Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Elton in the Bullring - Xativa - 23June - only Spanish date.

Sir Elton, who has recently celebrated his 60th birthday.

After deciding a couple of weeks ago that no one was apparently capable of staging his new tour in Spain - it would seem that Elton John has picked a new promoter, so instead of taking his band to Seville, he is now bringin the show to Xativa -at the bullring on the 23rd June. This will be the only concert in Spain so get your tickets now - it's bound to be a sell-out.

The music will be from his back catalogue - he's promoting his new 'best of' Album 'Rocket Man' and it is promised that it will be a visual extravaganza.

It'll certainly be a great show and very loud if I know Elton!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Il Divo in Concert Valencia 28 April 2007 - the review

photo ©2007Jose Antonio Gómez Barroso

12,000 people came to the Arena in Port America's Cup on the 28th of April to see Tenor supergroup Il Divo, for the first performance of their European tour. Accompanied by a symphony orchestra of Valencian musicians they gave a polished, if a little short, performance. The name Il Divo translates from italian to 'divine male performer' and with their impeccable dress sense (got to be Armani suits!) and their 'Adonis' good looks, their main appeal is to women. Borne out by the audience, the majority of which were misty-eyed females. Their classically trained voices and harmonies are perfect, and they performed songs from their new Album, including Nights in White Satin, and Without You. For more words and pictures click the headline...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Louis Vuitton Semi-Finals start today in Valencia


Racing begins again today between the remaining four challengers for the right to race against Alinghi for the America’s Cup trophy.

Team Emirates NZ, as winners of the Louis Vuitton Round Robin series, get to choose who they want to race first and they have chosen Desafío Español, reasoning that the Spanish team are the least experienced of their three opponents. This leaves BMW Oracle facing up to Luna Rossa. This is a nine-race series to be held over the next twelve days; the first to five wins from each heat will go forward to the Finals.

The weather today is absolutely perfect, with a cool breeze and bright sky, we expect to see some excellent racing this afternoon from around 1500.

The Day of the Virgin - continued

Body surfing - note the small child in orange to the left of the Virgin!
Adult this time!
The rose petals...

The Finale is tonight with a Concert of Choral and Band Music - at 2030hrs
Conducted by Pablo Sánchez Torrella with the particiption of Orfeó Valencià Navarro Reverter, la Banda Muncipal de Valencia, la Escolania de la Reial Basílica de Nostra Senyora del Desamparats and the Grup de Danses Alimara.

The Day of the Virgin

Plaza de la Virgen
The Mural of Flowers
You could have been forgiven for thinking that the entire population of Valencia was in, or trying to get in, to the Plaza de la Virgen, in the historic centre of the city this weekend.
Yesterday saw the celebration of the Day of the Virgin, a particularly holy day in the Catholic Church's calendar in Spain.
Preparations began on thursday of last week when two stages were erected by the Basilica and the Plaza was once again decked out in flowers, the centrepiece of which was a large and beautifully made mural depicting the Virgin, made completely of flower parts.
By Saturday afternoon the square began to fill with people to watch performances and to reserve their places for the main day. This carried on through the night and by 8.00am the square was almost completely full for the Missa (mass) delivered from the stage in front of the Mural with orchestra and choirs. Priests shaded by yellow umbrellas passed among the crowds to offer communion.
Then it was a mad rush to clear the square of most of the seating and to prepare for the even bigger crowds that streamed in ready for the passage of the Virgin from the basilica through the square to the Gothic Door of the Cathedral (under 100 metres away)
The effigy is carried on the shoulders of some strong men and the crowds surge to touch her, small children are lifted over the heads of the crowds to touch her and some brave adults body surf over the crowds to touch or kiss her. It is an amazing sight and the sounds of the shouting are at times quite deafening. As they pass below the flats around the square petals are thrown from the balconies.
Once she has made it through the doors of the cathedral, there is a short lull in the proceedings whilst the plaza is once again cleaned and cleared for the final event of the day, a solemn procession of bands, people and the Virgin through the surrounding streets when more petals are thrown and the streets are covered in them. The procession leaves from the Plaza de la Virgen once again and is so long it takes around 2 hours to exit.

Plans for Europe's Largest Music Academy in Valencia

President of the Comunidad Valenciana, Francisco Camps (centre), and Rita Barbera, the city's Mayoress view the model of the proposed tower.

Plans were unvielled last week for La Torre de la Música, to be built near La Cuidad de les Arts y Ciencias here in Valencia. The 100 metre high, 70,000 metre square building will house recording studios, rehearsal rooms, a library and 104 apartments for students of Music and once completed in 2009, it will be the biggest Music Academy in Europe, and will concentrate on the music of the 21 century

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Carlinhos Brown - Carnival Comes to Burjassot

The penultimate day of the superb 10db festival in Bujassot ended with a high energy performance for Carlinhos Brown and his 12 strong band.
During the day, the streets and Plaza Ayuntamiento were filled with crowds visiting a huge medieval market. Live geese wandered through the straw covered streets and stalls selling everything from handmade soaps to herbal teas and enormous bread loaves to jewelry and clothing to all sorts of food. (The Market continues today sunday13 May)

Then there was a free concert by the multi talented Re-Percussion on the Pati de les Sitges overlooking the Plaza.

Brown was appearing at the Casa del Cultura, at 10.30 sounds of the shore erupted from the huge pa system, and carried on for the next 15 minutes, until the large audience began whistling and slow hand-clapping. Finally the man and his band arrived dressed in fish headdresses and carrying tridents, and the show began. What a show! Brown and his band have incredible stamina, no one stopped moving for the duration of his two and a half hour show. He is a consummate performer and his band are tight and professional. He talks between songs to the audience as though they are his best friends and at one point late in the show he invited a small Senegalese boy onto the stage to sing and dance with him. The boy handed him a CD as he was passed back to his family. The CD was of his father singing, so Brown invited him up on stage to sing too and then told the audience they had seen a star in the making.

A really great night at the 10dB festival in Burjassot, if Carlinhos Brown comes your way this summer, go see him.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Grand Prix in Valencia Confirmed, maybe!

the proposed new circuit

The Prince Felipe Science Museum in the City of Arts and Sciences was the venue for a presentation by Formula 1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who confirmed that Valencia would be the new venue for the Urban Grand Prix Circuit. He told the audience that he was delighted with Valencia, and that the races could begin in November of 2008. The first contractual period would be for seven years - renewable, but he made it clear that he considered that Grand Prix Racing on an urban circuit in Valencia would to all intents and purposes be a permanent fixture on the racing calendar.
The 5-Km-long circuit would start in the interior area of the port, then run parallel to the old Turia River bed to the bridge in front of the Oceanografic - which would offer spectacular television views of the City of Arts and Sciences - before turning back down to the port again, and would have gradient stands to accommodate as many as one hundred thousand spectators. This in fact would mean that the effect of the circuit on traffic in Valencia would be nil, and the area of the Paseo de la Alameda that would be included has not been urbanized, and consequently the effect on residents would equally be zero.
In his presentation yesterday, Mr Ecclestone added that the fact that Valencia was being granted the rights to be included on the Grand Prix Circuit, 'was purely due to the immense talents of Francisco Camps and Rita Barbera'. However, Mr Ecclestone added that the contract was on the table waiting to be signed, but with one proviso: it would not become a reality unless Mr Camps and Mrs Barbera won re-election on May 27, adding that he was 'only too well aware' of the Socialist reticence against the project.

And More good news...
Later the same day Camps, Barbera and Eccleston visited the Alinghi base and met with Ernesto Bertarelli, the President of the Alinghi syndicate, who told them that should Alinghi be successful in its retention of the Americas Cup, then he was in favour of staging the next Cup races in Valencia...

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Louis Vuitton Round Robins

Desafio lose but win...

...and then there were four

The last day of Round Robin 2 produced surprises and upsets in the perfect sailing conditions off the coast of Valencia. Victory Challenge, having just lost a place in the semi-finals were eager to prove their worth in the match with Mascalzone Latino. After an even start, the Italian boat seemed to have the edge and rounded the windward mark 17 seconds ahead of the Swedish team. The race remained close and, in the final stages, Mascalzone hoisted a new spinnaker with the words: “Thank you Italy, thank you Naples”, a fitting gesture from a truly valiant team. Desafío, with Dane Jesper Radich at the helm, were unable to end on a high note, losing the start to Luna Rossa and taking a penalty at the windward mark. The Italian team finished nearly 2 minutes ahead. UI Team Germany lost their race against +39 and a jubilant Team Shosholoza beat Areva in a tense duel by just 14 seconds.

The big match of the day came next, with BMW Oracle pitted against joint favorites Emirates Team NZ. The two teams started evenly, with BMW heading for the left and Team NZ going right. Oracle seemed to have the lead in the early stages but a windshift turned the tables in favour of the New Zealand team, who rounded the windward mark 54 seconds ahead and went on to win by over 90 seconds. Chris Dickson, skipper and helmsman of BMW Oracle said after the series ended: “We’re all stronger today than we were three weeks ago at the beginning of Round Robin One. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we’re all stronger today.” This has to be the major element in the challenger trials that Cup defenders Alinghi fear most. The four teams going through to the semi-finals have been race-hardened by the events of the last month in an atmosphere that must be almost impossible to create in the boat-for-boat racing within the Defender’s team. The semi-finals start on Monday 14 May. Meanwhile, we say farewell and ‘buenasuerte’ to the seven teams who have helped forge the top four into worthy challengers.

Final Overall Positions after Louis Vuitton Round Robin 2

1 Emirates Team NZ 38
2 BMW Oracle 37
3 Luna Rossa 35
4 Desafío Español 29
5 Victory Challenge 26
5 Mascalzone Latino 22
7 Shosholoza 20
8 Areva 17
9 +39 12
10 UI Team Germany 5
11 China Team 3

Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Lokua Kanza at 10db

It always amazes me when someone with as big a name as this band appears and has an audience that barely fills the medium sized auditorium. Though less than half full, the audience were very appreciative of this wonderful A capella group. Their voices in harmony are quite beautiful and they spice up their performance with traditional Zulu dance and a lot of horsing around.
The second half of the evening was in the company of someone new to us at thisisvalencia, Congolese singer-songwriter Lokua Kanza. After a shaky start when his technician couldn't keep the connection to his guitar live, five minutes or so of frantic running on and off the stage by the roady, Lokua was a revelation, delightful guitar and a superb voice with an incredible range. His band were great too, a percussionist extraordinaire, keyboard and wind player and two excellent backing singers. We shall be buying this man's Albums.

Contemporary Lovers of Mevlana at 10dB

The 10dB festival in Burjassot is always excellent and the programme diverse.
Last Sunday there was a performance by the Contemporary Lovers of Mevlana, whirling derviches under the guidance of Hasan Dede. It took place in the square in front of the Ayuntamiento in the town and was free to all.
First the musicians played a variety of songs to Allah and then came the dervishes, ten of them, five men and five women, dressed in long black robes and tall fezes. After kneeling before their spiritual leader they shed their black to reveal whit and brightly colored jackets and 'skirts' and so they whirled. It was all very beautiful and on a warm early summer's evening, very uplifting!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Le Mans in Valencia

On the 5th and the 6th of May, the cars that will race in the mythical 24 hours of Le Mans will come to Valencia in one of the five events that make up the calendar. 

They are calling it the Valencia 1,000 kilometres, and it will be the last opportunity for drivers and teams to compete before Le Mans, held in mid-June. 

The 1,000 kilometres will mean that the drivers will have to complete a total of a total of 250 laps of the winding course of the Ricardo Tormo Circuit of the Valencia Region in Cheste. And the good news is that entry is free, and only 10 euros for entry to the paddock.

Valencia joins the great circuits of Monza (Italy), Nurburgring (Germany), Spa (Belgium) and Silverstone (Great Britain), which all celebrate this championship. 

160 drivers from 26 different nationalities grouped in 44 teams from 11 countries participate in the championship. An average of 40 cars occupied the starting grid with 33 teams.

Peugeot has announced the presence of their prototype 908 in all the races to prepare for their race at the 24 hours of Le Mans.

More info at www.circuitvalencia.com

Rodrigo Leao and Ludovico Einaudi on tour


As if all the events in our newsletter (http://www.thisisvalencia.com/news6.html) weren't enough, Two virtuoso pianists and composers come together for a short spanish tour this month, you'll have to travel a bit to see them if you are based in Valencia, they are appearing in Murcia (Friday 05 May Teatro Guerra, Lorca 22.00) Alicante (Saturday 06 May, Palacio de Congresos de Alicante 21.00) and in Benicassim (Saturday 12 May Teatro Benicassim 22.30) but it will be well worth the journey.
Portuguese Rodrigo Leao is best known for forming Madredeus, the internationally famous group, and Italian Ludovico Einaudi, was recently nominated for a BIFA award for his soundtrack to the Shane Meadows film 'This is England'

tickets from ticktackticket.com, telentrada.com and fnac.es