Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ribadesella 21st Jazz Festival

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This weekend has seen the arrival in town of the 21st Ribadesella Jazz Festival, an event not to be missed if you like free outdoor concerts with a great atmosphere and great music. Each year if we are here, we usually pop along to the concerts which span three consecutive nights. The concerts take place in one of the main squares in town and are well attended by all age groups. They start at 11pm through to 12.30am or there abouts depending on how many encores they are called back for.

Friday night saw the blues band Red House take to the stage. The crowd was really got into the mood of the evening and young and old alike were dancing in the aisles and enjoying the strong guitar riffs and husky blues voice of the lead vocalist.

Saturday night was the concert I was most looking forward to: The Black Light Gospel Choir. Each year they usually have a gospel choir on the bill and it usually proves to be the most popular. Saturday's performance was no exception with their high energy performances, brilliant vocals and superb musical arrangements of some rock classics such as Stairway to Heaven, Ain't No Stopping Us Now and Hallelujah.

Sunday night's concert will be Skytrain who are billed as being a jazz fusion band - if the energy levels allow we'll pop along and see what they are like but from previous year's experiences of jazz fusion it is not really my cup of tea but we'll see....

Town is buzzing at the moment with the holiday season well and truly on its way. Although it's great to see so many visitors, it is also great when at the end of August, things start to quieten and the peace and tranquillity returns to the streets, beaches and mountain walks. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Portraits in Mosaic

Luis has just returned to Asturias from a two week mosaic course in Belgium and from visiting fellow mosaicists in both Belgium and Holland. Needless to say he has had a brilliant and very productive time. The piece he chose to work on in Belgium under the tutelage of Mireille Swinnen at was based on an ageing Pierrot clown - a portrait in tessarae using a direct method in a painterly style. I was really pleased with his choice as for those of you who don't know I was once a keyboard player for a band called My Pierrot Dolls in the early 1980s (who incidentally are still playing gigs in and around Yorkshire in the UK - check them out if you get a chance). Despite a very active social programme, with Mireille's guidance he managed to complete the portrait with only the framing and mounting left to do.

Whilst in Belgium he shared some studio time with Jeannot Leenen a really talented mosaicist who you may remember created a portrait of one of our cats, Wentworth. Jeannot has very kindly now completed a second portrait, this time of Gawber so we will be able to display them in their full glory together: The Asturian Prince and The Asturian Hunter.

Luis ended his mosaic adventure in Holland and spent a few days with another great mosaicist Conny Van Der Wende who owns and runs  Tiles and Tools . Now back and filled with renewed energies, new techniques and numerous ideas, I am looking forward to his new projects... Watch this space.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

In the heat of the midday sun at La Pasera

Continuing our time specific theme for Summer it struck me the other day how life changes with the weather. Here at  La Pasera it has been very warm and muggy for the past few days with little relief from the persistent heat and overwhelming warm humid air. Unlike the rest of Spain and Europe it seems, where constant sunshine has been the order of the day, we have had short bouts of strong sunshine followed by low overcast skies which have felt equally oppressive. Not only has it had an effect on us, it has changed the entire dynamics of life in the garden.

Wentworth and Gawber are to be found in deep shade either in amongst the thick carpet of honesty and crocosmia, too drained by the heat to contemplate chasing a bathing Jay or Finch. The blackbirds scavenge dangerously close to the snoozing cats who from time to time open an eyelid when a scurrying lizard whisks by.

The birds roost in the bushes with an occasional sortie for food or water. The insects come out in force making the most of the wide and inviting flowers and nectar within. The ants march onwards in their regimented manner to their cool underground tunnels and the spiders await their pray, ready to pounce and wrap, saving the bounty for a later feast.

The lizards take advantage of the warm limestone rockery and with their flattened abdomens, soak up the heat...Whilst the grasshopper takes shade in the cavity of a Calla Lily.

The plants throughout the garden wilt, especially the young broccoli and pepper plants. The ruby red-veined leaves of the beetroot almost touch the earth and the onions leaves begin to turn golden yellow and become brittle. The harvest continues with large juicy blackberries, ruby Swiss chard and sweet, sweet beetroot whilst freshly harvested Lemon Verbena perfumes the air as it is strung up to dry.

As for the humans at La Pasera in the heat of the midday sun? Inside a cooled house or workshop, enjoying the chores of the day and taking time to enjoy the heat of the midday sun. Learning from the cats that it is best enjoyed... from a distance.