We pulled up outside their house to pick up our two undercover reporters to find only one of them waiting for us at their gate. It transpired the she who will not be named was feeling unwell but the Chief Superintendent was determined to fulfil his duties of digging for news and contacts. It was brave of him to allow me to drive the unlit road through the blackness of night until Yaiza’s football stadium shone its floodlights lights upon us, whilst casting eerie shadows on the mountain across the road. Still, we could at least now see our way to the Casa de La Culture, now just up the road, although finding a place to park was not quite so straightforward. The huge car park was pretty full, what with people coming to gaze in admiration at the lights and the Belen and many others to attend the evening’s concert by the Yaiza Municipal Brass Band.
As we stepped into the theatre, Cacaophonous, Discordant And Loud were giving evidence that there is no sound much worse than a brass band when its tuning up.
However, we have seen The Yaiza Municipal Brass Band on several occasions, including three of these annual concerts, and knew that all the fine-tuning would prove worth it.
The room had filled a good deal before the concert proper began, and the magnificent swell of an opening Christmas Carol medley filled the room and floated out into the town through the open door. It was a wonderful arrangement that shone the spotlight on soloists and sections of the band. The prolonged applause was well deserved.
A series of classical pieces was well chosen, with percussion ably setting and keeping the tempo. There was a great deal of the oomph we associate with brass bands, but there were gentler, sweeter and beautifully melodious passages too.
There was another medley of carols, again perfectly and interestingly arranged.
Then came a version of Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps a song made famous by Doris Day. Also known as Quizas, Quizas, Quizas, it is a popular song that was composed by Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés in 1947. The song gained widespread popularity with its English version performed by the legendary American singer Doris Day. Known for her angelic voice and captivating performances, Day’s rendition of Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps captured the hearts of millions.
I’m not sure how we in the audience refrained from getting up to dance for this finale, as its captivating Cuban rhythms reminded us of the demure Doris at her most flirtatious. The bongo players were so good that this sounded like a segueway by Dave Archer and his singers on Strictly Come Dancing. Just about everybody in their seats, in the audience and in the orchestra were tapping their feet, swaying their hips and shrugging their shoulders.
The lyrics of Perhaps, Perhaps tell a tale of uncertainty and longing. It revolves around a speaker expressing their feelings of love and desire towards someone, but unsure if those feelings would be reciprocated. The use of the word “perhaps” adds an air of hesitation and vulnerability to the song, capturing the essence of a tentative love confession.
As all we shiny, happy people in the audience had given long sustained and encore calls for the players, we all filed out of the the Casa de la Culture chatting away as we jigged out into the courtyard. Our undercover reporter exited alongside Marianne Whelpdale, a musician and director, who had been in the audience tonight. We know Marianne fairly well and have covered a number of her choral performances on these pages. We understand there are some more of those to look forward to, so we expect to bring you more news, previews and reviews as appropriate
Meanwhile, Dee and I chatted with some of the orchestra outside after the concert, swapping business cards and arranging an interview with one of the players, so watch this space over the next few weeks.
This had been a night for the town of Yaiza to celebrate its own as it were, and there was a tangible community atmosphere to the event.
How appropriate then that earlier in the day it had been announced that a new financial package was announced by The Government of the Canary Islands, through the Department of Universities, Science and Innovation and Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands directed by Migdalia Machín,
An allocation of nearly 900,000 euros has been ear-marked for the rehabilitation of the “Benito Pérez Armas” House of Culture in the municipality of Yaiza. The proposed improvements will be carried out within the objectives of the Canary Islands Executive for the conservation of the historical heritage of the Canary Islands, and in this case, of the island of Lanzarote. This is in part due to the current state of slight deterioration of the building and the grounds, but the wording of the announcement would suggest that the work to be carried out will be in sympathy with the history and tradtion of the venue.
For the Minister of Universities, Science and Innovation and Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands, Migdalia Machín, “this action represents the materialization of the Government’s objective and commitment to the protection of our heritage and the conservation of the most emblematic buildings on the island, in this case, in the south of Lanzarote.”
In this sense, the counselor points out that “the safeguarding of all those spaces where culture is developed and offered, while at the same time being a hotbed of creation and meeting of artists, will always be a priority for this Ministry of Culture.”
The subsidized activity must be carried out before December 31, 2024.
The Casa de la Culture at Yaiza or the “Casa Benito Pérez Armas”, as it is more often known, was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1989 and is included in the Catalog of Historical Artistic Heritage of the Lanzarote Island Plan.
It is an 18th century colonial mansion located in the town of Yaiza, where Benito Pérez Armas, a prominent politician, journalist and writer of the late 19th century and early 20th century, was born and raised.
Today it serves as a cultural enclave that hosts a wide variety of events, such as theatres, art exhibitions and concerts, in addition to housing the Municipal Library.
The venue is, of course, a venue that attracts tourists as they stroll round the beautiful town of Yaiza with is magnificent church and town square. December 2023 saw the square and the Casa de la Culture festooned with Christmas lights, and housing a magnificent arts installation of the annual Belen-
A series of musical events, (and a book launch by Roger Trend, author of a new book about The Volcanoes of the island,) all helped draw large crowds and capacity audiences to the various events. We have been delighted to report on such events on these pages recently..
And now we can promise to keep you informed of developments.