages the people of Lanzarote “to enjoy this Thursday the performance of Andy and Lucas, which will be the first night of three days of music at the stop made by the Sunset Canarias Festival in our town of Playa Blanca” .

The Yaiza City Council, which had been preparing for the arrival of the Sunset in the municipality for days, had managed to bring the people of Cadiz to Playa Blanca, including them in the festival programme. Andy and Lucas performed on Thursday, October 27th

The night sky was gently swaying  a cradle moon of a very distinctive orange colour on the opening night of the festival. When Andy and Lucas took to the stage, brightly lit, dry ice was creating mellow mists of autumn (sorry, Mr Keats) across the floor. If there was a sleeping baby in that cradle moon it was soon awakened by a massive percussive thud and immediate addition of strings and vocals that rocked us through the opening number.

Andy and Lucas offered their art and the public of Playa Blanca responded unquestionably, filling Plaza del Carmen and its surroundings for this opening night of The Sunset Canarias Festival in the south of Lanzarote; a generous evening of music, memories and emotions ‘Para que bailes conmigo’, paying the best of tributes to one of the songs performed by the duo from Cadiz and their band of six musicians in the sweeping two-hour show.

The performance of Andy and Lucas in Playa Blanca could be seen and heard as part of their on-going national and international artistic marathon commemorating their 20 year musical career, with more than 70 concerts, offering the best of those two decades.

La Voz alluded to the problems and cancellation that had preceeded the concert when saying in their review that Playa Blanca had made the Andy and Lucas soundtrack its own. They were able to do because of the firm commitment of the organization of the Festival, led by the Government of the Canary Islands and the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs of Las Palmas). The support of the Yaiza City Council chaired by Óscar Noda was invaluable

It is true, certainly that the artists spoke out loud, and the public gave thanks with their applause, in appreciation of the opportunity to perform on the Island of the Volcanoes for the enjoyment of musicians and audience.

Social Media would carry hundreds of photographs the following day showing the public enjoying an extraordinarily good time at the concert. Songs like ‘Son de amores’, ‘I loved her so much’ or ‘I’m going crazy’ were joyfully received by an audience who  translated them into choirs, choruses, shouts of adulation and collective dance.

That the music rocked did not stop it revealing  emotion and there on the Playa Blanca stage, Andy and Lucas dedicated songs to the grandparents and to the stage-figure of the fighting woman. These quiet moments in the concert were then inevitably broken with a thunderous ovation. Andy and Lucas were up front and centre stage, of course but guitarist José Losada and young violinist Camila Sánchez showed off their creativity and mastery of artistic technique in ‘Quiero ser tu sueño’.

The public enjoyed the quality of the show and was infected by the charisma of the artists. The square was a rise and fall of a dancing tidal wave whilst the surrounding restaurants and bars were selling a Thursday as if it were The Heart Of A Saturday Night that Tom Waits might have been looking for 

´This fulfilled the double objective of offering leisure alternatives and moving our local economy”, emphasized the Councilor for Culture, Daniel Medina, when speaking to Voz. ´The Yaiza City Council appreciates the participation of the people of Lanzarote and the work of the Yaiza Local Police and that of all security and emergency bodies that ensured citizen safety.´

Nía then delivered a performance on Friday, October 28th, and Cristina Ramos closed the on Sunday, October 30th . All performances were at 9:00 p.m. in the plaza of the tourist town.

Nia,  Estefania Correia, showed great vocal talent at a young age, having been born in 1994, By 2003 she was attending the modern music school of Alexia Rodrgiuez and Andy Marrero and soon afterwards was appearing on television talent shows. More recently she enjoyed three years appearinbg in the successful show The Lion King  on Madrid´s Gran Via, playing the role of Nata, Simba´s girlfriend. She suggest in an interview during the run that her work was offering her an opportunity to ´broaden her professional vision.¨

´Át first I thought for a long time that what I loved was singing, but after acting in The Lion King I realised that I would really love to be able to work in a television series and make the leap to Cinema,´ Nia said  in a statement that given it was made in 2017 has turned out to be prescient.

In January she appeared for the first time on prime time tv for a Gran Canaria audience, After a performance in which she even embroidered a Beyonce song with her own riffs, she earned the title from the local press as The Spanish Beyonce.

With an excellent band around her  Nia bounded on stage and delivered a concert of great variety. She opened with a few numbers of the kind of Euro-pop we hear playing o the restaurant play lists all the time, but when she occasionally slowed into songs like the teasing Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps she demonstrated the range of vocal talents that have made her such a star. She had entered into a slightly less  full dance arena than that which had greeted Andy and Lucas the previous night but before her opening number was only half way through, hundreds of people flocked to the front of the stage and began hoping and bopping and clapping along to the kind of contemporary Euro pop we hear coming from the speakers in our beach bars and restaurants over here  but it was when she beautifully delivered a couple of standards like a delightfully breathy Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps.

Cristina Ramos delivered the final show two nights later, on the evening evening,  of  the 30th October, on this stage, to bring this stop on the Sunset Festival itinerary. With her own fine set of musicians and dancers, and some support too from her sister Cristina was a jumping and jiving bundle of energy with a fine voice and builkt a great rapport with the massive audience.

Towards the end of her show she, too, slowed her pace for a heartfelt version of Leonard Cohen´s Hallelujah, with a magnificent musical arrangement that had the audience singing, with phone-cameras held aloft capturing the scene for posterity.

One day, a lot sooner than they think, this young audience will, as we have now, reached our age of seventy. The films they made tonight will be reminders of the music of their generation and will show the fantastic production values that Playa Blanca  brought  to these three concerts as part of the Sunset Canaries festival. Superb sound, lighting fx and great artists in an open air town centre beneath warm starlit skies will be treasured memories to be watched over and again. 

“In Yaiza we have a program of artistic performances to promote culture and also to revitalize shopping and tourist areas and thus help boost commerce. Now we have had the opportunity and the confidence of the Sunset Canarias Festival and here we have been able to please our people and the people of Lanzarote”, adds Daniel Medina

Sunset Festival is a commitment of the Government Of The Canary Islands And The Federation Of Hotel and Tourism Entrepreneurs of Las Palmas with the support of the Yaiza City Council.

The crowds for the three concerts in the square in Playa Blanca were in high quantity of numbers and high quality of voice for all three concerts, which were of higher energy and of brighter light, and louder volume than your seventy old reporters here at Lanzarote Information have become accustomed to since retiring here seven years ago. However, the performances of music and dance quality of the highest calibre had the young things grooving on the concrete dance floor, causing no bother whatsoever. In fact the massive stage and blinding lighting and the beat of the music took us back to the days of our youth, that I would wager were somewhat more mis-spent than those of these young people in Playa Blanca. 

We were all disco, weren´t we, either up at Tiffany´s or down The Palais. We danced the BallRoom Blitz until it surrendered until only a few years later, as a young man I reluctantly danced to Englebert Humperdink´s Last Waltz in the arms of  a girl I´d been chatting up for half an hour. 

You dancing?

Who´s asking?

I´m asking !

I´m Dancing.

And a few months later we were married and never went to a disco again:  and that,  boys and girls, is what they invented dancing for !

I and that girl who shuffled me round that dance floor fifty years ago retired here seven years ago. Since then, we have seen concerts in caves, seen sardine being burned in beach festivals, we have danced in circles in market squares and I have read poetry on El Patio in Teguise. We have listened to classical, to jazz, to folk lore, we have clicked our fingers and banged our heels and flamencos and fadoed, and one year we even followed Romeo and Juliet through Villa De Teguise. We have seen wonderful visual arts in bars and castles and churches. We have seen Cats and Evita and even Jesus Christ Superstar and have seen statues standing, still despite the utter stupidity of that tiny, tiny minority, probably not sober, who might occasionally defile them.

Any cancellation of a concert, for whatever reason there may be, causes consternation and inconvenience. Having ´worked and played in the Lanzarote arts industry here for the last seven years I can honestly say, though, that the island invariably weas its love of the arts on its sleeve, as if knowing that if we care for the arts then the arts will care for us.  

So after relief of a festival event being saved imagine my joy at receiving the e mail below,

Dear Norman, I know you write poetry and love to read it and hear it, so I would like to inform you of “Versos, Volcanoes and Wind” a Lanzarote Poetry Festival, consisting of three actions or events . The Festival will be held on November 25, 26 and 27 in the Villa de Teguise. The full name is: 

  1. Friday 25 at 19.30 h. Poetry recital at the Timple Museum. Admission is free until full capacity is reached. 20 Canarian poets or residents in the Canary Islands will participate. This list is closed.
  2. Saturday 26 at 10.30 h. Historical and poetic tour of La Villa de Teguise. The chronicler Francisco Hernández will make a tour of the most emblematic places of Teguise and the participating poets will read a poem at each point. The tour can be joined by all the inhabitants and visitors of Teguise who wish to do so.  The list of poets who will read on this tour is closed. 
  3. Sunday 27 at 10.30 am Street Verses: Recital of free participation, in the Plaza de los Leones (Plaza de la Constitución) of Teguise. There will be a microphone and paper to write and everyone can write and read their poem there (you have to be the author). Then each participant will take a picture with his poem and we will hang it in the RRSS of the Festival and each author in their own. You will have to take a photo author and poem and hang it on your social networks and read it right there

I would very much like it if you participated in the recital on Sunday. You can take a poem of yours (not very long, or some stanza) and there write it, read it, and show it. 

I would be happy to answer any questions you have, so you can include this event in your daily blog at Sidetracks And Detours or in your weekly column at Lanzarote Information,  as you prefer. 

That interview has now been arranged for Tuesday 1st November, so watch this space for an interview with my friend Mercedes Minguela, and a subsequent review of the event