Sunday, 31 December 2017

WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

This year, WOMAD came (back) to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It took place in Parque de Santa Catalina, 10—12 November. Exactly when I wasn’t there. Well, I can’t be everywhere. It must have been great.

Fortunately, on 3 December RTVE aired a two-hour program with highlights of the event. The video will be available until 3 May 2018.

Participants (in order of appearance)

  • Papaya (Canarias)
  • 101 Brass Band (Tenerife)
  • Tu Otra Bonita (Madrid)
  • Miroca Paris (Cape Verde)
  • Orkesta Mendoza (Tucson, Arizona)
  • Beating Heart (London, UK)
  • Horace Andy (Jamaica)
  • Profecía Crew (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
  • Kuarembó (Canarias)
  • Hindi Zahra (Morocco)
  • Niño de Elche (Spain)
  • Bombino (Niger)
  • La Dame Blanche (Cuba)
  • The Brand New Heavies (London, UK)

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Perfect Strangers and Link Floyd live

Deep Purple or Pink Floyd? When I were a lad, this question would really upset me: I grew up with these bands. Thankfully, this time around I didn’t have to choose between the two, thanks to our own Canarian tribute acts, Perfect Strangers and Link Floyd, playing their end-of-the-year concerts in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Timur, I and Harold attended both shows. In fact, we would never came to the second gig (Link Floyd at Teatro Guiniguada) if Emilio Sánchez, the vocalist of Perfect Strangers, hadn’t told us about it during their show in CICCA! That’s advertising Canarian-style for you.

Perfect Strangers played the vintage DP, with all the major Mark II and III hits: Child in Time, Speed King, Highway Star, Lazy, Woman from Tokyo, Mistreated, Soldier of Fortune, Knocking at Your Back Door, not to mention the very Perfect Strangers and that obligatory one about some stupid with a flare gun... There were surprises too, very much in Purple spirit, such as the Stormbringer quote within Burn, the Mark I first hit Hush, and one hell (or high water) of a drum solo in Space Truckin’.

Perfect Strangers

    Dave O’Connor: guitar
    Mathias Klatte: keyboards
    Javier Negrín: drums
    Emilio Sánchez: vocals
    Aaron Santana: bass

One week later, Link Floyd took us on an epic journey from Astronomy Domine and Echoes to (and through) The Wall. Man they can do it: like the entire darker second side of The Dark Side of the Moon, Pigs, Dogs... and the first five songs of The Wall plus Run Like Hell for an encore, how’s that? The band were so superbly faithful to the original that at times I wished they were, um, not and improvised more, or played the guitar solo on the sax or vice versa, or something. Anyway, it was magnificent. (Also, the sound at Guiniguada was much better than that at CICCA.) How I wish you were here.

Link Floyd

    Besay Brehcist: lead guitar, vocals
    Sergio Casquero: guitar, vocals
    Javier Guerra: bass
    Fran Navarro: drums
    Rafael Santana: keyboards
    Kenneth Suárez: guitars, keyboards, vocals

    Ángel Fernández Bordón: saxophones
    Patty Brichis: backing vocals
    Virna Ceballos: backing vocals
    Violeta Millares: backing vocals

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


a film by Anahí Berneri

Alanis is a story of a few days from life of María aka Alanis (Sofía Gala), a single mother and a prostitute. A story refreshingly told without glamourising her profession or portraying her as a victim or judging her. I’m sure, it’s deemed to be labelled “controversial” — society is more at ease with women cleaning toilets than being sex workers. María is neither looking for a prince charming nor going to “change her ways”. Magnificent work; shame that you most likely won’t see it.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Cuentos de Odesa

by Isaac Babel
translated by Marta Sánchez-Nieves
illustrated by Iratxe López de Munáin

In spite, or maybe precisely thanks to, his famous surname, Isaac Babel (1894—1940) remains little known in the West. This slim volume, published in 2014, introduces to Spanish readers the first four of Babel’s Tales of Odessa (Одесские рассказы), viz. El rey (Король), Qué sucedió en Odesa (Как это делалось в Одессе), El padre (Отец) and Liubka la Cosaca (Любка Казак), lovingly retold by Marta Sánchez-Nieves and accompanied by some wonderful illustrations by Iratxe López de Munáin. Great work Ediciones Nevsky — I hope the rest of Cuentos follow suit soon!

Los maleantes se miraban, y solo Benia parecía no darse cuenta y estaba desconsolado.
— Me están estropeando la fiesta — gritaba realmente desesperado —, queridos, por favor os lo pido, comed, bebed...
Pero en ese instante apareció en el patio el mismo joven que había venido al empezar la tarde.
— Rey — dijo —, tengo que decirle un par de palabras...
— Bueno, pues dilas — respondió el Rey —, tú siempre tienes un par de palabras de reserva...
— Rey — dijo el joven desconocido, y empezó a soltar risitas —, es que es muy divertido, el cuartel de policía está ardiendo como una vela...
Los comerciantes enmudecieron, los maleantes sonrieron. La sexagenaria Manka, la fundadora de los bandidos de arrabal, se llevó dos dedos a la boca y lanzó un silbido tan estridente que sus vecinos se echaron a un lado.
— Mania, no está en el trabajo — le advertió Benia —, más sangre fría, Mania...
Налетчики переглянулись тогда друг с другом. И только Беня, ничего не замечавший, был безутешен.
— Мине нарушают праздник, — кричал он, полный отчаяния, — дорогие, прошу вас, закусывайте и выпивайте...
Но в это время во дворе появился тот самый молодой человек, который приходил в начале вечера.
— Король, — сказал он, — я имею вам сказать пару слов...
— Ну, говори, — ответил Король, — ты всегда имеешь в запасе пару слов...
— Король, - произнес неизвестный молодой человек и захихикал, — это прямо смешно, участок горит, как свечка...
Лавочники онемели. Налетчики усмехнулись. Шестидесятилетняя Манька, родоначальница слободских бандитов, вложив два пальца в рот, свистнула так пронзительно, что ее соседи покачнулись.
— Маня, вы не на работе, — заметил ей Беня, — холоднокровней, Маня...

Monday, 18 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

a film by Rian Johnson

Yesterday, Timur and I went to see The Last Jedi (all of them) in Monopol, which is the only place here that offers it in VOSE. Episode VIII is the second Star Wars movie that I’ve ever watched on a big screen, the first one being rather dismal Revenge of the Sith that Yuri and I saw some 12 years ago.

If a real Star Wars fan you are, love hate never forget it you will. It’s probably the best worst most Starry Warry movie this Millennium Falcon (well, I The Force Awakens see didn’t). I myself quite enjoyed it. My main issue with this film is the lack of proper baddies. I mean, Supreme Leader, played by Gollum, is some kind of Snoke joke, and Kylo Ren is simply not bad enough — give us at least a GygaRen! I liked DJ (well done Benicio del Toro) but he’s not a real villain either. Also, I tend to agree with Natasha Lomas that it would be the best to finish the Star Wars saga right here. Instead, next Christmas endure Han-less, Luke-less and most likely Leia-less Episode IX we must.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Postcards from Porvoo

If you happen to find yourself in Porvoo, wondering where to look for something quintessentially Porvoonian that won’t break your bank, especially now, in run-up to Christmas... Stop messing around, it’s time to shop for some of Minna Lehväslaiho’s naïve art!

You can find her shop/studio bang in the centre of old Porvoo, at Jokikatu 53, overlooking the river. You’ll love it, I promise. The postcards are from €2.00 (totally worth it), but if you want to spend more, have a closer look at the original paintings.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Mariza in Las Palmas

To mark the 20th anniversary of its opening, the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus hosts a series of cool concerts includng that of Mariza. Luckily, this one was not sold out weeks in advance (as it was the case with Ara Malikian).

It was a great show. Mariza sang a few “fado fado” songs and quite a lot of non-fado material. And if anyone was annoyed with that, they didn’t show it. The auditorio was (almost, but not completely) full and the public were behaving themselves. Mariza can hold that looong pause... and all these pauses the audience went totally silent. They were so uncharacteristically quiet that Mariza at first had a problem making them sing Rosa Branca (in Portuguese, naturally). In the end, after a five or six minute-rehearsal, she succeeded.

Quem tem, quem tem
Amor a seu jeito
Colha a rosa branca,
Ponha a rosa ao peito
Mariza may be a fado superstar but she also was super charming, chatting away in her portuñol, giving a lot of credit and a lot of space to her band. During the encore, she walked down to the stalls, shook hands with all of the audience she could reach and thanked them for coming. (She did not come up to the balcony where I was sitting though.)

What with this being a part of Mariza’s Mundo tour, I was expecting her CDs on sale but no. Even if she hates signing her albums, people still would buy them. A missed opportunity, I say.

    Mariza: vocals
    José Manuel Neto: Portuguese guitar
    Pedro Jóia: Spanish guitar
    Fernando Araújo: bass guitar
    Hugo Marques: drums, percussion

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Guardians of the Louvre

by Jiro Taniguchi

千年の翼、百年の夢, literally “A thousand-year wings, a hundred-year dream”, known in the West as Guardians of the Louvre, was the last manga series created by Jiro Taniguchi (1947—2017). Last year, it appeared in the Comic-Con’s panel of The Best and Worst Manga of 2016 on the list of “Worst Manga for Anyone, Any Age”. Naturally, I was intrigued. Why did they hated it so much? I’m sure that evern the worst manga by Taniguchi cannot qualify for this ambitious title.

In fact, I quite liked it. I prefer Taniguchi’s line drawing but in this case the use of colour is totally justified. Guardians of the Louvre may be not as moving as A Zoo in Winter or A Distant Neighborhood but the drawing is exquisite and I learned a thing or two about that famous museum where I’ve never been.

The English-language version still has to be read back to front, right to left and then up to down.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

31 to Inktober

by Timur Kulikov

This year, Timur took part in the Inktober challenge and duly delivered 31 drawings. All of them could be found on his blog; here I post my five or six favourites.