Majorca’s Ray Of Light

A Ray of Light, 2, Palma de Mallorca

 

Next week on Thursday evening (the night of the 30th, at 7pm) you will be able to attend the premier of a new documentary about Majorca’s stingray population. The short film is called “A Ray of Light, 2”, it’s the sequel to “A Ray of Light” which was made a couple of years ago by a then emerging film maker, David Diley. His subject was the efforts of a local resident of Majorca, dive teacher Brad Roberston, to improve and conserve Majorca’s marine environment and its population. “A Ray Of Light” went from a standing start to 100,000 views online and changed both Brad’s and David’s lives for the better. I spoke to David Diley this week.

 

Film Maker David Diley

“What seems like forever ago, Brad and I had talked about a project he had come up with, a survey to find out more about the yearly appearance in the Bay of Palma, of big numbers of Stingrays, many of which we have since discovered, were heavily pregnant. The concept being that he could set up a Stingray survey, utilising volunteers from the yachting community alongside divers and try to understand this annual aggregation more, how big the numbers are, why they’re there and maybe even where are they coming from and going to after they leave?

“This was a monumental undertaking from the get go because there was no money, no real support from government except from our ever-present and always super cool friend, Gabriel Morey. We talked about how, in order to get people interested in protecting the Stingrays, we would first need to know a lot more about them and their yearly visits to the Bay of Palma. Anyway, long story short, a few months later, Brad emailed to tell me it was up and running and he was conducting surveys with a small handful of divers.

“I had been working like a dog for two years solid and figured I needed a holiday. I had been planning on going over to stay with Brad and his wife Bea anyway and then one night, I had the idea of shooting a short film about the project but not the usual “… this is bad, look at these horrible images of dead things, we’re all gonna die” type, more of an engaging story about the very, very rare breed of people who sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice all for a cause they believe is worth fighting for. So, my “holiday” turned into a film shoot and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Brad was spending all his own money on the surveys, losing working days, burning through fuel like there was no tomorrow, using all his own gear and surviving on about three hours sleep a night, I paid for the production of the film entirely out of my own pocket and battles with bureaucracy were a daily occurrence. We needed to inspire people to care about an animal which just isn’t as inspiring as sharks or tigers or as easily marketable as whales and dolphins. The issue here was that we had what was a complete oddity in the Med, a healthy population of a marine creature, so we figured we should do what we can to maintain those healthy numbers and use it as a reason as to why marine protected areas in the Mediterranean, especially those around the Balearics, are so important.

“The results of that holiday, A Ray Of Light, took us by surprise in the level of success it attained: it headlined various film festivals around the world and has been viewed in 151 countries to date! So I’d always intended to do a sequel because the reaction to Brad and his work was overwhelmingly positive, indeed, as more people saw the film, the level of support for Brad’s work increased to the stage where he was able to raise sponsorship to start  Asociación Ondine, which became an official non-profit, grassroots marine conservation organisation based on the island.”

But what’s the big deal about stingrays? With their round, flat bodies and undulating wings and their close relationship to sharks, which are some of the sea’s greatest predators, stingrays may fit some people’s definition of “exotic.” Yet stingrays exist worldwide, from freshwater rivers to the open oceans. No matter what habitat they occupy, an analysis of the creatures that they eat and the organisms that eat them suggests they have an important role to play in the ecosystems they inhabit. Research has established stingrays of every variety as upper-level predators, meaning that they hunt and consume other animals, even those that consume other organisms themselves. Their foods of choice include molluscs, crabs, small fishes, and worms. Although stingrays often are listed as top-level predators, hunted by no other creatures, it has been established that some sharks and large fish eat stingrays and they have a positive effect on their environment, which means it is a very good thing they are in the waters around Majorca.

A Ray of Light 2, Palma de Mallorca

“I don’t want to give too much away but A Ray of Light II is a longer film (29 minutes) much less retrospective with a first person insight into Asociación Ondine’s biggest conservation project to date. It focuses on the effects the first film had on Brad’s life and conservation on the island, the growth of Asociación Ondine, and the huge changes to Brad’s personal life and also confronts the challenges and more controversial aspects of marine conservation in Majorca. Where the first was something of a vignette, the sequel is a more rounded, documentary style film which asks the difficult questions and gives the important answers. In short, I am really, really proud of it.”

A Ray of Light II gets its full premiere at Palma Aquarium on Thursday October 30th, where they will also be screening the first film. Marine biologist and Vice President of Asociacion Ondine, Gabriel Morey will be giving details of findings of the Stingray Survey to date. David, Brad and Gabril will also be doing a Q&A session afterwards. The event is free. Doors open at 7pm.

You can find more information here: www.asociacionondine.org, here: www.officetoocean.blogspot.com, and read more articles about people in Majorca here: http://www.mallorcastories.com

By Vicki McLeod

RICHARD KRUGEL – MAJORCA’S MAN FROM ATLANTIS

Excersise4

Training

On 20th September, Richard Krugel walked into the sea just outside of Palma and set off on the first leg of his World Record attempt to swim 360 kilometres around the entire coast of Majorca. On a personal crusade, Richard had pledged to do this epic swim eleven years ago to honour the life of his late brother Ewald.  The last three years had been spent meticulously planning and training for what he anticipated would be an eighteen day adventure.  September was chosen as a good month because of its fine weather, but within a day of setting off, storm clouds gathered over the island together with high winds and rough seas, which persisted for two weeks.  Swimming the planned six hours a day was suddenly no longer Richard’s only problem.  Three metre high waves battered this brave South African as he tried to swim around the east coast: there were times when his skipper Nic Kluwe had to call a halt for the day as the visibility was so diminished he could no longer see Richard swimming alongside the small support vessel Atlantis, and it was just too dangerous to continue.

Finally finished!

Finally finished!

The Alchemedia-Group did a daily blog covering the adventure on www.mallorca360.wordpress.com.  But with dogged determination Richard refused to let the rough seas, injury, sickness, and spiteful jellyfish (which attacked him at every opportunity) knock him down.  On Saturday October 11th he completed the swim and returned to Palma 22 days later, a conquering hero, raised a substantial amount for The Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz, and became a new World Record holder.

Richard with Max (left) and Helen (right)

Richard with Max (left) and Helen (right)

Richard joined his family and friends at Sunday’s celebration of his incredible achievement, he modestly took centre stage and said to rapturous applause “Hello, my name is Richard Krugel and I have a problem with swimming…..”.

I caught up with him after he’d had a chance to dry out and get his land legs back.

Vicki McLeod: How did it feel when you got into the water on day one? Richard Krugel: “I felt a bit nervous, unsure what lay ahead but also excited and ready for the challenge.”

Did your plan go well? I.E. the plan to swim three hours, then two hours, then an hour each day? “Initially it worked but I started getting bored with it, so we mixed it up a bit for variety i.e. 2, 2 and 2 again which worked well in bad weather.”

Did it get lonely out there? How about on the days when the weather got bad? “It got lonely when the weather was at its calmest and this coincided with the North West coast, which had deep water and no “civilization” around.  The days when the weather was bad were almost 70% of the swim. On those days it was important to focus very hard, which had the benefit of feeling that the time passed quicker.”

Did you see any cool sea life? What about the jellies? “I saw schools of fish: feeding frenzies, dolphins, flying fish and one ray. Unfortunately they were not every day which sadly means that the ocean life is not what it should be. Jellies were everywhere and too many of them. They are a direct sign of over fishing. I got stung many times on a daily basis.”

What’s next for you? “Next: a lot of rest. A return to some sort of normality but I would love to do a unique swim again in the future. I will let you know when that day comes! “

Jubilations all round!

Jubilations all round!

Any special mentions? “I’ve got some very special memories to take home with me: meeting old friends, making new ones and receiving the tremendous support I have. And very special thanks to the Allen Graham Charity and all my sponsors as well as my skipper Nic Kluwe who I entrusted my safety with!”

I know you were doing this in memory of your brother, how does it feel now that you have completed the swim? “It feels great! I have a sense of calmness now about his death and believe that he would have been proud of me.”

Congratulations Richard on an incredible achievement.

For further information how you can support Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz please visit www.agrahamcharity.org To read the full details of Richard’s adventure visit www.mallorca360.wordpress.com For more island articles visit www.mallorcastories.com

By Vicki McLeod, with Diane Hughes.

Photos by Joanne McGreevy.

First published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin. Click here for Richard Krugel interview part 2

Majorca girl makes good: Julia is on the rise.

SYKES press shotJulia Sykes was born in Majorca and then moved with her family to Morocco where she attended an American school until she was eleven.  Then they moved back to Majorca where she finished schooling at the Baleares International School (now known as BIC).  I first met Julia when she came to the studios of Luna Radio (remember them?) and she played her guitar and sang her beautifully written songs during one of my shows. Soon after that the band “SYKES” was formed with Julia as front woman, (lead vocals and electric and acoustic guitar) and Kristian (lead guitar and bass), and then Will (drums) joined. Julia now lives in South London. Over the past two years the band have played the Glastonbury and Bestiva festivals, been tour support to The Wombats, Ryan Keen and American Hi Fi, as well playing their own shows in London venues including Ronnie Scotts, The Lexington, 100 club, Scala and National History Museum. They went over to the US when they were invited to showcase their music in various venues around Florida (Revolution Live). The band were then championed by Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman who invited them to play on the UK leg of Vans Warped Tour at Alexandra Palace. So they are certainly making some serious waves.

Julia & Kris Scala 6I spoke to Julia this week about SYKES, the music and their progress.

Are you full time on the music or do you have to keep working on other jobs to keep the money coming in?  “I only work on music-related projects now, which is great.  I do some music teaching on the side, and compose for adverts but most of my time is devoted to SYKES”

How do you write your songs? “We don’t really have a fixed way of writing the songs.  What tends to happen is Kris and I work roughly on riffs, melodies and lyrics, and it takes shape when we jam with Will.  Writing and being in the studio is the magical part of being in a band, it’s my favourite part!”

What inspires you?  “Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere I guess!  From our own experiences, friends’ experiences, books, films, observations… anything really.  We always have some kind of personal connection to the song though, even if it’s just a small part of it.”

Which musicians do you listen to?   “I grew up listening to a really wide variation of artists, such as Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Green Day, Alanis Morissette, Eminem, John Mayer, Jason Mraz – to name a few!  At the moment I’m listening to Twenty One Pilots, George Ezra, and Ed Sheeran!  Within the band we have a pretty eclectic taste in music all round, so it’s nice not to lay any boundaries when writing.

The cover of their EP

On Monday 20th October Sykes will have their EP launch party, the same date as the release date of the EP which people can pre-order from iTunes now.  It’s at a venue in central London called The Social, with a capacity for 150 people. “We’re really excited to have sold it out over a week before the show!  We’re showcasing all the tracks on the EP plus a couple of new ones

“The EP is a four track produced by Cam Blackwood (George Ezra, London Grammar, Florence & The Machine).  So far it’s had some great buzz on blogs and in the press. London Metro said that we have already made waves with a debut single and an EP.  They said that Ladyhawke and Ellie Goulding fans should take note. Q Magazine and Indie Shuffle have reviewed us as well. Q Magazine said that our track “Gold Dust” was “A spectral synth­pop banger that’ll continue to reverberate in your ears a while after your first hear it.” ­

Do you feel that there is pressure to look a certain way or has that changed?  “Not really, we’ve always stuck to our gut feeling about the look of the band.  We’re not really in the lime light as such, so I guess there’s no pressure on us in that sense.  With us it’s been a really natural progression on all aspects; our branding, vision & sound – they all go hand in hand.  We still make all our big decisions and plan on keeping it that way!”

What’s it like trying to make it in the music industry?  “It’s known to be one of the hardest industries to “break” and I can vouch for that!  It’s definitely been a struggle financially to begin with, and many sacrifices to be made along the way – none of us have an exciting social life which is ironic because people always assume being in a band means partying.  It’s requires a lot of hard work, and determination.  Essentially we do it because we love it and believe in it – but now more than ever we’re really excited about where this journey is taking us, and that’s what’s keeping us going!”

Can you feel it? This band is on the verge of something amazing. Good luck to them.

You can like the band on Facebook or find our more on their website here: www.sykesband.co.uk  For more articles about people on the island visit http://www.mallorcastories.com

 

First published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin. Click here for the Sykes interview

“Musik ist unsere Religion”

Live music, Mallorca

Mallorcas Fabelhaften Vier bereiten sich vor …

Wir haben zwei Frühlinge auf Mallorca: auch wenn es sich so anfühlt als wenn der Sommer schon lange her ist, seien Sie nicht traurig, denn hier auf Mallorca bringt der Übergang von Sommer zu Herbst immer Neubeginn und Wachstum mit sich. Wenn wir aus der Sommerhitze herauskommen, dann fühlt es sich immer so an, als wenn wir alle mit Energie wiederbelebt werden, und somit mit neuen Ideen und Projekten durchstarten können. Ein neues Prokekt wird auch nächstes Wochenende mit unseren vier sehr talentierten Musikern gestartet: Pianist und Drummer Jose Luis Castaño, Gitarrist und Sänger Arthur Hensen, Violinistin Seraphima Novitskaya und Frontsängerin Rosa de Lima, werden in den nächsten Monaten für  gemeinsame Auftritte in der Nähe von Portals Nous zusammenkommen.

Die “Fabelhaften Vier” treten auch auf der Bühne von Son Amar’s internationaler Dinner Show in Palmanyola (nördlich von Palma) zusammen auf, und werden dies dort auch weiterhin über die Wintermonate tun. Aber jeden Freitag werden sie ihre Zelte nun auch im Mood Beach Costa D’en Blanes aufschlagen, um dort mit einer Auswahl von verschiedenen Musik-Stilen aufzutreten.

IMG_8211Als ich mich Anfang der Woche mit dieser talentierten Gruppe traf, schienen sie sich alle sehr darauf zu freuen anstelle einer grossen Bühne, auch mal an einem intimeren Ort wie Mood aufzutreten.  Auf die Frage „Was können Mallorca Leute von den Fabelhaften Vier erwarten“, antwortet Luis: „Wir arbeiten an Arrangements mit den Stimmen, Piano und Violine. Duets mit den Stimmen und mit den Instrumenten. Man kann die Violine auch als dritte Stimme im Arrangement nutzen, das ist sehr interessant. Wir werden auch einige im „unplugged“ akustischen Stil machen, etwas mehr sanfte, mehr Chill Out Musik. Aber wir lieben auch Rock, Motown, Jazz, Soul, Klassisches und rhytmische Blues; wir haben also eine Menge zur Auswahl.“

Pianist und Drummer, Jose Luis  ist in Barcelona geboren, “aber ich fühle mich sehr Mallorquin, da ich hier seit 2006 lebe und arbeite”. Es ist sehr interessant für mich, wie natürlich alle hier mit ihren Talenten umgehen. Sie alle haben natürlich schon so lange gespielt wie sie zurückdenken können, aber können sie sich erinnern, wann ihre Obession mit Musik eigentlich begann? Für Rosa war es keine lange Überlegung, “Ich singe schon seit ich vier Jahre alt bin. Mein profesionelles Debut hatte ich mit sechs Jahren auf der Teatro Principal Bühne in Palma de Mallorca. Es war vorausprogrammiert, dass dies mein Weg sein würde, da meine Mutter und mein Vater Musiker und Lehrer sind, also folgten mein Bruder und ich Ihren Fussstapfen.“

Für Seraphima war ihr Werdegang genauso klar und einfach, “Ich nahm mit sechs Jahren eine Violine in die Hand. Ich bin in Krasnodar in Russland geboren und aufgewachsen. Meine musikalischen Fähigkeiten wurden früh entdeckt und ich wurde in einem Konservatorium unterrichtet und schloss mich dann einem Symphony Orchester an”.

Bei Arthur dauerte es etwas länger bis er seine volle Reichweite entdeckte, und wenn sie ihn kennenlernen dann wissen Sie auch warum. Er ist hinter den Kulissen überraschend schüchtern. Als ich es bemerke, schrei ich ihn fast an “DU? Du bis SCHÜCHTERN?!” Es scheint fast unmöglich, dass jemand der fünf oder sechs Nächte pro Woche vor mehreren Tausend Leuten auftritt, schüchtern sein kann. Aber er ist es. Arthur war zuerst ein Gitarrist, dann ein Sänger. “Ich fing erst mit ca 16 Jahren an zu singen. Ich war, und bin noch immer ziemlich schüchtern und ich wusste solange nichts vom meinem Talent, bis andere Leute mir ab und zu mal zu hörten. „Du solltest singen“, hatten sie mir gesagt, also tat ich dies auch irgendwann.“ Arthur spricht nach wie vor ungern über sich selbst. Wenn ich ihn darauf aufmerksam mache, stimmt er zu und sagt „Die Bühne ist meine Rettung“. Auf der Bühne sieht er so aus, als wäre er dazu geboren um dort zu sein. Wenn man ihn auf der Bühne sieht, glaubt man nicht dass er der gleiche bescheidene Typ ist, den ich gerade im Interview vor mir habe.

IMG_8028Jose Luis aber hat die beste Geschichte, “Ich erinnere mich, als ich fünf Jahre alt war und einen Spielmannszug vor der Haustür hörte, da schlich im mich raus und folgte ihnen der Strasse entlang. Ich war berührt und fasziniert von der Musik. Meine Mutter musste mir auf der Strasse hinterherlaufen, da ich mit der Band mitgegangen war!” Ich fragte ihn, ob er sich zwischen Karrieren entscheiden musste, aber nein, „Ich habe immer gewusst, dass ich ein Musiker werden würde, daran hatte ich nie gezweifelt“.

In der Tat haben alle vier von ihnen Musik in ihren Adern, und haben Welten in Bewegung gesetzt um ihren Träumen zu folgen. Seraphima zog 2006 von Russland nach Spanien, der Sonne und Ihrem Karriereweg nach; und zog dann 2008 nach Mallorca und 2013 kam sie zu uns nach Son Amar. Sie ist eine grosse, gutaussehende Blonde mit unglaublichen “Eisprinzessinn” Augen, und WOW, kann sie die Violine spielen! Als ich sie fragte, welchen Musiker sie am meisten mag, antwortete sie sofort “David Garrett”. Ich muss zugeben, dass ich ihn erstmal im Internet recherchieren musste, da ich noch nie von ihm gehört hatte. Er ist weltberühmter, rekordverdächtiger deutscher Pop und „Crossover“ Violinist und Musikkünstler. „Er inspiriert mich“ (und er ist bekannt dafür, die Violine zu einem “zugänglicherem” Instrument für das allgemeine Publikum zu machen. Jetzt verstehe ich, von was Seraphima spricht: ursprünglich eine klassische Musikerin und nun spielt sie mit Leichtigkeit Rock als wäre sie Mozart).

IMG_8202Rosa, die von den spanischen Journalisten schon oft als Stolz von Mallorca beschrieben wurde, ist hier geboren und aufgewachsen. “Ich liebe alle Arten von Musik, von The Beatles bis … bis … Status Quo!” Rosa lacht und rümpft die Nase während sie das sagt. “Aber ich musste nie eine Entscheidung wegen meiner Musikkarierre treffen, das ist mein Leben. Ich konnte mir mein Tag nicht ohne singen vorstellen. Auftreten ist keine Arbeit für mich, es ist wer und wie ich bin, es ist meine Freude, mein Leben.“

Während des Interviews ist es offensichtlich für mich, wie sehr sie alle miteinander verbunden sind, spielerisch scherzen und manchmal sogar den Satz des anderen zu Ende bringen. Sie bewundern und kümmern sich rührend umeinander. Und ich denke, dass dies auch ganz wichtig ist, wenn man fünf oder sechs Tage die Woche miteinander auftritt. Ich frage Jose Luis welche Qualitäten ein Musiker haben muss, um erfolgreich zu sein. „Du musst Geduld haben”, antwortet er. “Du musst lieben, was Du machst, Du musst in Deinem Arbeitsumfeld glücklich sein: das ist sehr wichtig, Du verbringst mehr Zeit mit Deinem Ensemble als mit Deiner Familie.“

Jose Luis führt fort, “Rosa zum Beispiel, ist ein sehr spezieller Profi, sie kann alles. Sie arbeitet jeden Tag und erbringt die besten Leistungen, nicht mal Celine Dion kann das. Es ist nicht leicht Leute zu finden, die mit einer derartigen Intensität arbeiten können und dennoch so abliefern können, wie sie es kann. Sie ist wie eine lebendige Jukebox! Sie kennt mehrere hundert Songs.” Rosa wird verlegen, nickt dann und stimmt zu “Ich kann in Spanisch, Englisch, Deutsch, Italienisch, Französisch, Russisch und sogar Norwegisch singen!”

IMG_7989Jose Luis erzählt weiter, “Man muss die Musik lieben, man muss üben und zur Schule gehen, und genau überlegen was man machen will, und sich sicher sein. Ich habe immer gewusst, dass ich es machen könnte, ich war immer überzeugt davon.”

Arthur stimmt ihm zu, “Ich erinnere mich an eine Unterhaltung mit dem Sänger und Songwriter Gilbert O Sullivan, er sagte, selbst wenn Du ein Riesentalent hast, wirst Du ohne den Glauben an Dich selbst nichts erreichen”. Arthur, der auch ein sehr erfahrender Gesangslehrer ist, gibt mir Ratschläge worauf  junge Personen achten sollten, wenn sie eine Karriere in der Musikbranche aufbauen möchten. “Als erstes, musst Du ein Gehöhr haben. Du musst in der Lage sein, die Noten zu hören und sie mit Deiner Stimme im Einklang zu bringen. Wenn Du das hast, kannst Du daran arbeiten Deine Technik zu verbessern. Du musst Dir jeden Musikstil anhören und davon lernen. Zuhören, singen, wiederholen. Zuhören, singen, wiederholen. Und ständing singen, besonders wenn Du noch jung bist. Die Stimme ist ein Muskel, der trainiert werden muss.”

Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass viele Kinder von ihren Eltern gezwungen werden Violine zu spielen, um aber damit erfolgreich zu sein, “müssen sie die Musik lieben, sie müssen eine besondere Beziehung dazu haben”. Und  Seraphima stimmt Arthur und Jose Luis zu, “ohne Selbstvertrauen und Glauben an Dich selbst, wird es Dir schwer fallen erfolgreich zu sein.”

Schliesslich frage ich Arthur und Rosa was für eine Musik sie gerne hören, wenn sie nicht arbeiten, “Ich höre gern Jazz, zum zerschmelzen, alte Lieder, R und B, Rock. Alles, solange es gut ist.” Rosa, seine Bühnenpartnerin stimmt zu, “Ja genau, sofern es gute Musik ist, liebe ich es. Es ist egal welcher Stil es ist, ich schätze es einfach, wenn es mich bewegt: es mich zum tanzen bringt, zum lächeln, zum weinen, und zum fühlen!”

Freitag Abend Live fängt am Freitag, 3. Oktober im Mood Beach an. Um einen Tisch zu reservieren, kontaktiern Sie 971 676 456 http://www.moodbeach.com . Entritt ist frei.

Text Vicki McLeod

(Translated by Rita Last)

Photos Vicki McLeod and Oliver Neilson

 

 

“La música es nuestra religión”

Live music, Mallorca

Se preparan Los Cuatro Fantásticos de Mallorca…

En Mallorca la primavera nos visita dos veces al año: aunque ya parezca que el verano se marchó hace mucho tiempo, no hay que ponerse triste, la transición del verano al otoño siempre trae consigo nuevos comienzos y nuevas oportunidades. Se acabó el calor y nos sentimos revitalizados y llenos de energía; se ponen en marcha nuevos proyectos y surgen nuevas ideas. La semana que viene se presenta un nuevo proyecto con cuatro músicos de mucho talento: pianista y batería, José Luis Castaño, guitarrista y cantante Arthur Hansen, la violinista Seraphima Novitskaya y cantante Rosa de Lima – se reunirán para presentar actuaciones íntimas cerca de Portals Nous durante los próximos meses.

IMG_8050Los ‘Cuatro Fantásticos’ han estado actuando juntos en el escenario de Son Amar, el restaurante espectáculo internacional en Palmanyola, justo al norte de Palma, y seguirán tocando juntos allí durante la temporada de invierno. Pero todos los viernes se desplazarán a Mood Beach en Costa d’en Blanes para interpretar una variedad de estilos de música diferentes.

Me encontré con este grupo de talentosos artistas a principios de la semana, y se les veía muy emocionados por la oportunidad de bajarse del gran escenario y poder actuar en el marco mucho más íntimo que les ofrece Mood. ¿Qué puede esperar la gente de Mallorca de los Cuatro Fantásticos? José Luis me responde: “Estamos trabajando nuestros arreglos de voz, piano y violín. Habrá duetos con las voces y los instrumentos. El violín también se puede utilizar como tercera voz, es súper interesante. Además haremos versiones ‘unplugged’ estilo acústico, algo más melódico más chill out. Pero a la vez nos encanta el rock, motown, jazz, soul, clásico, y rhythm and blues; así que tenemos mucho de donde elegir.”

IMG_8198

José Luis, pianista y bacteria, nació en Barcelona, “pero me siento muy mallorquín ya que llevo viviendo y trabajando aquí desde 2006.” Me fascina que a todos les parezca tan natural su talento, cómo no, si es que llevan haciendo música toda la vida, ¿pero sabrían decirme cuándo comenzó su obsesión por ella? Para Rosa ‘estaba clarísimo’, “Empecé a cantar cuando tenía cuatro años. Debuté como profesional cuando tenía seis años, sobre el escenario del Teatre Principal en Palma de Mallorca. Siempre iba a ser así ya que mis padres son músicos y profesores, tanto mi hermano como yo seguimos sus pasos.”

Seraphima también lo tenía muy claro, “Cogí un violín por primera vez cuando tenía seis años. Nací y me crié en Krasnodar en Rusia, era evidente que tenía talento musical así que me eduqué en un conservatorio y luego me uní a una orquesta sinfónica.”

IMG_8266

Arthur tardó un poco más en decidirse, y nada más conocerle se hace evidente porqué; es sorprendentemente tímido fuera de escena. Al descubrirlo casi me da algo “¿TÚ? ¡¿Tú eres tímido?!” No me cuadra que alguien que actúa cinco o seis noches a la semana delante de un público de más de mil personas pueda ser tímido. Pero así es. Arthur empezó siendo guitarrista y luego se convirtió en cantante. “No empecé a cantar hasta que tenía dieciséis años. Era, y sigo siendo, bastante tímido y no me di cuenta de que tenía talento cantando hasta que otra gente me lo comentó al oírme de vez en cuando. ‘¡Deberías cantar!’ me decían y al final les hice caso.” A Arthur todavía le cuesta hablar de sí mismo. Cuando se lo comento me lo confirma y dice “el escenario es mi salvación”. En escena parece que nació para estar allí y cuando le veas actuar no te creerás que sea el mismo chico humilde que tengo delante durante mi entrevista.

IMG_8238Pero la mejor historia es la de José Luis, “Cuando tenía cinco años me acuerdo que oí tocar a una banda delante de mi casa. Me escapé y les seguí por la calle; siempre me había fascinado la música. ¡Mi madre tuvo que venir corriendo detrás de mi ya que yo ya me iba con ellos!” Le pregunto si consideró alguna vez otra carrera, pero no, “Siempre he sabido que iba a ser músico, nunca lo dudé.”

De hecho todos llevan la música en sus corazones, y se han trasladado a diferentes continentes en busca de sus sueños. Seraphima se mudó desde Rusia a España en 2006, en busca del sol y de nuevas oportunidades musicales, y en 2008 se mudó a Mallorca uniéndose a Son Amar en 2013. Es alta, atractiva, rubia y tiene increíbles ojos tipo ‘reina de hielo’, y ¡cómo toca el violín! Cuando le pido que me nombre a un músico que le inspira, me responde enseguida: “David Garrett”. Admito que no había oído hablar de él pero es un violinista alemán famoso a nivel mundial por sus premiados temas de pop y ‘crossover’. “Me inspira” (y es muy conocido por acercar el violín a la gente y hacer que sea un instrumento más ‘accesible’ para el público en general. Ahora ya empiezo a entender el estilo de Seraphima: empezó dedicándose a la música clásica pero ahora se desenvuelve igual de bien interpretando rock que Mozart.)

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Rosa que en ocasiones ha sido nombrada ‘el orgullo de Mallorca’ o ‘hija de Mallorca’ en la prensa española,  nació y se crió aquí. “¡Me encanta la música de toda clase, desde Los Beatles hasta… Status Quo!” dice entre risas. “Pero nunca he tenido que elegir sobre mi carrera en la música, es mi vida. No me imagino mi día a día sin cantar. Actuar para mí no es un trabajo, es quién soy, es mi placer, mi vida.”

Durante la entrevista se hace evidente que el grupo está muy unido, bromean e incluso se acaban las frases entre sí. Se admiran y se cuidan el uno al otro y supongo que eso debe ser muy importante si actúas con la misma gente cinco o seis veces por semana. Le pregunto a José Luis qué se necesita para tener éxito como músico. “Tienes que tener paciencia,” responde, “debes amar lo que haces, ser feliz en el ambiente en el que trabajas: eso es muy importante, pasas más tiempo con tu compañía que con tu propia familia.”

José Luis sigue, “Por ejemplo, Rosa es una gran profesional, puede hacer de todo. Trabaja a diario y siempre hace actuaciones estelares; ni Celine Dion puede decir lo mismo. No es fácil encontrar gente que pueda trabajar tan intensamente y seguir haciéndolo tan bien como ella. ¡Es como una gramola humana! Se sabe cientos de canciones.” Rosa se sonroja y asiente con la cabeza “¡Canto en español, inglés, alemán, italiano, francés, ruso y hasta en noruego!”

“Hay que amar la música,” sigue José Luis, “hay que ensayar e ir a la escuela, y pensar bien en lo que se quiere hacer, y tenerlo claro. Siempre pensé que podía hacerlo, siempre me sentía seguro de mi mismo.”

IMG_7970Arthur está de acuerdo con él, “recuerdo una conversación que tuve con el cantautor Gilbert O Sullivan, me dijo que aunque tengas talento a montones, si no crees en ti mismo no irás a ninguna parte.” Arthur, quien además tiene mucha experiencia como profesor de canto, me da algunos consejos sobre lo que hay que buscar si quieres dedicarte a la música. “Primero hay que tener buen oído. Hace falta poder oír la nota e igualarla con la voz. Si tienes esa capacidad puedes seguir con más técnica. Hay que escuchar música de toda clase, y aprender de ella. Escuchar, cantar, repetir. Escuchar, cantar, repetir. Y cantar constantemente, sobre todo cuando se es joven. La voz es un músculo, y hay que ejercitarlo.”

Imagino que a muchos niños les obligan sus padres a tocar el violín, pero para que tengan éxito “deben enamorarse de la música, tener una relación especial con ella.” Y Seraphima piensa igual que Arthur y José Luis, “si uno no confía ni tiene fe en sí mismo, le va a costar muchísimo llegar a tener éxito.”

Por último les pregunto a Arthur y Rosa qué tipo de música les gusta escuchar en casa, “A mí me gusta el jazz, fusión, R&B o rock. Cualquier cosa, mientras sea algo bueno.” Rosa su compañera de escenario está de acuerdo, “Sí, siempre que se trate de buena música me encanta, no importa el estilo que sea, ¡lo aprecio si me emociona: me hace bailar, reír, llorar, sentir!”

Viernes Noche en Vivo se estrena en Mood Beach el viernes 3 de octubre. Para reservar mesa llamar al 971 676 456. www.moodbeach.com Entrada gratuita.

Text Vicki McLeod

(Translated by Victoria Amengual)

Photos Vicki Mcleod and Oliver Neilson

 

 

“Music is our religion”

Majorca’s Fab Four prepare …

Live music, Mallorca

We have two Springs in Majorca: although it already feels as if summer was a long time ago, don’t be sad as the transition from summer to autumn in Majorca always brings with it new growth and beginnings. When we emerge from the heat it’s as if we all become reinvigorated with energy, and new projects and ideas begin.  A new project is being launched next weekend when four very talented musicians:  pianist and drummer, Jose Luis Castaño, guitarist and singer Arthur Hensen, violinist Seraphima Novitskaya and lead singer Rosa de Lima, will come together to play intimate gigs near to Portals Nous throughout the coming months.

The “Fab Four” have been performing together onstage at the Son Amar international dinner show in Palmanyola, just north of Palma, and they will continue to play together throughout the winter season there. But every Friday they will up sticks and decamp to Mood Beach in Costa D’en Blanes where they will perform a variety of different styles of music.

When I met up with this talented bunch earlier this week, they seemed very excited to be getting the opportunity to step off of the big stage and move into a more intimate venue at Mood. What can the people of Majorca expect from the new Fab Four on the blockJose Luis answers, “We’re working on arrangements with the voices, piano and violin. Duets with the voices and with the instruments. You can also use the violin as a third voice in the arrangements, it’s very interesting. We’re going to do some in an ‘unplugged’ acoustic style as well, something more mellow, more chill out. But then we also love rock, motown, jazz, soul, classical and rhythm and blues, so we have a lot to choose from.”

Seraphima onstage

Seraphima onstage

Pianist and drummer, Jose Luis was born in Barcelona, “but I feel very Majorcan since I have been living and working here since 2006”. It’s interesting to me how they all seem so natural about their talents, of course, they have been playing for as long as they can remember, but can they remember when their obsessions with music actually began? For Rosa it was a ‘no brainer’, “I have been singing since I was four years old. I made my professional debut when I was six on the Teatro Principal stage in Palma de Majorca. It was always going to be this way because my mother and father are musicians and teachers, so my brother and I followed in their footsteps.”

For Seraphima, her trajectory was just as clear and simple, “I picked up a violin at the age of six. I was born and raised in Krasnodar in Russia, my musical abilities were quickly recognised and I was educated in a conservatory and then I joined a symphony orchestra”.

For Arthur it took a little longer for him to find his full range, but when you meet him you can realise why as he is, very surprisingly, painfully shy offstage. I discover this and almost shout at him “YOU? You’re SHY?!” it doesn’t seem possible that someone who performs five or six nights a week in front of in excess of a thousand people every time can possibly be shy. But he is. Arthur was a guitarist first, then a singer. “I didn’t start singing until I was about sixteen. I was, still am, quite shy and I didn’t realise that I had this talent until other people started to hear me now and again. ‘You should sing!’ they would tell me, so eventually I did.” Arthur is still uncomfortable speaking about himself. When I point this out to him he agrees, and says “The stage is my salvation”. Onstage he looks as if he was born to be there, when you see him performing you would never believe that he is the same humble guy that I have in front of me in our interview.

Arthur onstage

Arthur onstage

But Jose Luis has the best story, “I remember when I was five years old hearing a marching band outside of my house, escaping and following them down the road, I was always stirred and fascinated by music. My mother had to come running down the road behind me as I was off with the band!” I ask him if he had to choose between careers, but no, “I have always felt like I was going to be a musician, I never had a doubt”.

In fact all of them have music in their very cores, and have moved continents in order to follow their dreams. Seraphima moved in 2006 from Russia to Spain, following the sun and her career path, and then in 2008 she moved to Majorca, joining Son Amar in 2013. She is a tall, beautiful, blond with incredible “ice maiden” eyes, and boy can she play the violin. When I ask her what musician does she love the most she instantly replies “David Garrett”. I admit I had to look him up afterwards as I had not heard of him, but he is a world famous, record breaking German pop and ‘crossover’ violinist and recording artist. “He inspires me” (and he is very well known for making the violin a more “accessible” instrument to the general public, now I begin to understand where Seraphima is coming from: originally a classical musician and now as comfortable playing rock as she is Mozart).

Rosa, who has often been described by Spanish journalists as the pride of Majorca, or the daughter of Majorca, was born and raised here. “I love all types of music from The Beatles to… to… Status Quo!” Rosa laughs and wrinkles up her nose as she says this. “But I’ve never had to make a choice about my career in music, it’s my life. I couldn’t imagine my day without singing. Performing for me is not a job, it’s who and how I am, and it’s my pleasure, my life.”

It’s obvious to me as I interview them how connected they are, playfully joking and sometimes even finishing each other’s sentences. They admire and care for each other, and I guess that is very important when you are performing together five or six days a week. I ask Jose Luis what qualities a musician must have to be successful. “You need to have patience,” he replies, “You must love what you do, you must be happy in the environment you work in: that is very important, you spend more time with your company than you do with your family.”

Jose Luis continues, “Rosa for example, is a very special professional, she can do anything. Working daily and giving the best performances, not even Celine Dion can do that. It’s not easy to find people who are able to work at this intensity and still deliver like she does. She is like a human jukebox! She knows hundreds of songs.” Rosa blushes, then nods and agrees “I can sing in Spanish, English, German, Italian, French, Russian and even Norwegian!”

Jose Luis continues, “They must love music, they must practice and go to school, and think carefully about what they want to do, and be sure. I always thought I could do it, I always felt confident”

Rosa onstage

Rosa onstage

Arthur agrees with him, “I remember having a conversation with the singer songwriter Gilbert O Sullivan, he said that even if you have buckets of talent, without the belief in yourself you won’t get anywhere”. Arthur, who is also a very experienced singing teacher, gives me advice about what a young person may look for if they wanted to develop a career in music. “Firstly, they have to have an ear. You need to be able to hear the note and match it with your voice. If you have that then you can build on technique. You have to listen to every style of music, and learn from it. Listen, sing, repeat. Listen, sing, repeat. And sing constantly, when you are young that is. The voice is a muscle, it needs to be exercised.”

I imagine that a lot of kids are forced into playing the violin by their parents, but in order for it to be successful “they must fall in love with music, they must have a special relationship with it”. And Seraphima agrees with Arthur and Jose Luis, “without confidence and belief in yourself you will really struggle to succeed.”

Finally I ask Arthur and Rosa what type of music they like to listen to when they aren’t working, “I like to listen to jazz, to fusion, old stuff, r and b, rock. Anything as long it’s good.” Rosa, his onstage partner agrees, “Yeah, as long as it’s good music I love it, it doesn’t matter what style it is, I just appreciate it when it moves me: makes me want to dance, to smile, to cry, and to feel!”

Friday Night Live starts at Mood Beach on Friday October 3rd. To reserve a table contact 971 676 456 http://www.moodbeach.com . Entrance is free.

 

By Vicki McLeod

Images by Aimee K Photography and Flixx Wedgewood Walker

 

 

What goes around, comes around.

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Some might say that Richard Krugel is crazy; others may say he is brave. I think he must be a bit of both to even think of attempting to swim (yes, swim) around the 360 kilometre long coastline of Majorca, but that is exactly what he is intending to do this month to raise money for The Allen Graham Charity for Kidz. This swim, which has never been done before, will be taken in an anti-clockwise direction, starting and finishing in Portixol.

Richard will be traveling from South Africa early next week to prepare and intends to start the swim on September 20th. It will be the first time he has been in Majorca after leaving a decade ago.

“I was working in the Super Yacht Industry in Majorca when on 4th July 2003 I got the news that my brother, Ewald, had died back home in a motor car accident.  I couldn’t get a flight back to South Africa immediately so friends of mine took me to a quiet beach where I could cry, we drank a bottle of cognac, and I got the idea to dedicate a swim around the island to the memory of my brother.

“After my brother passed away I stayed with my parents for a month, I returned to Majorca after the funeral, but somehow it was never the same again, a piece of me had been taken away. In 2004 I returned to South Africa, I have been here ever since. The idea had always lingered in the back of my mind that I would return. I now work as a trader in the Futures Market: it’s difficult, but I love it, I don’t see it as a job. The idea of the swim remained a dream for me, until I heard of some other friends who had done a swim in Africa of a similar distance, this rekindled my idea and I started to train.

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“I’ve been preparing for the past 3 years, lost weight, got a coach who helped me not to burn out, and got involved with Rosemary and Joanne from The Allen Graham Charity: they’ve been helping me to organise all of the paperwork and permissions for the swim. The thing which will really motivate me to keep swimming will be raising money for this charity; I really hope everyone will sponsor me.”

Richard is in a strict training routine, swimming for between three and six hours a day, six days a week. “If I had been doing another sort of job I wouldn´t have been able to train the way I have, the US markets open at 3.30pm so that leaves me the whole of the morning to swim and spend time with my children and my wife.”

“What do I think about when I am swimming? I just shut my mind off, the first two kilometres are the most difficult, once you are in a rhythm your arms go numb and you just keep going. It is really important to visualise what it will be like, what the start will be like, and visualise the end when you get out of the water. You can get into a meditative state, that makes it easier. The more tired you get, the longer it takes to get into that zone. Apparently I will be a zombie for the first seven days and then I will get better according to my friends who did the Madagascar to Mozambique swim. They say I will sleep a lot and eat a lot. I’ve been doing feeding practice in the water as I am not allowed to touch the boat during the stages, if I did so I would be disqualified. I will be taking energy smoothies, and supplements, and I have been getting B12 injections as training this hard really lowers your immune system.”

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“It’s called Mallorca 360 because of the distance in kilometres that I will have swum by the end of the challenge. I’m aiming at covering 20 kilometres every day with the intention of completing the swim in eighteen days, weather permitting. But rather than aim at distance I am swimming in blocks of time. I decided to come over in September because the sea temperature and weather is good for swimming at this time of year. Instead of saying how many kilometres I will aim to complete in each stage I will be doing it in blocks of time. Three hours, then two and then finally a swim of one hour. Three hours of swimming is quite a heavy strain on the body and the mind. I don’t want to swim during the dark; I really need to have sunlight, to have daylight. That’s the plan at least.

“I will be trying to swim from a beach towards another beach each day but there are a few places on the island where it won’t be possible to get to a beach at the end of the day so I will have to get on to the boat, take a GPS location reading and then start from that same point the next day. The open water swimming association have categorised this as a “stage swim”. For it to be recognised as a record you need to swim every day even if the weather is bad so I have to get into the water every day from the day I begin.

“I’m really looking for people to participate in this with me; I am hoping for people with Stand Up Paddle boards and Kayaks who can travel beside me, it will help to make me more visible to other vessels and give me much needed support: both physical and moral. I have also have a support boat called Atlantis which is sponsored by ETY, Superyacht Electrical Services, an old employer of mine; we’re going to have a traditional Majorcan Llaut which moves slowly. And I will also have a land based support crew who will be in communication with radios to bring me my supplies for my rest periods.

“I am quite nervous. The magnitude of this has begun to hit home now. But I’m excited as well. My head’s there. If I can complete this it will be one of the three swims I want to do. I want to swim across the English Channel and swim across False Bay in Cape Town, which is like the English Channel, just with 100% more sharks.”

Richard Krugel was speaking to Vicki McLeod

To contact Richard visit www.agrahamcharity.org or

https://www.facebook.com/palmademallorca360.