Seize the day

The full cast“This island is full of talent!” I’m sitting backstage in The Auditorium in Palma talking to Alex Coehlo, one of the cast of the musical “Rent” and we’re both raving about Majorca, “It’s incredible, it’s such a small island and it’s got so many amazing people living here!” Alex tells me that all of the company come from Majorca. “Everyone lives here, we were cast in August and we’ve been rehearsing together ever since. I can honestly say I’ve never worked with such a talented group of people”. Wow, that’s high praise as Alex has been working as an actor and performer for … well, let’s just say he’s got a touch of grey in his hair. The dressing rooms are beginning to buzz with activity as the company arrives to do their technical rehearsal and you can feel there’s a lot of love in the air. Perhaps it is life imitating art as the show they’ve been rehearsing is all about love, and life.

Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning revolutionary rock opera Rent tells the story of a group of bohemians struggling to survive and still express themselves through their art and “measuring their lives in love.” Against the gritty backdrop of New York’s East Village, these friends strive for success and acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty and the AIDS epidemic. Among them are a songwriter, his downstairs neighbour, an exotic dancer, his filmmaker roommate, the roommate’s performance artist girlfriend who’s recently left him for a woman lawyer, a philosophy professor, his soul mate, and their former friend and current landlord. Larson’s inspiration for Rent ’​s story came from several different sources. Many of the characters and plot elements are drawn directly from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La bohème”, the world premiere of which was in 1896, a century before Rent ’​s premiere. La bohème was also about the lives of poor young artists. Tuberculosis, the plague of Puccini’s opera, is replaced by HIV/AIDS in Rent; 1800s Paris is replaced by New York in the early 1990s. The name reflects the struggles the characters have to pay their rent, and how their lives are torn, rent apart. Larson wanted to set it “amid the poverty, homelessness, spunky gay life, drag queens and punk” in the East Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, which happened to be down the street from his Greenwich Village apartment.

The musical was first performed in a limited three-week workshop production at the New York Theatre Workshop back in 1994. Larson had worked for five years on the score of the show, waiting tables to make ends meet whilst he created what was to become a smash hit. Dramatically he died suddenly of an aortic dissection, (believed to have been caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome) on January 25, 1996, the night before the off-Broadway premiere. The show went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, the production was a hit, and a rock musical theatre legend was born. Now it has been performed all around the world.

Marian (Brownie) UribeSo what relevance does the show have to us now, right here in Majorca? Marian (aka Brownie, playing the character of Tom Collins) answers that it’s just as relevant now as it was in the nineties. “The message is that there’s ‘No Day But Today’. You have to live your life and be in the moment. We really only have today.” Alex adds “it reflects a lot of what we are still going through as well, the economic struggles and the marginalisation that people feel when they are cut out of society. Some of the characters in the show are struggling with illness and yet they still find ways to be happy and thankful.”

Rent El Musical, Marian, Mark, Mallorca, Photo by Vicki McLeod

Mark (left) and Brownie


The show, which opens next Tuesday and runs until Sunday at The Auditorium will be performed in Spanish, brilliantly translated by the show’s young director, twenty one year old Palma born Mark Witz. I’m staggered when I realise that he’s fresh off the block and yet has inspired and led a cast of fifteen performers, with a live six piece band and has by all accounts done a great job bringing the whole thing together. Why take such a risk? Mark answers me simply, “I wanted to touch people’s hearts.” Mark has been studying music since he was seven years old, I ask him if the show has become an obsession, “Yes!” he admits, blushing and laughing. Brownie, who aside from performing in the show is also the assistant director, picks up the story, “Mark has been working on the translation for three years, and then this summer we organised the casting and it just all came together. It’s been such a pleasure for us to work together.” Brownie moved to Majorca from the Czech Republic twelve years ago to live with his aunt and has had his own struggles, just like character he portrays. I ask him if he’s living the message of the show as well, “Six years ago I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was a big shock for me, I was in a coma for three days. We never expect that moment to come, but you have to accept that death is life. Now all the things I have right now, this opportunity with the show, the friendships in the cast and company, the potential we have, it’s all very important to me. These are my dreams coming true”. And what about the future, after the show closes next week, what ambitions do you have for the production? “I would love to take this show to the mainland as well, and show people what we can do, spread the message that life is just about today so don’t waste your chances, enjoy your life, don’t have regrets, be in the moment.”

The elements are there for the show to be a hit, Majorca is a tough residential market to crack, but I think they will do it. Mark says, “It is scary, but we started with nothing so we can’t lose”. Kudos must go to him, to Brownie and the rest of the production team including Sandra Mayol, Carlota Carballo and Marga Bonnín. When you consider the immense achievements that this young team have made with very little resources you’ve got to wonder what could they do with some actual backing?

If you can get a ticket, go and see Rent next week: you will leave the theatre high on life, ambition and hope, I certainly did.

To read more articles about people on the island visit

By Vicki McLeod

Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin on Sunday 23rd November 2014

“Make it yours, this festival is for you”

Sandra Seeling Lipski, Evolution Film Festival Mallorca, Photo by Vicki McLeod

I went to meet a very impressive woman this week: Sandra Seeling Lipski. She is the founder and director of the Evolution Film Festival which is held next week in Majorca.  The festival will feature movies and documentaries (long and short) in English or subtitled in English, which have been created by film makers from all over the world. Sandra was born in Berlin, grew up in Majorca and then moved to New York and then LA to study and then work professionally in the acting and film making industry.

So why did you decide to start a film festival back on your island? “When I started I was 27 and very naïve and I just did it. An innocent! This thought had occurred to me why isn’t there a film festival in Majorca? Why not, it’s the perfect place, it’s central in Europe, the connections to get here are amazing. I just thought: I’m just going to do it, and that’s pretty much what I did. I’d never even done an event before, I just had that feeling that I needed to do this. My parents live in Majorca, and my brother has a business here as well so I was coming here regularly anyway, so I thought why not just bring a bit my LA life with me?

“The first year went pretty well: we had around 450 guests. I thought nobody would come, but somehow these people found about it, and it was a very international audience. And then I started to have people contact me asking if we would be doing a second year, even I wasn’t sure. But then I thought, okay, let’s do it again, and we had 1500 guests. The positive response was just overwhelming. There was a real festival spirit. People would go to the cinema and watch the movies and then go to the bar afterwards and talk about the films. It’s a conversation that gets started, which I love. And then meet up again and talk over coffee at the free morning events that we do. We will be doing some at Rialto Living this year: directors come, actors come and you can talk to them and be in this very casual environment and meet people that maybe you have always wanted to talk to. So I created these little get togethers and brought all of these movies here and somehow it just blossomed.

Evolution Film Festival, Mallorca

Tone Adsero, Director of Hotel Cort, Esperanza Crespí and Sandra Seeling


It’s not easy to do something like this is it? “Of course, there’s also been the point where I’ve thought, well maybe I’m going to have to quit as there’s not enough money and not enough help and this, and this, and this. But somehow, it kind of just wanted to happen again. We have a fantastic new graphic designer who has come on board who has helped us to revamp our new logo and look, and that has helped us to attract new private sponsors who are really important. This year we have Hotel Cort sponsoring the rooms for the film makers, they are making it possible for them to have accommodation whilst they are here. We have Mercedes who are doing all of the transport for us, Rialto Living who are hosting the Café con Cine mornings. The Ayuntamiento have given us twenty bus stops where we can put our posters. And we have a fantastic relationship with the people at Teatro Principal, and Cine Ciutat. They love us and support us, it’s pretty amazing. They love the event, that’s it is young people and that it’s fresh and new. I’m not there yet where I want it to be, I need to be able to have a budget to pay the people who work on the festival next year so we’re looking for 2015 sponsors.”

Evolution Film Festival, Mallorca

Helium, the Oscar winner for Best short film 2014, showing at the festival.


What’s the process? “I start to choose the movies in March, and then come over to Majorca in May and speak to the sponsors, and then I come back for the six weeks prior to the festival. And I also organise the Los Angeles edition of the festival which is terrific promotion for the island, it introduces the island to film makers who may come over here and shoot a movie.”

Evolution Film Festival, Mallorca

Druid Peak. The festival’s opening film.


How do you choose the movies? “The first year we had about 100 submissions, the second 150 and this year we’ve topped out at 230 submissions. I watch them all and choose from the programme from this. In this year’s festival we have 43 films! We have feature films, short films and documentaries, so we have a bit of everything. It’s an international festival. We are going to show three movies from local Majorcan film makers: Pep Bonet, Toni Bestard and Nofre Moyà. The films fall under the theme of “Cultural Differences”, how our society treats senior citizens, our relationships between humans and animals and nature, the power of music and an extensive offer of genres including drama, comedy, suspense and musicals.   They are all unique, and forty of the films are premiering for the first time in Spain. I chose them because they are socially and environmentally relevant, that touch upon themes which are in the news right now. ”

What can we do to help? “We’ve created this festival for you, please talk about it, get involved, come to the screenings, tell other people about it, make it yours, it’s for you”.

There will be a “warm up screening” on Sunday November 2nd at Es Baluard. The festival officially opens on November 6th with a gala at Teatro Principal. The festival screenings are all at Cine Ciutat until November 10th. There will be three “Café con cine” meetings at Rialto Living on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival. You can see the full programme of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival and buy your festival tickets online at Tickets are 5€ or you can buy a festival pass for the entire event for €45. To read more articles about people on the island visit


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:, here:, and read more articles about people in Majorca here:

By Vicki McLeod




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  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 To read the full details of Richard’s adventure visit For more island articles visit

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:  For more articles about people on the island visit


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 . 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.”


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.”


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.)


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. Entrada gratuita.

Text Vicki McLeod

(Translated by Victoria Amengual)

Photos Vicki Mcleod and Oliver Neilson