Saturday, 27 August 2016

Croqueta y Empanadilla

by Ana Oncina

Everybody — at least in Spain — knows that croquetas are from Mars and empanadillas are from another planet. What could possibly go wrong when they decide to move in together? (For the last time: empanadilla is not a Cornish pastry.)

Croqueta y Empanadilla are creations of Valencian artist Ana Oncina, who does not look line an empanadilla at all. Yet she says that the comics are based on her and her partner’s true adventures. In any case, they are charming. My favourite story is about CyE’s trip to Germany, featuring Greek Yogurt as a dorm-mate from hell.

Friday, 19 August 2016

The Last Bastion

a film by Blizzard Entertainment

I know nothing about the video games. That includes Overwatch. This did not prevent me from enjoying this animated short, once again, suggested by Timur (who said he is not interested in the game as such). Bastion reminded me of Laputan robot from Castle in the Sky. A surprisingly heart-warming story for something that is intended to be a promotional short for a first-person shooter video game.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Something Wicked

by Yuri & Timur

Last year, for my birthday, Yuri and Timur presented me with a handwritten manuscript of their joint literary work. At long last, we have digitised it (i.e. typed it on a PC), keeping as much of original spelling, punctuation and capitalisation as possible.

The moon is black, the night is dark
Monsters howl and cry and bark
Scream now, leave now, run away
Something wicked comes this way

Friday, 5 August 2016

Revolver

by The Beatles

While Revolver was not the first Beatles album I’ve heard — ironically, my first one was The Beatles’ last — it probably was the first I heard in its entirety and appreciated as such. Which is also somewhat ironic considering that Revolver is still just a collection of (brilliant) songs rather than a concept album. Never mind that. I discovered it in 1977 and listened to it a zillion times. Love You To was unlike anything I heard before.

Perhaps I was fascinated by those open endings: Taxman, I’m Only Sleeping, Love You To, Good Day Sunshine, wonderful as they are, fade away when something even more wonderful is just about to happen — wait, I’m still fascinated with them. And then, Tomorrow Never Knows — what was that? Is that how the album was meant to end? Amazing. Rewind the tape, listen again. The only song I felt out of place on the album was Yellow Submarine, and that despite (or because) it was the first Beatles song I ever learned the chorus. So did Yuri when he was about three, although in his rendition it was “we all live in a yellow atmosphere”.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Un zoo en invierno

by Jiro Taniguchi

This is a manga about an 18-old boy who in 1967 moves to Tokyo to become... an assistant to a manga artist. How exciting is that?

In fact, it is quite engaging. Young Hamaguchi tries alcohol (and has a hangover), draws a nude model, and creates his own manga — all for the first time in his life. Oh, and he also falls in love. It may be not terribly deep but funny, sincere and touching. The last chapter of A Zoo in Winter does not imply a happy ending but leaves you to hope for one.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Carne y hueso

by Eva Yerbabuena Ballet Flamenco

So here it is, another experimental validation of the Theory of Searches by Juan Valdez (see Mindswap by Robert Sheckley): after ten or so years of consistently missing Eva Yerbabuena in England, I’ve got the chance to see her for free precisely in my current Location-Point. Once again, as a part of the 20º TEMUDAS FEST; once again, at Plaza de Santa Ana.

We went to see the show with Timur yesterday. To our surprise, it started exactly as advertised, at 10 pm. There were no free seats so we sat down on the ground, just a few metres away from the scene.

It seems that Timur, in contrast to Yuri, enjoys both toque and baile flamenco. Can’t say the same about cante, but then, I also can do without it, or at least without its most traditional (that is, tragic) variety. Eva’s dance, especially taconeo, was very impressive. However, we both liked even more the rest of the dance troupe. There was an encore where every dancer (and the singer) got to do a solo performance. (On the way back, we’ve been discussing who was the best. We’ve both agreed that it was a male dancer on the far right.)

I have to add that I didn’t care much about the black screens used as stage props as they were obstructing the view for those who (like us) were watching from the side.

Carne y hueso

  • Baile: Eva Yerbabuena
  • Guitar: Paco Jarana
  • Cante: José Valencia, Alfredo Tejada
  • Percussion: Antonio Coronel
  • Corps de ballet: Christian Lozano, Fernando Jiménez, Ángel Fariña, Lorena Franco, María Moreno, Marina González

Monday, 25 July 2016

Jazz at Plaza de Santa Ana

I didn’t see as much of Canarian International Jazz Festival (in its XXVth edition this year!) as I’d like to — but who did? At least, Timur and I went to Plaza de Santa Ana two nights in a row, 22 and 23 July, and enjoyed some good, at times great, music.

Jon Cleary trio (Friday) was the only “international” act during these two days. And man, they were good. Jon Cleary plays some mean honky-tonky style piano and sings blues so listening to him one may be excused to think that the guy himself, just like his bandmates, hails from New Orleans, Louisiana and not from Cranbrook, Kent. They played an encore; “Do you want some more?”, asked the bass player. “Yes? Buy the CD!” Fair enough; the show was free and they were running late.

Personally, I don’t care much about Michael Jackson but Madrid-based Patax made quite a good job of covering his hits, to the degree of enjoyability. They opened their set with Billie Jean which included a great deal of flamenco singing, clapping and dancing; after ten minutes or so, Timur asked me, “Is it still the first song?” — yes it was. A note to myself: next time, try to get closer to the band if just to see the dancing. Patax, perhaps uniquely, played on four (of five) islands participating in the festival this year: Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Palma and Tenerife. Respect.

Luis Merino’s band (Friday), Jazz Coming and José Carlos Díaz Group (both Saturday) are three electric guitar-driven quartets based in Gran Canaria (I hope they forgive me for unceremoniously lumping them together) playing “contemporary” jazz which by now became mainstream. The problem with mainstream, of course, is that it is a very crowded stream field place to be. To my ear, neither of these bands sounded particularly Spanish, let alone Canarian. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Still, I need some musical clues to differentiate them from the said mainstream, or, for that matter, one from another. In the case of Luis Merino Quartet, it was Xerach Peñate who made the band to stand out (back in 2013, Yuri and I saw her playing with Gran Canaria Big Band); a jazz drummer to watch. Ironically, what I remembered the best of Jazz Coming set were two songs with a guest singer whose name I did not remember. José Carlos Díaz Group presented most lively, hummable, danceable material.

Touché! probably was the least mainstream of the bands presented during those two days. An acoustic guitar duo from Tenerife plays compositions which are difficult to categorise; unfortunately, also difficult to hear when most of the audience is chatting all the time. A more chamber setting would suit Touché! (and the listener) better.

The whole Saturday set was, as they say, más canario que el gofio. We didn’t stay to see another Gran Canarias outfit, Perinké Big Band, because it was about to start after 1 am but I am determined to catch them when they play next time. Hopefully, soon.

Luis Merino Quartet

  • Luis Merino — guitar
  • David Quevedo — piano
  • Tana Santana — bass
  • Xerach Peñate — drums

Jon Cleary trio

  • Jon Cleary — keyboards, vocals
  • Cornell Williams — bass
  • AJ Hall — drums

Patax

  • Jorge Pérez — percussion
  • Federico Lechner — piano
  • Valentín Iturat — drums
  • Alana Sinkey — vocal
  • Carlos Sánchez — bass
  • Daniel García — keyboards
  • Roberto Pacheco — trombone
  • Raúl Gil — trumpet
  • Rafael Águila — sax
  • Dani Morales — timbales
  • Lidón Patiño — dance

Jazz Coming

  • Néstor García — guitar
  • Juan Antonio Martín — saxophones
  • Carlos Meneses — double bass
  • Suso Vega — drums

Touché!

  • Jonay G. Mesa — Brazilian seven-string guitar
  • Yeray A. Herrera — manouche guitar

José Carlos Díaz Group

  • José Carlos Díaz — guitar
  • Jose Alberto Medina Quintana – keyboards
  • Tanausu Santana Garrido – bass
  • Oscar López – drums