As I write it is today the ‘Dia de Andalucia’, not a big event in the wider world but, here in Southern Spain one of the biggest holidays of the year….it is, therefore, doubly sad that on this of all days we have to announce the untimely death of one of Andalucia’s and indeed Spains greatest musical icons, PACO DE LUCIA, who died of a heart attack on 26th February near his home in Mexico. It would be hard to overemphasise the influence Paco had on a whole generation of guitarists, in whatever field. Born in Algecieras of mixed Portuguese/Gitano parentage, Paco rose to prominence at a young age, taking his stage name from his mother, Lucia, and subsequently performing to incredulous audiences the world over. Anyone who has ever picked up a guitar with the intention of learning this complex instrument will either have been truly inspired by this virtuoso musician or else, perhaps, put the instrument away never to see the light of day! Whoever might be your own personal heros of guitar playing, whether Hendrix, Clapton or John Renbourne, no one of them could do with a 6 stringed instrument quite what Paco was able to conjure from it with his truly magical fingers. Undoubtedly, Spain and the world of music have lost an icon.
RIP PACO DE LUCIA 1948-2014
Alvaro Fdez. Gaviria from San Sebastian yesterday presented his latest project in collaboration with the actress Esther Esparza, with whom he has collaborated on various artistic projects. The Album is entitled simply ‘Blues’, it has been compiled and produced by Alvaro himself and its twelve tracks, composed between 1920 and 1950, explore the basic elements of Afro American music through the medium of acoustic guitar and harmonica.
The composer, who formed the band Blue Stop in 1989 and is today a member of the bands Stay Blues, Biblues and Reform, covered themes arranged by such well known blues artists as Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy and Jimmy Reed, as well as some of his own compositions. The set ranged from the most traditional type of blues, through country to ragtime and boogie.
Acoustic guitar and Harmonica…
Alvaro, who has many years experience in the music industry, relies mainly on his acoustic guitar to create his music. ” The guitar performs the functions of a band, while the harmonica, along with the vocals, fill the solo parts, although I sing very badly”, the artist joked. He stresses the need for ‘doing it all yourself’, given the critical situation of the music industry at present.
With the group Stay Blues, Alvaro has participated in the Festival of San Sebastian on various occasions, as well as in the Blues Festival of Tolosa and the Jazz Festival of Vitoria. ” I have entered this album in the competition for the selection of local artists to take part in Jazzaldia, and it has just been accepted”, and the artist declared himself delighted to have been chosen and to be able to participate in the event.
Amongst his compositions are works performed by the string orchestra Et Incarnatus, as well as pieces for the Alos Quartet. He has also composed the soundtracks for many films and documentaries and is thinking of releasing them all on his next album.
Alvaro will be playing on Sunday 24th of January at the San Sebastian Restaurant, El Botanica, and on the 5th of February at the Instituto Cervantes in Gibraltar.
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Regular listeners to iTalk and particularly to Maselenco Mike’s daily current affairs roundup will be aware that iTalk went off the airwaves back in September for a variety of complex legal reasons with which I will not bore you……however, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, iTalk will return and soon……chief exec Maurice Boland this week announced that iTalk will resume shortly, fully legal (if possible in Spain) and broadcasting on the FM network and online, from a new studio in Puerto Banus…..for further details on times and programmes watch this space or log onto the iTalk website.
In a related radio story, MasElenco this week announced the production of a series of music podcasts, to be posted on this site in the new year and aimed at both the British and US markets – these programmes (1 hour in length ) will be produced and presented by Maselenco’s Mike Scott and former iTalk host, Laura Jackson…..once again, for further information watch this space.
As usual 2013 saw the passing of a number of music legends, but here we will refer to just two. In October my cousin and dear friend Noel Harrison passed away at his home in Ashburton, Devon. Not exactly a household name for today’s generation, back in the 1960s Noel was rarely off the TV or out of the charts; while completing his National Service in the late 1950s he was selected to represent Britain in the Olympic ski team before opting for a musical and thespian career – he first came to the attention of the British public with his tri-weekly appearances on the ‘Tonight Show’ – an early evening magazine show presented by Cliff Mitchelmore (like a 1950s version of the One Show!!) on which he sang topical calypsos either solo or with his then onscreen partner, Cy Grant, before eventually leaving these shores (the UK) for fame and fortune in the US. There he starred in a number of top-rated American TV shows, including the iconic ‘Girl from U.N.C.L.E.’ series with Stephanie Powers as well as finding time to record one of the best selling songs of the 20th century, the title song from the original movie ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, – ‘The Windmills of your Mind’ which won the Oscar for best song in the year the film was released. Sometime after this , tired of some of the excesses of Hollywood he reduced his TV commitments and moved to Nova Scotia where he lived for the next 10 years, largely avoiding the public eye. It is certainly true that Noel lived his life somewhat in the shadow of his more famous father, Britain’s first, fully fledged Hollywood film star, Sir Rex Harrison (MyFair Lady, Cleopatra etc) but it was a burden he carried lightly as he did with all the problems he faced in his life, none more than during his final illness; he will be sorely missed by all his many admirers, friends, family and by no one more than myself….au revoir, Noel.
Following The sad death of NOEL HARRISON some months ago (see obit. Above) it is with great pleasure that we can announce the emergence of a new generation of talent from the same family. It is hard to emphasise enough the shear pedigree of WILL HARRISON, son of Noel, an established actor and musician for more than 50 years and grandson of SIR REX HARRISON, best known for his performances on Broadway, in the West End and in one of the last century’s most successful musicals, MY FAIR LADY – certainly and without doubt Britain’s first, bona fide Hollywood star. Will was brought up in California and comes with the blonde good looks of the typical ‘surfer dude’ – however he is a serious artist who has been writing and performing for many years and who recently, prior to the death of his father, relocated to the West of England; it was here, last year, in the West country city of Exeter, that Will met up with his current partner, Kat and they are now both a musical and romantic partnership, writing and performing together all over southern England. They are hoping to export their brand of music to the continent, with gigs set up in the South of France during the coming summer and we at MasElenco look forward to seeing them perform down here in southern Spain when they can find a window in their busy schedule to visit us.
Listen to music by WILL & KAT on both our Soundcloud and YouTube sites, including some of the last music recorded by Will’s father the late and greatly missed Noel.
Lou Reed, born and brought up in New York and New Jersey, was, undoubtedly one of the most iconic musicians and songwriters of the 20th century; perhaps strangely, his reputation rested on the success of just 2 albums, although he made several, some, particularly the classic ‘Berlin’ moderately successful. The first was, of course, the iconic and hugely influential (and I do not exaggerate..) ‘Velvet Underground & Nico’ produced by Andy Warhol and released in 1967…..it is hard today to overstate the influence this album had on my own and subsequent generations…..Brian Eno famously stated that this album sold “only 30,000 copies but everyone who bought one formed a band, many of which went onto international success” (well, I certainly bought a copy when it came out….what happened?….). The second album with which Reed enjoyed international success was ‘Transformer’ produced by David Bowie and released in 1972….this album contained the hugely popular ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and ‘Perfect Day’ both of which entered the hit parade on both sides of the Atlantic – however, Reed was always somewhat ambivalent about this record, perhaps considering it too ‘mainstream’ and too ‘pop’; He was a famously private man, not to say grumpy and with a fearsome reputation amongst music journalists when it came to interviews, but he continued to make music upto the end – the first Velvet Underground album was so different from anything else available at that time and certainly presaged by at least 10 years both the Punk & Grunge movements…..Lou Reed passed away last month in New York from liver failure. Immediately following his death, the BBC were not slow to come up with the usual eulogies due a ‘rock God’ and played (certainly on R.2 & 6music) almost every song he had ever written……except one…….this was actually one of Reed’s finest works, a paeon to the opiate drug, Heroin and the song went out under that short but controversial title – the BBC might not want to play it but listen to it here on MasElenco – the music site that reaches the places other media can only dream about.
The Marbella company Costa Free formed by MasElenco director Elendil Diez nearly 30 years ago continues to prosper – encompassing recording studios (2), video editing suites, equipment and stage rental and more, it is certainly one of the most dynamic companies on the coast…..want to have a look around then just click on the video…….
Allioli OktoberBierfest 2013 5th year Started in 2009.
Estacion Jimera de Libar is a small station area part of the Municipality of JimeRa de Libar. The town hall stresses the R in the name to avoid confusion w th Jimena. The total population is approx 450 of which many are senior citizens, the youngsters having left to seek work. The station barrio lies close to the Guadiaro river which flows all year and thus is an attraction especially during the summer months. The surrounding area is mountainous and thus attracts many people who enjoy nature, walking and biking.
Bar Allioli is a small local bar situated in Plaza San Roque opposite the train station. Run since 2008 by Paul Darwent from UK and Synnove his wife who comes from Denmark. The trade for the bar is mainly Spanish with a smattering of foreigners, mainly walkers and such. Paul started organising festivals in 2009 and now holds three main events each year. Before Xmas a day time party with live music and a visit from Santa Claus, in June there is the Mini Woodstock of the Guadiaro Valley, but the big event that gets everyone talking is the OktoberBierFest.
This year it will be held on Saturday 12th October. On the Friday night there will be music from Chicago Jim Trio. Soul, folk, and a Celtic twist.
Before the music Paul has organised a Beer tasting. 10€ per person with 8 different beers to taste. Saturday the festival kicks off at 1pm when the train from Algeciras arrives. Music is planned all day until 10pm. Coming from Scotland Folk Duo The Mad Ferret Band will be opening the show. www.themadferretband.com Local Indie rock group Los Mauros follow. Alud is a Spanish group from La Linea who play popular Spanish pop then some good thumping Rock from Equis. Finishing off the evening there is Rock n Roll from Memphis Trio. Around 10pm the music will take a break until 11.30 when Carmen Libelula will close the night with Soul music and a final session of Latin Salsa. Bar El Fuente from Cortes de la Frontera will have a food stall with lots of choice. Bar Allioli will be running the bar and there will be at least 5 draught beers. Two of them from Kettal brewery in Los Barrios. On top of this there will be more than 30 different bottled beers available. Bar Allioli specialises in international beers and in the bar is a small museum with a collection of 300 bottled beers. It always has a big selection available.
On the Sunday following there will be a Hangover Party with music from Marcus Myers.
Further details from Allioli@usa.net or 671501054