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


  • 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


  • 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

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Things Yuri likes

One sunny day, Timur and I were waiting for this or that appointment. I knew it could take quite some time so I took a pencil and a notebook with me. This is what we wrote.

Things that Yuri likes

  • British panel shows
  • Chess
  • Discworld
  • Undertale
  • 2-D animation
  • Critical analysis
  • Game Grumps and their 2 bands
  • Comics
  • Walking on his own
  • Coming up with ideas for comics, movies, games, etc.
  • Oranges
  • Coffee with milk and sugar
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Meat (also, to cook it)
  • Dark comedy
  • Sherlock Holmes (various implementations)
  • Blues
  • Cowboy-related stuff
  • His black cap

Las cosas que le gustan a Yuri

  • Programas de concursos británicos
  • Ajedrez
  • Mundodisco
  • Undertale
  • Animación 2-D
  • Análisis crítico
  • Game Grumps y sus 2 bandas
  • Historietas
  • Caminar por su cuenta
  • Encontrar ideas para cómics, películas, juegos, etc.
  • Naranjas
  • Café con leche y azúcar
  • Helado de chocolate
  • La carne (también cocinarla)
  • El humor negro
  • Sherlock Holmes (varias realizaciones)
  • Blues
  • Cosas vaqueras
  • Su gorra negra

Юра любит...

  • Британские телеигры
  • Шахматы
  • Плоский мир
  • Undertale
  • Рисованную мультипликацию
  • Критический анализ
  • Game Grumps и их 2 группы
  • Комиксы
  • Прогулки в одиночестве
  • Придумывать идеи для комиксов, фильмов, игр и т.д.
  • Апельсины
  • Кофе с молоком и сахаром
  • Шоколадное мороженое
  • Мясо (также, готовить)
  • Чёрный юмор
  • Шерлока Холмса (различные реализации)
  • Блюз
  • Вещи, связанные с ковбоями
  • Свою чёрную шапку

Sunday, 17 July 2016


by Georges Bizet

“What?”, I hear you crying, “now you go to the opera every single day?” Relax, dear reader. Not every day. Why, I spent years, nay, decades, without going to any opera and feel quite fine about that. I don’t even like opera that much. Unless it is something by Verdi. Or Carmen. It just so happened that right now there is the Festival of Theatre, Music and Dance in Las Palmas, and we’ve been attending it two days in a row.

Besides, we were attracted by the location as much as by the performance itself. This particular instance of Carmen took place at the Terminal de Contenedores del Muelle de La Luz (container terminal of the port). Playing in this unusual place became kind of a tradition for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria. Not the easiest spot to get to and from, considering that the show started at 10 pm; thankfully, there were free buses running from (and then back to) the Centro Comercial El Muelle. I have to say that the event was very well organised and, with tickets priced at €12, a steal. But, of course, there is always room for improvement.

Now the show was (thank goodness!) not a complete opera in four acts but a “greatest hits” compilation and, as it often happens with greatest hits compilations, included some misses as well. Our very own Canarian Nancy Fabiola Herrera made a great Carmen (“She is very pleased with herself”, noted Timur); in comparison, primo uomo Enrique Sánchez Ramos, while technically adequate, was not that impressive or memorable. Both lead singers and choir were just standing there, so it was more like an oratorio than an opera. I felt this gorgeous space was tragically underused. One can imagine employing the said containers as stage props or at the very least to create raised seating area. From our seats, there was little to be seen without binoculars. However, as the show was filmed for Spanish television and projected on huge TV screens (also mounted on the containers), we did not miss much in terms of visuals.

When we were back to the town, I asked Timur how much did he understand of the opera, given that he learns French in school. “Was it in French?” he asked. “Well... One word there was... L’amour.”


    Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria
    Conductor: Rodrigo Tomillo
    Mezzo-soprano: Nancy Fabiola Herrera
    Baritone: Enrique Sánchez Ramos
    Mezzo-soprano: Raia Natcheva
    Soprano: Maite Robaina
    OFGC Choir
    OFGC Children Choir

Friday, 15 July 2016


by Giuseppe Verdi as interpreted by Les Grooms

As far as I remember, Rigoletto was the first opera I’ve ever seen. Was it in Bolshoi, or somewhere else in Moscow, I can’t tell you. I liked the music but had no faintest clue what it is all about, although I recall that it did not end well. Now, consulting the Wikipedia, I am not sure at all that the theatrical programme back then explained the (fairly complicated, I say) plot in sufficient, or any, detail.

Fortysomething years later, enter Les Grooms with their strange and irreverent version of Verdi’s classic. A far cry from dead serious Soviet-era production. Come to think of it, maybe not that strange. Maybe that’s how the opera should be, free for all, performed on the street — well, tonight it was on the square, bang in the heart of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. On this occasion, the French theatrical brass band was joined by 25 Canarian singers. The best bit, at least for me, was after the end of the show: an encore and then some music that has nothing to do with great Verdi, with what remained of the audience dancing, forming a circle, making a conga line... it could have been a scene from a Fellini film.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Buscando a Dory

a film by Andrew Stanton

Timur wanted to watch this film and we all joined in. Normally, I wouldn’t expect a sequel to be better than the original but this was exactly the case. I didn’t care much about Nemo or his overprotective dad, but I always liked Dory. It was a love from the first trailer. Sometimes I wish to be like Dory, unencumbered with too much memories and happy at that.

Sure enough, the film is not just family but also environment-friendly as it freely recycles ideas not just from Finding Nemo but also other Pixar creations (e.g. Hank the octopus, in words of Timur, “does the Randall thing”). But who cares.

This is the first Pixar film I watched in Spanish from beginning to the end (almost — it seems that we missed the post-credits scene. Well that can happen when credits are endless) and I really liked the translation.

Hola, soy Dory. Sufro pérdidas de memoria a corto plazo.