Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category
El Medano Barquera Floats Everyones Boats

Waves of people poured downhill towards the sea with the statue of the Virgen de Las Mercedes de Roja held aloft. Cascades of drums, pipes, and guitars formed a musical undertow and barbecues sizzled with a meaty aroma that required beer and wine to soothe its digestion.

El Medano on the Granadilla coast of Tenerife savours its fishing founders whilst thanking nature for its continuing bounty. The precarious balance of nature meant the 2022 fiesta was put back a week as incoming storms licked at the Canary Islands The extra week allowed fine tuning on the 45 home made boats based on shopping trolleys and small trucks. White costumes dominated the days fashion, hats were welcome in the searing heat but dancing feet made light work of pavements and eventually the fine sand of Playa Grande.

Some held back to dance in the main plaza overlooking the sea, but a large invasion from the 15,000 or so revellers took the show to the gently sweeping waves. Guests like the Fanfarria band from La Orotava in the north, matched the music of the ocean. One of the biggest fishing boats was loaded with the statue of the virgen for the best seat in the house to watch the day flow on.

Tourists flying over to the nearby sourh airport would have been staggered if they could see the swirling mass of people below. Fishing is a tough way of life but this outpouring of joy and pride is generously shared with the wider community. The lines are already being baited for next years flotilla of home made boats.

 

Arona Day Of Traditions Returns To A Cautious Present

Hermano Pedro (the Canary Islands only saint) rested on his crook outside the Arona Town Hall,home of the Ayuntamiento (council) as stalls and memories of a proud agricultural past started to fill the back streets. It was three years on from the last Dia de Tradiciones as I stepped off the first of the free buses from Tenerife´s southern tourist resorts of Playa de Las Americas and Los Cristianos.

Wine, cigars, beer, and home made wool and textile products vied for attention on the sparse mix of stalls. There were only 12 people on my free bus, it was going to be a tough sell in the back streets. The centre of attention was the plaza del Santisimo Cristo de La Salud and around the church. Musicians tuned up and animals stirred in readiness to deliver that cute factor. It wasn´t just crafts and animals that caught the eye, a vintage local police car looked dainty and a large Ford Thames Transit lorry, made in Dagenham, added to the mechanical history.

The Casa de la Bodega looked majestic  on the rise above the town, and the wine press was a reminder of the outstanding reputation of local wines. A practical demonstration of Silbo, the whistling language still used on the neighbouring island of La Gomera, was dramatic and impressive. Regular live music through the day until late into the evening seemed certain to help build the crowds, but my visit was only to be a brief one.

It was great to see the event back but sad to see such a low early turnout. The Plaza de la Paz at the bus drop off point had been a big display area at previous shows but was empty this time. Pre publicity for the event was too late and too limited. Arona town promotes its history all year round with posters of former times and key figures on murals. A group of modern performers seemed to step out of the sepia wall print down by the bus stops. The Casa de la Bodega doubles up as a free exhibition centre and is open weekdays. It´s well worth a trip up to look at the heart of Arona, many keen walkers have alredy discovered its secrets on route to the magnificent Roque del Conde mountain that towers over the town.

 

Los Cristianos Ready For Virgen Del Carmen Celebrations

After three years starved of the Arona Carnaval, Virgen del Carmen is making a bigger show than ever of the celebration of the patrona of the local fishing community. Some new elements have been added and some tweaks to ensure a bigger splash than ever.

The main action takes place on the big stage outside the cultural centre,including food stalls and a mini fair, but the fishermens port will be ablaze with colour as they decorate their boats and take the statue of the virgen on a trip out to sea.

Thurs 1 September – FRom 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm the childrens festival takes place at the Plaza del Pescadora (by the statue of the fisherwoman). Then from 10 pm to midnight, Edwin Rivera will give a free concert at the big stage.

Fri 2 September – From 8 pm to 1 am, the White Party is a new addition to the agenda and takes place outside the Casa del Mar – the old town side of the tunnel between the beaches. Wear white to join in the fun and music. Meanwhile from 8.30 pm to 10.30 there is a concert from Las Cantadores at the main stage, followed by the Big Dance from 11 pm to 4 am.

Sat 3 September – From10 am to 1 pm, there is a display of classic and vintage cars near the old beach. From Noon to 8 pm, the Sombrero Fiesta takes centre stage at the Plaza La Alpispa – just off the old beach by the white house. Music, and crazy hat designs worn with pride.

Sun 4 September – From 10 am to 2 pm there´s more fun for the children with games and activities at the old beach. From 7 pm the statue of the Virgen will be taken out of the church and paraded down to the fishermens port with musical support from the municipal band of Arona. The Virgen is the spiritual inspiration and patrona of the local community, a small concrete shrine at the old beach is a scale model of a life size statue that is at the bottom of the bay so it can bless the fishing boats as they pass overhead.

 

From midnight to 1 am, firworks will rip through the sky, this is often bigger than the New Year display and lights up the old beach. Music and dancing will continue into the early hours.

 

 

Art By The Tin Full In Tenerife

Andy Warhol may well have given a laid back thumbs up to El Tanque art and music exhibition space in Tenerife capital Santa Cruz. The America icon of the 70´s. A tram ride up to La Laguna and a 50 year retrospective of pop art linked two shows of artistic expression, both free to view, and right on my wavelength.

You can bank on Caja Canarias Fundacion to put on some interesting displays at their cultural space near Plaza del Adelantado in the university town. This Is Pop spotlights 50 years of pop art and music, featuring 60 works that changed peoples perceptions and made art more relevant to the masses.

Damien Hurst, Banksy, and even The Beatles tapped into this well of free expression, all the works are presented in spanish but GR codes open a choice of English commentary. Paintings, videos, and music all benefitted from the pop revolution. UK and America led the way but Spain also picked up on the new media, this is shown via youth magazines that explored day to day themes in cartoon form. Two floors are dedicated to the exhibition. To unlock these key times in modern culture, the free exhibition runs to 30 June from 10 am to 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm to 8 pm weekdays, 10.30 am to 1.30 pm Saturdays, and closed Sundays.

Back down in Santa Cruz, it was a n appropriate time for me to renew my acquaintance with El Tanque, the former fuel storage tank that was first conveted to a venue in 1997. By chance, the nearby huge Cepsa refinery was just begining a long decomission and clean up process. A much smaller operation had just updated El Tanque using banana plants to soften the visual impact of the tank, and a new cafe will be added soon.

The current exhibition was called Uncertainty, by four local young architects. The high roof, subdued lighting, and display of proposals and ideas about how we can live together made an interesting comparison of how we make choices. The first time I called in many years ago, a large suspended J Arthur Rank type gong featured in a spotlight with a large fluffy cod ball drunstick to whack it with – that was suitable weird and satisfying for my tastes.

The acoustics get a fuller workout each year with the annual Keroxen music festival as a selection of bands send their musical offerings on a wall of death ride around the skin of El Tanque. Opening hours for this unusual and innovative venue are 5 pm to 8 pm weekdays and 11 am to 2 pm on Saturdays.

 

Breaching The Adeje Fortress Of Industry, Commerce, And Culture

Panting up hill from Adeje town centre has tweaked many hikers muscles ready for the plunge into Barranco del Invierno, one of the most trodden walks in Tenerife. The sturdy canon outside the battle weary walls of Casa Fuerte may have hinted at the strategic value of the “strong house” but now a full appreciation of this 500 year old home and fortress is open to visitors. A new Sunday initiative of an artesans market was in full swing with music and crafts on my visit.

Where pirates failed to destroy the Casa Fuerte, fire had more success in 1902, but on this clear morning the missing sections of roof showcased natures ingredients that had inspired the original sugar refinery on the same site. This sweet production process was the biggest of its kind in Tenerife.

The proud white tower of the country house still looks lout over the 7,200 square metres of courtyards, gardens, servant quarters, and industrial and agricultural work spaces. Boilers and other production stock gleamed as hand held tools clinged to walls. I felt a swell of pride to see that some items were made in England. Wooden barrels, now empty, would have lubricated many a social gathering. Wine, art, and needlework were among the many items for sale in the market area, harking back to the days when this was the social centre of Adeje.

Casa Fuerte is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1 pm, and the artesans market is expected to become a monthly treat. The website will keep you up with further developments.Views down to the coast show a very changed landscape, vut the fortress is regaining its modern relevance at the same time as shining a light on the past.

Waves Of Colour Transform Los Abrigos Harbour Wall

Fish restaurants on the sloping crescent of Los Abrigos now have an even better view for customers to feast on.Michael Diaz and Natalia Real have been adding  images of noted local figures to a 395  square  metre concrete canvas that extends its protective arm around the secluded bay on the Granadilla coast of Tenerife.

Four months on and the work is nearing completion as friendly faces from the fishing community share their stage with the reassuring prescence of the Virfen del Carmen, the patron of the fishermen. It´s not just people immortalised in paint, the ginger cat that pads the promenade looks like the cats whiskers on the big screen.

The framework of the mural was outlined first like a giant jugsaw before colour and details were added. Michel and Natalia are experienced with such large projects and favour artists brushes rather than sprays. Old school rules with mixing performed on a hand held palate, and a paint spotted gladstone bag that keeps the creative mixtures ready to apply.

It´s a tough call to reflect the charms of the port and shine up a natural jewel like Los Abrigos but the couple have achirved it with a sprinkling of humour and lots of pride. Now the fine flavours of the restaurants opposite are complimented by the respectful insight into tradition.

 

Geisha And Samurai – The Art Of Japan, Holds Court In Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Seemingly totally opposed aspects of Japanese culture, but this exhibition at the Caja Canarias Cultural Foundation in Santa Cruz showed many similarities between the subservient Geisha and the warrior Samurai. Both require a tight discipline, dedication to detail, and a flair of expression. Some 200 exhibits showed how both lifestyles had paid such a big part in the history and development of Japan.

From the spiritual through theatre, flowers, and mystic icons like Mount Fuji, sketches, documents, and paintings explored the growing process of people and country over centuries. Textiles, like the fine fabrics for kimonos, and hand carved ornate fans showed the amount of preparation behind everyday life. Split over two floors of the building, the exhibits grew in size and stature as I toured the rooms as gentle oriental music played in the background.

Geisha tradition has a strong sexual element, a warning sign made that clear before visiting the section of explicit drawings explaining the Geisha role in society. The costumes are the big showpiece stars and appear in the later sections. The delicate, flowing nature of the Geisha costumes contrasted well with the robust fighting armour of the Samurai. I was surprised to see how intricate the Samurai robes were, but their lances and other combat weapons looked suitable savage.

The exhibition is on at the Espacio Cultural of Caja Canarias in Plaza del Patriotismo, about 5 minutes up from the port area, until 24 July 2021. Opening times are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1.30 pm, and 5.30 pm to 8 pm. Saturdays times are from 10 am to 1 .30 pm only, and closed Sundays and fiesta days. Entry is FREE on Mondays, and 5 euros all other times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Blooms Sweep Through Santa Cruz For Day Of The Crosses

How nice when old friends turn up for a special birthday. Santa Cruz welcomed back the flower crosses for the 527 th anniversary of the founding of the Tenerife capital. La Rambla missed the colourful event in 2020 due to Covid restrictions but 16 crosses took pride of place to raise the tradition back to its former heights.

I arrived early from Los Cristianos on the Monday morning, swapping the Titsa bus for the tram. Getting off at La Paz, I could see the display had extended across into Avenida La Asuncion to the left, and a family were still adding fine touches to their entry. Dia de la Cruz (Day of the Cross) is always popular but bigger gaps this year allowed more freedom of movement and a chance to appreciate the blooms from all angles. La Rambla is the perfect host with its wide pedestrianised walkway through the heart of the city.

Many of the local groups that had created the works of art, had ties with the health sector, very appropriate after their sterling efforts to keep us all healthy. As it was a public holiday in Santa Cruz, many families enjoyed a stroll under the shade of the spreading Indian Laurel trees, thes all year round  inhabitants and the dazzling violet blooms mixing in made it a natural green house of beauty.

The mood is infectious, several surrounding homes had added small crosses on their balconies, and I noticed an old peoples home was having an outside tea party in their grounds, based around a small home grown cross with a guitar playing singer adding a gentle vibe to the big day. La Rambla is a treasure trove of historical interest, the old abandoned bull ring harked back to Tenerife´s past, and at the far end of the walk, the Parque Garcis Sanabria made a nice entry point back down into the  shopping centre of the city and the port.

The crosses were sturdier and more restrained this time, but as pleasing on the eye as ever. With less wild strands , and strong wooden frames at their heart, the crosses have more chance of staying in top condition until the end of the Tres de Mayo celebrations on 9 May. The Parque usually has a big flower and crafts exhibition in tandem with the crosses but this year it was moved indoors to the Recinto Ferial at the entry to the city from the south. I called in there later and there were over 50 stalls faeturing  cakes, sine, basket making, wine, and chocolates. The Flower and Artesans  show is FREE to enter and finishes on 9 May. Opening times are 4 to 8 pm until 6 May, and then 10 am to 8 pm.

Los Cristianos Is Back On The Entertainment Beat

Silence isn’t golden, it’s an annoying rusty colour that has hung over Tenerife’s events during Covid. Gradually things are awakening, so it was so good to get back into the Auditorio Infanta Leonor in Los Cristianos to hear the work of the Arona School Of Music And Dance. The free concert opened with a traditional four piece rock band, under the supervision of guitar teacher Rafael Batista. Their set was a mix of Spanish themes with members interchanging between tunes. A teenage guitarist played a wonderful cover of the Gary Moore classic “I’ve Still Got The Blues For You” and the band departed to loud applause.

Doubling up as high speed roadies, the musicians cleared their instruments and the curtain rose on the full spread of the stage. An orchestra of Canarian timple and traditional folk guitars sparkled as they worked through an impressive range of styles and composers. Flute playing soloist, Carlotta Llarena Aisa added an atmospheric high to a parade of numbers, and Dario Diaz popped onto the stage to add his own vocal treats. The variety of music on offer showed the depth and range of talent produced by the school.The 90 minute concert ended with some rousing, upbeat classics, firstly Colonel Boogie (the theme from Bridge Over The River Kwai) which suited the light tempo of the orchestra. The last tune of the night was Johan Strauss seniors Radetsky March.

The Auditorium is a valuable and versatile asset to Arona. It was good to see it in such good condition after its lengthy closure, unlike the outside, that needs an update and the return of the bar café. Seating for 800 people was vastly reduced by the anti Covid social distancing, alternate rows were sealed, but there was still around 300 people attending. For this free show, tickets had to be booked and picked up in advance from the lobby of the Los Cristianos Cultural Centre that backs onto the Auditorio in the centre of town. There is a growing schedule of shows to follow, hopefully with less restrictions as time goes on. Many events are FREE, and others as cheap as 6 euros. Bookings can be made at www.arona.org or at the Cultural Centre from 10 am to 2 pm, and 5 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Friday. Below are some of the forthcoming events.

30 April. A Few Colours, a jazz group for International Jazz Day. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros

14 May. Bailame Amores, Ballet inspired by a Leonard Cohen song. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

15 May. Tina Turner and George Michael tribute show. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 15 euros.

21 May.     Puppet show. Starts at 6 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

22 May. Tango Show. Starts 7.30 pm. Tickets 6 euros.

 

 

 

 

La Laguna Is An Open House For History

You would expect an illustrious past to spill onto a World Heritage Site. La Laguna, a short tram ride north of Tenerife capital Santa Cruz, has historic gems in every street. Seeking out the Museum Of History and Anthropology will give you a broad insight into the day to day life of  and social development of Tenerife.

Casa Lercaro´s wooden floor boards creaked with the footsteps of past inhabitants, and the garage at the rear of the courtyard even had two majestic carriages that have carried the mighty of Europe. Entry is always free and information is in several languages, and audio points. A wide range of exhibits are used to throw light on the evolution of Tenerife, sculptures, guns, newspapers, photos, newspapers, clothes, and tools, to name just a few.  Casa Lercaro is a living exhibit itself, the courtyard features the classic traditional wooden Canarian balconies. Restoration has been authentic, detailed, and time consuming.

Talking of restoration, the nearby Palicio de Navas had delivered their lovingly restored Nava carriages to the museum while their home got its own update. A black Landau model, originally made in Germany , looked splendid with some UK touches. Craker had buffed up the bodywork, and Thomas Davis had made the side lanters sparkle, both companies are London based. The sombre look made me think of Jack the Ripper but on a more sedate note, Jane Austen often mentioned the stylish people carriers in her novels. The 18th century white Berlin carriage in a french Rococo style, looked more like a fairy tale creation and turned my mind to the Disney version of Cinderella. Pine, oak, and mahogany were preferred to a pumpkin in this case.

Thanks to good management and safety measures, the museum stayed open for many more hours than were feared when Covid arrived. For now it is waiting for you from Monday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, with a limit of 85 visitors at a time. Those hours will be extended as and when circumstances allow. You can always check the Tenerife museums website for up to date news before diving into a classic era.