Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Fuerteventura en Música 2013

How time flies. That’s how I finished my post about the last year’s festival:

I have a year to sort the accommodation out.
It was not until last week though that I finally sorted it. By that time, I couldn’t find any reasonably priced hotels in El Cotillo for two nights. So, guess what, I booked our stay for three nights. Which provided us with a welcome escape from extremely noisy neighbours who arrived for holidays. (I never thought I am going to say this, but here you are: I am counting time till we leave this house for good.)

What I wrote last year remains true. Still, no publicity. Maybe because this year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival, they managed to print the colourful booklets and posters, although I only saw them in El Cotillo. The festival website had a list of bands, but it was not even said which band plays which night. The DJ breaks were still far too long. The police, even in greater numbers, were still hanging around the centre. This time they brought red and blue LED traffic flares, so their stretch of road looked more festive. The special buses seemed to run on time.

For me, the highlight of the first night were The Monos from Gran Canaria. I was more than impressed by their versatility and level of musicianship. Yes, it’s “only” rock’n’roll. Plus cumbia, funk, rancheras, reggae, ska, and even tango. And what a killer horn section! Who said that Canarians can only play timple? Oh, by the way, they also have a killer timple player. Listen to Llora la Tierra and Canarito de sangre and hear for yourself.

On Saturday night, as I was walking towards Playa de la Concha, I heard music coming from one of the streets. I came closer. It was a garage used as a dining room. Inside, a middle-aged woman was sitting near the gate, another was standing, probably cooking. An old man was at the table, playing timple and singing, paying no attention whatsoever to the beat from Playa de la Concha.

I guess every outdoor festival struggles with the problem of waste. In the early hours of Sunday, the garbage containers were overflowing. Maybe they were not emptied on Saturday morning. I don’t know what was happening with portaloos, I did not dare entering them this year.

The Palestinian rap trio DAM played an electrifying set on the second night. They even taught the audience some clapping patterns and a few Arabic (I believe) words. My only wish was they were backed by a real band. And, magically, my wish came true, for the next act, Babylon Circus, graciously invited DAM on stage and backed them for a truly great performance. That, I thought, is how Palestinian rap should sound.

Babylon Circus were the heroes of the night. To label them as “ska and reggae group” is, at best, misleading. Of course they do play ska and reggae, but these are fused with chanson, rock, swing and, yes, kind of music you’d expect to hear in circus. They sing in both French and English (yes, with cute French accent). The audience were exhausted from all this singing and shouting and jumping, while it looked like Babylon Circus were ready to play another set!

A hard act to follow, they are. Perhaps inevitably, the next band sounded, well, less great. I felt really sorry for them. To avoid further disappointment, I went back to the hotel. The formerly musical garage was dark and silent.

More photos of El Cotillo @ Shutterstock.

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