Thursday, 30 November 2017

Live music in Santander and beyond, November 2017

And now, dear reader, the promised last.

  • 1 November: Albericola @ Rvbicón, Calle del Sol 4, Santander
      A brain-child of Cuban-born Ledian Mola (double bass), this innovative ensemble features Lucas Tauzin (vibraphone), Victor Vega (trumpet), Eolo Andino (sax), Nico Alfaro (guitar), Franco Cavalleri (piano) and Nasim López (drums).

  • 5 November: Mr. Kilombo @ Haddock Bar, Calle Valliciergo 6
      Just a man with a guitar in a tiny bar... A half of the audience (those who were to the right) turned out to be surprisingly familiar with his songs and were singing along all the way. A quarter of the audience were chatting by the bar (on the left). The remaining part were trying to listen, at the same time (unsuccessfully) shushing the others.
  • 7 November: Jazztedigo @ Bar Canela, Plaza Cañadío 5
      A trio featuring Rubén Bubby Ortiz (guitar), Saúl Crespo (violin) and Germán Caprara (drums) offers a fascinating journey through the 20th-century history of jazz.
  • 8 November: El Cuarteto de Ningún Lugar @ Rvbicón
      A prog-rock band featuring Vicent Huma (guitar), Martín Léiton (bass guitar), Pablo Martin Jones Johnston (percussion) and Borja Barrueta (drums). They played one composition that lasted a bit over one hour and another one (encore?) of about 15 minutes. After the concert, I had a chat with the musician only to establish that this was their first, and probably the last ever, performance. I had it recorded on my mobile phone and thus own their complete discography so far.

  • 11 November: Canteca de Macao @ Palacio de Vistalegre, Madrid
  • 14 November: Perla Batalla @ Rvbicón
      Perla Batalla was accompanied by César Latorre (piano) in her moving tribute to Leonard Cohen. She even made the normally silent Rubiconian audience sing Dance Me to the End of Love and Hallelujah.

  • 15 November: The Way Out @ Rvbicón
      An avant-garde quartet from Copenhagen, Denmark featuring TS Høeg (alto saxo), Mads Egetoft (tenor sax), Jonathan Aardestrup (double bass) and Jens Lopes (drums). Free jazz is not my glass of øl as I normally get bored quickly. This was not the case with The Way Out, thanks to their virtuosity, quirky sense of humour and overall brilliance.

  • 16 November: Osaka Monaurail @ El Almacén de Little Bobby, Calle del Sol 20
      Another world-famous band that I never heard (about) before they came to shake Santander (among other places on their European tour). “The kings of Asian funk”, Osaka Monaurail are Ryo Nakata (vocals, dance, keyboards and percussion), Kentaro Yamagata (trumpet), Taihei Awaji (trumpet), Shimon Mukai (tenor sax), Tsuyoshi Ouchi (trombone), Dan Hayami (guitar), Yuichi Ikeda (guitar), Dai Nakamura (bass) and Soki Kimura (drums).

  • 18 November: Freedonia @ Escenario Santander, Avenida de la Constitución 39 (Parque de las Llamas)
      I saw them this August in Bilbao and they were awesome. Now I saw them a bit closer and... they were as, or more, awesome.

  • 19 November: Shanna Waterstown @ El Almacén de Little Bobby
      One more discovery: a blues, soul and funk singer born and raised in Florida, USA, now residing in Paris, France. Shanna Waterstown was accompanied by Jay Gogan (guitar), Gianpaolo Feola (drums) and Jal Hohy (bass). The band played a mix of classics and original themes from Shanna’s new album; alas, this was the last concert of her Spanish tour and the CDs were sold out before the Santander gig. It happened to be the last live music event I had been to before moving south.

Goodbye, Santander. It was fun. I’ll miss the music and Dougall’s beer.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Canteca de Macao: El último trago

A few weeks ago, chatting about Spanish music with one of my students, I mentioned that Chambao announced the plans to play their farewell concert in January 2018. “The same story with Canteco de Macao!”, she exclaimed.

Really? That very evening, I went to check the band’s website only to find this...


Ha llegado el día de daros la noticia. Quizá la más difícil y emotiva que hemos dado nunca. Después de 14 años de aventura, Canteca de Macao se despide como banda. Es la hora de cerrar un ciclo que ha marcado nuestro camino como individuos y como parte de una generación. Se agolpan muchos sentimientos que traduciremos en música durante este año y queremos compartir con vosotros cada segundo siendo conscientes del valor que tiene estar sobre el escenario formando parte de este sueño que ha sido posible gracias al trabajo de mucha gente y, sobre todo, gracias a vosotros. El sentimiento que nos invade es ante todo la nostalgia. Nos vienen miles de recuerdos. Nos miramos a los ojos sabiendo que es el momento de hacerlo y nos fundimos en un abrazo común para desearnos suerte, para consolarnos en cierta forma, para saborear todo lo que ha significado para nosotros esta banda que ha sido nuestra vida misma. Es la hora del cierre y de brindar con el último trago. A lo largo de todo este tiempo, hemos visto cómo nos colábamos en la banda sonora de vuestras vidas, os hemos visto crecer con nosotros y hemos recibido vuestro calor y vuestro cariño. Por eso os invitamos a brindar con el último trago en la única y gran fiesta de despedida que tendrá lugar el ..... de Noviembre de 2017. Un concierto único y a lo bestia en todos los sentidos, donde los sentimientos estarán a flor de piel y que significará el cierre de una etapa que llevaremos siempre en el recuerdo y en nuestro código genético.

Salud, compañeros. Ha sido el mayor de los placeres. Desde lo más profundo de nuestro corazón:


Although their 2015 album, Lugares comunes, already sounded like a farewell, I couldn’t quite believe what I just read. I first saw the band five years ago in Fuerteventura and was hoping to see them again ever since... And here was my (and anyone else’s) last chance. Still incredulous, I went to Ticketea and, without much thinking, bought a ticket for the last ever concert of Canteca de Macao, to take place on 11 November 2017 in Palacio de Vistalegre, Madrid. Next day, I read on the band’s Facebook page that the concert was sold out.

Madriz!!! Until now, I’ve never been to Madrid. By some reason, I avoid places which are far away from the sea, but this time I had no choice. Believe it or not, the cheapest (as well as the fastest) way to visit Madrid that weekend was to fly with Iberia. Crazy but true: one-way ticket from Santander to Madrid costs more than return ticket. Madrid was a pleasant discovery for me. A big city, however quite negotiable by public transport and with easy-to-get-around (by foot) centre.

As farewell concerts — I never been to one until now — go... this one could have been organised better. The never-mentioned-before teloneros (support band) played some nondescript Anglophone pop for three-quarters of an hour. I wonder who invited them. What surprised me the most was the enthusiastic singing-along by many Canteca “fans”. I wish people didn’t smoke joints in a closed space. I wish the security (the very same security who checked my bag and didn’t allow anyone to bring bottled water etc. inside) could do something, anything, when a brawl involving some drunkards erupted. I wish all of them were banned from the future Canteca concerts. Oh, wait.

Just before the show, I decided to take a photo featuring Harold the hedgehog (not shown here).
“Is this a hedgehog?”, enquired one young concert-goer.
Yes, I confirmed (the obvious).
“Do you always take him with you?”, she went on.
No, I said, but we always go to Canteca de Macao concerts together.
“Enjoy”, she said, apparently satisfied with my answer.

CdM played non-stop for some two and half hours. As much as I wish they didn’t disband, I applaud their decision to sing their swan song now, at the top of their powers. Sure, it was sad, but in the same time happy and funny and full of positivity; also, of confetti and balloons. This is how CdM wanted to be remembered. I am glad I made it there. I wish you were there too.

Somos la vida que viene, somos la vida que pasa, somos la lumbre que queda y que la llama lo mantenga...

So long, Canteca. It was a honour.