The WOMEX Opening confirms the position of the Canary Islands as an exemplar of the exchange of cultures, and offers to the world the value to be learned from a population’s positive and ongoing cultural mix – one that is so special and that has so many years of tradition.
Germán Lopez, the brilliant, home-grown young star of the timple is the artistic director and stage host of the WOMEX 18 Opening. He touches audiences with a rooted and innovative 21st century approach to performing “island music.” His principal instrument is one of the grandfathers of the ukulele, and part of the same stringed instrument-family that includes the cavaquinho, cuatro and charango.
He has created a programme to reflect this special and particular tri-continental spirit of the islands, inviting The AKA Trio (Senegal, Italy and Brazil), new wave flamenco project Aurora, Brazilian alt-indie troubadour LaBaq and acclaimed mestizo group from Tenerife, Caracoles.
The Opening is proudly presented by Jeito:
Behind the inconspicuous name lies an international musical summit meeting of three world-renowned virtuosos: Antonio Forcione, Seckou Keita and Adriano Adewale.
Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione has been travelling the world for over two decades, releasing 20 albums and collaborating with many major artists along the way, including such names as Charlie Haden, Angelique Kidjo and the Bulgarian Voices, amongst many others. Seckou Keita from Senegal is one of the world’s foremost kora players, involved in many international projects including his groundbreaking duo with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and his Transparent Water project with Cuban pianist Omar Sosa. Brazilian percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale has collaborated with Bobby McFerrin, Joanna McGregor and Benjamin Taubkin and has composed music for orchestras and dance theatre. Together they cooperate and coalesce to create a refreshingly original international fusion.
Aurora’s fresh interpretations of the songs of Manuel de Falla, Federico García Lorca and Felip Pedrell, fuse jazz, rock and flamenco with energy and skill, driven by pianist Max Villavecchia, electric bassist Javier Garrabella and drummer Joan Carles Marí, fronted by the voice of acclaimed young cantor, Pere Martinez and the dynamic dance of Jose Manuel Álvarez. The group emerged from Barcelona’s Taller de Músics institute, and what began as a one-off project quickly gathered momentum, turning into an ongoing exploratory journey into new frontiers of flamenco. Their self-titled debut album was named as one of the ten best Flamenco albums of 2017 by Flamenca y Más magazine and has spawned invitations to festivals in Hungary, Canada and across Spain. Aurora now find themselves at the vanguard of a new generation of contemporary flamenco innovators.
Caracoles is a mestizo music group from Tenerife known not only for their energising mix of rumba, flamenco and cumbia styles, but also for their work in solidarity with refugees fleeing the international war zones. Formed in 2008, Caracoles became a popular covers band but in 2015 the growing refugee crisis compelled them to do something. They began writing their own songs, using their upbeat mestizo sound to convey more serious messages. In 2016 they ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to finance a journey to Greece alongside the organisation Pallasos en Rebeldía, where they performed in refugee camps. Their experiences imbue the songs on their third album, Flores, which they took on tour through Spain earlier this year, raising money for Proactiva Open Arms, an NGO working to rescue refugees in the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea.
From São Paulo, Larissa Baq – known to her growing international fan-base as LaBaq – is one of the leading figures on the Brazilian alternative music scene. Whether solo with just her guitar, or using loops and effects to build spacious reflective structures, or finely honing funky grooves with her bass player and drummer, her soulfully intimate voice relates her tales of life and love with a seductive grace. With a dedicated following in Brazil and Portugal, she has also performed in Spain, Germany, Russia, Chile, Argentina and Sweden; a modern troubadour playing in venues of all sizes from living rooms to major festival stages. Her 2016 album VOA has so far garnered over a million plays on Spotify and her official video-clips have attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube.
The opening ticket includes admission to the WOMEX Opening concert only at the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus (subject to availability!). Tickets can be purchased for 10€.