“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.


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.


“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.”


“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


You can’t stop the party

David-Guetta-at-Mallorca-Rocks-PHOTO-CREDIT-PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA-8-of-78-1024x682Thirteen thousand people had a date last weekend with French DJ David Guetta at a much publicised event in Majorca, only to be stood up at the last minute when it transpired that the promoters hadn’t quite got round to organising all of the paperwork. “Boo”: a lot of disappointed people and “Whoops”: terrible PR for the internationally famous DJ who had only just got over the embarrassment of another gig being cancelled due to licensing issues at the Jarama stadium in Madrid in July (also organised by the same promoter).

As the news was announced coincidentally Guetta’s manager was having lunch with the owner and founder of Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks, Andy McKay. A plan was soon hatched to try to stage a free gig to compensate the fans.  Only a quarter of the original audience would be able to fit into the snug confines of the Mallorca Rocks Hotel, but it was decided that at least this would be some way towards making it up to the people. At a press conference on Wednesday evening, prior to David taking the stage at Mallorca Rocks in Magaluf he and his manager spent twenty minutes with the press: a rare chance to meet a man who is adored all round the world.David Guetta at Mallorca Rocks PHOTO CREDIT PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA  (2 of 5)The first questions from the press were dominated by the subject of “what exactly happened?” Guetta replied, “To be honest I don’t know what happened, I was ready to take the flight to go play and they told me it was cancelled, my team was there, everybody was there, the sound check,  everything, we were ready to perform.  When I do a concert I am hired by a company who is the promoter, and they hire a venue and I work for them. Unfortunately it was cancelled at the last minute; I felt really bad for my fans, and I wanted to give something back to them”.  Guetta went on to thank Mallorca Rocks and Andy McKay for the enormous effort they had made with short notice.

David-Guetta-at-Mallorca-Rocks-PHOTO-CREDIT-PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA-4-of-22-1024x682It’s hard to understand David Guetta’s appeal until you have experienced the effect his music has on an audience. To many people a DJ is just someone who puts on records, but to others a DJ takes you on a journey through sounds, beats and melodies interspersed with meaningful lyrics and potent hooks to bring you back around and deeper in. This is what David Guetta is famous for, producing and playing music which makes people feel good. He has been DJing for more than twenty years, but only really started to attract attention in 2001 and then hit the big time internationally in 2009 with “When Love Takes Over”. He has collaborated with a roll call of famous singers and musicians, including Rhianna, Kelly Rowland, Flo Rida, and even Madonna. What did he think of her? “She is a legend, I respect her longevity.  I am finishing my next album now and it’s difficult to reinvent yourself as an artist so many times, so I respect this a lot. To have one record which is amazing is already great, sometimes it can be an accident, you have a sound or an idea and it comes at the right time, but when you do it every time then it’s really something else”.

David Guetta at Mallorca Rocks PHOTO CREDIT PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA  (5 of 5)It wouldn’t be summer in the Balearics without a single from Guetta, and he has finally released his offering for 2014. “It’s called “Lovers on the sun”, I’m finishing the video now, I produced it together with Avici and we are presenting a new vocalist, Sam Martin. As much as I have been working with the big stars I like to work with new talent as well”.

David-Guetta-at-Mallorca-Rocks-PHOTO-CREDIT-PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA-39-of-78-1024x682The French are famous for being the “avant garde” and being in front of the fashion, so in five years’ time what kind of music does he think he will he be doing? “In five years? I have no idea. I am actually learning about how to live in the present. This is a very tough job for me because I am completely a control freak, I always want to know what is going to happen and plan everything. My personal journey now is to try to enjoy the present and to live without the fear of the future, so it’s not the right time for me to answer a question about what I am going to be doing in five years because I am doing all of this work not to think about it!”


The press conference closed with David being asked what he thought of Majorca compared to Ibiza “You shouldn’t ask me the question because I don’t know Majorca enough. But by definition I prefer Ibiza to any other place in the world, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t love Majorca as much”.

David-Guetta-at-Mallorca-Rocks-PHOTO-CREDIT-PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA-22-of-22-1024x682Having heard the roars of love and excitement from the crowd as they waited for their idol to come to the stage at the completely packed out Mallorca Rocks Hotel on Wednesday night I think Majorca is quite fond of him as well. Guetta made a short speech to the audience saying “Thank you for coming, no body’s going to stop this party!” and with that he played his hits back to back and inside out for two solid hours.


More photos at http://www.phoenixmediamallorca.com

Photos and text: Vicki McLeod

Learning to see through new eyes.

Diana Hirsch

Diana Hirsch

Diana Hirsch is like a breath of fresh air. Her passion, sincerity and enthusiasm for her life and her work make her a pleasure to spend time with, and to cap it off, she is extremely good at what she does: photography, and the teaching of the art. It seems a little controversial to some that photography should be considered an art form, but to Diana it absolutely is: “The art of photography is a very recent gift to humanity that moves us often in unforgettable ways. Modern life would be inconceivable without images”.

Diana has been working as a photographer for many years now, and specialises in creative photography, weddings, and portraits. Her photographs express joy, beauty, and humour, very much like Diana herself. There are transferable skills that good photographers and teachers share: the ability to connect with people, put them at their ease, and guide them gently into what you want them to do. “There was a time, many years ago, when I was asked continually whether I’d like to share my knowledge, to actually teach how I take photographs. I thought, why not? And that’s how I got started. I have been teaching photography courses and holding workshops for many years now and can say that, for me, teaching my art is as fulfilling as photography itself. So “Photoclasses Majorca” is not just a photography school, but rather my second passion as a photographer”. And so it is in this capacity that I find and meet Diana and attend her Beginners’ Photography Classes.

“Anyone can take pictures. Even a machine. But not everyone can watch. Photography is art only in so far as to use the art of observing. Observation is an elementary poetic process. The reality must be shaped, it wants to speak and reveal”. Friedrich Dürrematt

Getting up before dawn pays off

Getting up before dawn pays off (Photo by Vicki McLeod)

I’ve been interested in photography for many years now, but being married to a professional photographer (Oliver Neilson) doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to pick up the knack. I’d wanted to take my own photos, and increasingly have had to for my work, but always with a generous dash of hit and miss as I didn’t really understand the second hand camera that I had acquired for myself. I knew that I was not going to learn (like many others do) via You Tube or the internet, as I have to learn in a group with a teacher. I knew that if I just tried to learn at home in spare moments that I would never pick up the skills that I needed to start to make photographs that I would be proud of. I also knew, just like my father hadn’t been able to teach me to drive a car when I was 17 that my husband, as brilliant at photography as he is, would not be able to teach me to drive a camera: we’re just too close and it’s a great way to start an unnecessary row!

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved”. Ansel Adams

Happy Snappers!

Happy Snappers! (Photo by Danyel Andre)

Enter Diana Hirsch and her 20 hour (three day) intensive course.  The first two days are in a classroom, and the third out on location. It’s aimed at beginners wanting to understand their DSLR cameras, and who want to say goodbye to using the fully automatic mode. We start our course with theory sessions and Diana explains the process of photography, features and properties of lenses, cameras, some special effects such as motion blur, freezing objects in motion, and learning how to control and manipulate your shutter, aperture, ISO, the art of composition and using light, under and over exposure, and depth of field.  Diana tells us that “the word “Photo – graphy” comes from the Greek words meaning “to draw with light”. This is a wonderful explanation for what we are doing when we press the button.
A good photographer paints with light, conveying a unique message in such a way that can never be recaptured”.

Getting right into it

Getting right into it (Photo by Danyel Andre)

We go outside of the classroom occasionally to practice the theory and soon I cannot wait to get on location and really get stuck in to it. When Sunday morning dawns I am already up, in the car and on my way to our meeting spot in the north of the island. We arrive just before the sun rises and set up. Soon we are taking some of the best photographs I have ever done, and without all the hit and miss, accidental elements that have littered my shots up until now. We go to several different spots and learn and practice and shoot, shoot, shoot.

Reviewing the images we’ve taken (Photo by Danyel Andre)

After a few hours we have all taken a lot of photos and we retire to a bar to look at what we have achieved. We are all delighted with our results, and it’s great to share the experience with each other. “Now you will “see” photos in places you would never have imagined, “ says Diana, “Photography is not only used to make an exact copy of the world around us but to surprise, to move, to impress, to motivate and to dream… You have to keep it up now, you have to keep taking photos and enjoying it!” and I know there’s no stopping me now.

Sunrise over Playa de Muro (Photo by Vicki McLeod! Yes, me!)

I have been very fortunate in the past year or so to meet a few really fantastic teachers who have helped me personally to move forwards with my own ambitions and dreams and I count Diana Hirsch amongst those people.  As we finish our last session on the Sunday afternoon I realise I owe her a great debt now, she has opened up a world to me that I have always longed to understand, and now I am on the other side of the door, exploring, and seeing in a different way.

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis”. Henri Cartier-Bresson

Diana teaches courses in English, German or Spanish. You can get information about her photography classes and contact her here: www.photoclasses.eu . More examples of Diana’s work are here www.white-majorca.com and here www.dianahirsch.com.

To read more articles about people on the island visit http://www.mallorcastories.com

“I dreamt of exactly this”.

Vicki McLeod, photographer, Mallorca

Jake Bugg
Palmanova July 2014

It’s quite a sleepy Jake Bugg that stumbles down from his room to sit on a sunny hotel terrace on the afternoon before his gig at Mallorca Rocks Hotel. He’s got good reason to be tired as he seems to be permanently on tour. His manager, Jason, lists the European cities and countries that they will be crossing in the next six months, it’s intense, but apparently that’s the way Jake likes it.

Jake Bugg’s first album entered the UK album charts in October 2012 at number one, toppling Mumford & Sons making him the youngest British male at the age of 18 years and 8 months to premiere at the top of the charts with his debut album. This past year has seen him steadily rising up the bill for festivals, last Sunday he played his unique skiffle and blues flavoured songs to more than 70´000 people in Glasgow at T in the Park.

The media love him, and love to talk about him, his clothes, his supermodel girlfriend, his alleged dislike of One Direction and Harry Styles; they also love to speculate about whether he’s moving to the States or if he’s going to do a Dolly Parton inspired country album, so I guess we’ll start with that.

“Dolly Parton at Glastonbury, yeah. I don’t normally read my reviews but I couldn’t help myself from reading about that one. It said I was really inspired after watching Dolly Parton’s set. But I couldn’t even have watched her set as I was on straight after her and didn’t have the time so I don’t know where that came from. I like country music, Jolene’s a great song, Dolly has great songs and a great voice. Her show is pretty cool: it’s like the story of her life through her music. But, I’m not going to be releasing a Dolly tribute album anytime soon, let’s just clear that up now”.

I  warm to Jake immediately, he’s very laid back, something which seems to have been misunderstood for sullenness in some quarters, but he’s a polite lad from a working class estate in Clifton who’s worked very hard to get to where he is. It was when Jake was twelve that his uncle gave him his first guitar lesson one afternoon after his beloved football training. “My uncle just started showing me a few chords, he said the guitar was going to gather dust in the corner, I played these two chords he showed me and I just fell in love with it. I was thinking, wow I can make this cool sound, well it weren’t cool to everyone else but me at the time, just by moving my fingers a little bit, and I just couldn’t put it down. It became a hobby”.

He perks up a bit when we start talking about football and a smile spreads across his lips. “When I picked up a guitar I kind of fell out of love with football, but now I’m getting back into it. We’ve got some matches coming up against our support band soon and Notts County have said I can go and train with them”.

There was always music in the house when he was growing up. His mum had a very diverse taste, from boy bands to Beethoven. “My mum knows a lot about different types of music, the weird thing is she never liked the blues, no one in my family liked the blues, so that was my own little disco really, which is probably why I fell in love with it a little bit more. I heard the story about Robert Johnson going to the cross roads and selling his soul to the devil for his music: the story just pulled me in and then I heard his songs and they haunted me.  I read that people like Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones heard his music and thought it was two people playing when it was just him on his own; he was just a great, great musician. {Robert Johnson was an Afro American blues musician recording in 1936 and 1937} It was just soulful: they had nothing back then, they were living on the cotton fields, they had nothing, they were just sat out on the porches playing music and singing from their soul, just beautiful. They had it so hard, it was another world: you can’t imagine it now. I’m so thankful he gave us something very special, great music that still exists today, and a lot of stuff transcended from it, it was the roots for country, and rock and roll.”

Jake grew up on an estate in the Clifton area of Nottingham, he didn’t have any money to go out and spent most of his time at home practising and practising the guitar. “My first public gig was when I was fifteen. I played in this little bar; there weren’t many people in there. I took my cousin and my uncle. I was nervous but I was excited at the same time. I played a mix of my own stuff and covers. My cousin who was in a band had told me that you should have half an hour’s worth of material so I tried to write half an hour’s worth of stuff so that I could just go out and do gigs. Then I started gigging and I met Jason who became my manager. He got me into a recording studio and I got a record deal pretty quickly. It was amazing how easy it was to get a record deal. Every artist out there, that’s what they strive for. But when you get the record deal that’s when you realise actually that was the easiest bit of it all, and that’s a mad realisation. Then the hard work starts. The record label will probably sign ten acts in a year and maybe one of them will do well. When I was signed there were other artists around who got signed at the same time that were doing maybe a little bit better than me and then their careers didn’t take off and you’d see them going further down the bill as I was going up. It’s scary because it makes you think ‘when is it just going to stop, when is it going to end’. You can sit in bed and worry about it every night like I do for two minutes and then you have to think, well the time I am spending worrying about it I could actually be using it to be productive to help maintain my career and keep going up”.

Even though Jake is only just twenty years old he seems to have an old head screwed firmly onto his young shoulders. He’s quite philosophical about his success and seems to take the attention in his stride, “There might be highs and lows, if you look at someone amazing like Leonard Cohen, if you put his career on a chart it doesn’t always go up, it flows, it goes down and back up, sometimes it plateaus, so you have to be prepared for that. Keep your fans in mind, they’re the ones that are going out and buying your records but also don’t make a song which doesn’t feel like it’s you. It’s got to come from you, that’s the important thing”.

“With any art format there’s always an element of self-indulgence. With my stuff, especially with my first album, the songs are about where I come from, my experiences, and what I’ve seen, but even so people have just related to it anyway. It’s mad to be able to go to really different parts of the world like Japan and South America and for the audience to be stood there singing your songs back to you. It’s like, wow, my songs are about the little estate where I come from and you lot are singing them back to me. It’s very strange”.

“You try to pick out those similarities when you travel around, you’ll see something and “oh that’s just like that thing back home. It’s like dreaming, you know when you dream you are in your own house, but the stairs are the other way around or something’s upside down, it’s not quite the same but it’s very familiar. I wrote the whole of my second album on the road.”

Jake is clear that the backbone to any successful career in music is the music. “I’d say the most important thing, in my opinion, the key to it all, is songs. You have to have songs which people relate to and have a connection with, that they want to watch you perform live, that’s what is going to propel you: songs are the answer. All these people who are around today, all the legends: people like Neil Young and Led Zeppelin, you remember them because they have great tunes. If you write songs which are powerful enough for people to appreciate then they’ll appreciate you as well I think.”

It is inevitable that his experiences have changed him from the naïve Clifton boy he was into the experienced professional musician he has become, “On my first album all the things I was singing about were from me observing and experiencing life on my estate, but on the second album I was looking at it from the outside in. I’ve doing all right for myself and you go to see your family and your friends and you have little conversations with them, and they’re worrying about bills or what so and so is doing nowadays, or who’s gone to prison, and you hear stories about kids that you’ve gone to school with and grown up with, and you hear about them dealing, I would never have thought that person would have gone that way. It’s sad really.”

Indeed music, his precocious talent and a good dollop of luck have saved him from potentially a similar fate. “For me it’s my outlet, it’s what keeps me sane and makes me feel good inside, expressing my emotions and things that I don’t feel that I can talk about, I project them through my music. It makes me happy, at the end of the day when you want to cut yourself off I will just sit in the corner and pick up my guitar and go into my own little world.”

“I hope that I manage to maintain what I have achieved, I’ve already achieved more than I could have dreamt of”, he stops himself, checks himself and smiles, “well no, I dreamt of exactly this. When I was a kid I dreamt of being able to see Metallica, I never thought I would be actually clashing with them at different stages at Glastonbury. It was ridiculous really; it couldn’t have gone much better for me I think. I just want to keep doing my shows, and keep making music for people to listen to.”

That night at the gig in Magalluf I watch young British men on holiday who look exactly like Jake passionately singing Jake’s songs back to him. At least it doesn’t look like Jake is going to need to sell his soul to the devil anytime soon.

Jake Bugg was talking to Vicki McLeod

©VickiMcLeod2014 http://www.mallorcastories.com

Photos of Jake in performance CLICK HERE 

“We will not be silenced”

Rainbow Warrior Open Boat in Amsterdam

Ibiza is best known for all-night clubbing with an A-list celebrity crowd and partying, but it  is also home to two national parks, environmentalists living off the grid on solar power, and is considered of such ecological and cultural importance that the UN designated the Balearic island and its surrounding waters a world heritage site. Despite this the Scottish oil company Cairn Energy has been granted a license by Spanish central government to explore for oil off of the coast of the white isle at the nature reserve Es Vedrà.

When the news broke there was public outrage and local people and even local politicians were in agreement that this should not happen. In February 2014, more than 10,000 people marched through Ibiza Town, and around 60,000 signed a petition against oil exploration in the region. Twenty people posed naked covered in mock oil for a piece of performance art. The battle went online, with a social media blitz by celebrities who regularly visit Ibiza, including singers Dannii Minogue and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Everyone thought that the threat had been thwarted. Sadly, no as was highlighted recently when Greenpeace’s flagship The Rainbow Warrior arrived in Ibiza and then came on to Majorca to spread the word about the impending threat to the Balearics.

Cairn Energy, whose plans to look for oil in the Arctic have made it the target of green campaigners in the past , says that although it holds licences to explore for oil in the Gulf of Valencia, to the north-west of Ibiza, any seismic testing or the drilling of test wells is pending. The company is awaiting a decision on its environmental impact assessment by Spanish authorities due in late summer, which will determine whether it can continue. The government says Spain imports more than 99% of its oil and gas, at great expense, and that it must ensure energy security.

VM: How long have you been with Greenpeace? How did you become part of the organisation? Captain Stewart: I was born in Oregon in the U.S.A. I am a professional commercial captain and I had been volunteering for Greenpeace and participating in manifestations. In 1989 I heard about the job vacancy for Captain on the new Rainbow Warrior and applied for it. It’s very important that we follow all of the regulations as Greenpeace is frequently targeted by organisations and we have to have everything in order. It’s very important to have sympathy for the goals that Greenpeace is working towards: you need to be an activist at heart and have a sincere wish to make changes and motivate people.

What is the most important thing you have done during your time with Greenpeace? The campaign right now is definitely the most important one I have been involved with. My biggest goal is to end the age of fossil fuels and save the biodiversity of our oceans. We must stop this runaway train which is out of control. If we continue like this we’re going to be extinct. We are losing the Arctic ice: we will face environmental disaster, the sea levels will rise, there will be hurricanes, and typhoons: that will be our future. Can you imagine parts of the world being uninhabitable? We could have more than 50 million refugees.

The urgent challenge is how we are going to get off of fossil fuels. We have to do it, and we have to do it now if we are to avert disaster, if we don’t we are leaving our next generation to suffer. We have to stop. If we don’t stop then we have lost the battle of climate change.  We have to draw the line here. As the Arctic ice cap melts you will be faced with an extreme mega drought in the Balearics, are you ready for that?

What do you think is the most important thing we as individuals can do for the environment? We can do a lot through our own personal choices and actions. We can minimise the use of fossil fuels in our day to day lives, we can ride a bicycle rather than drive a car, but the main thing we must all do is lobby the politicians. We must vote out the politicians who are supporting oil exploration and vote in politicians who support clean energy.

Does it make any sense to you that the big oil company Cairn has been given the rights by the Spanish government to even propose this exploration?  You shouldn’t let these people into the Balearics. We don’t want the government to support the reckless actions of Cairn. The main economic employment in the Balearics is tourism. Cairn claims that with the exploration there would be economic benefits, but there would be none for the inhabitants of the islands, all the money would be kept by Cairn and any employment would be given to cheap immigrant labour rather than locals. Far from representing a domestic, independent energy source, the fuel could be exported and sold to the highest bidder. The profits would belong to Cairn, not Spain. In fact the oil drilling would destroy many beaches and the livelihoods for the fishing community in the Balearics.

What is involved in oil exploration? What happens? Central government have given the license to explore despite the desires of the local government. The first stage of this is the seismic (acoustic) tests which are due to start in November. Marine acoustic tests devastate marine life, interfering with the ability to orientate, breed and navigate. Eggs and larva are destroyed and internal bleeding, injuries and eventually death, are the result. The area where the drilling is proposed to happen is home to oceanic Posidonia, a giant sea grass only found in Europe. The Posidonia, a flowering plant commonly known as Neptune grass, creates a five-mile underwater meadow to the south of Ibiza. It provides an important place for fish to breed, and serves an ecological function by cleaning the water. The proposed drilling site is also in the middle of a cetacean (dolphins) migration corridor.

How big would the threat be of an oil spillage? How likely? If they start drilling in a deep water environment as they proposing to do, there is no way they would be able to contain a leak. Cairn is looking at exploring for oil at depths of 1,000-1,500 metres, which would mean its platform had the same characteristics of Deepwater [Horizon, the source of the 2010 BP oil spill]. If there was a spill, it would be the ‘Balearic problem’ because of the currents. Even in the Gulf of Mexico they couldn’t clean it up. If there were an oil spillage it would affect all the coasts of the Mediterranean: France, Italy, Spain. The entire sea would be inevitably fouled. And to add insult to injury what happens when these sorts of leaks occur? Who do you think pays for them? It isn’t the oil company who pays for the clean-up; it is paid for with public taxes. They are not held liable for even a fraction of the cost.


The Greenpeace info says that the activists erected an “oil containment barrier” at Es Vedra. What is an oil containment barrier? Why did you do that? We did a demonstration with an oil containment barrier. They are a bit of a joke really as they don’t actually work in open water. They are supposed to float on the surface and make it more difficult for the oil to move around. But the reality is that it would not be able to contain a spillage as it is not effective in high seas or rough weather. We want to make sure that you understand that if you as a country allow this drilling to happen that you are going to wipe out your biodiversity in the Balearics. You will wipe out many species of sea life.


Do you think the campaign has had any effect or impact? People have been visiting the ship at every port of call, and we have been very pleased with the response.  We have been partnering with Mar Blava Alliance and we are very happy to support them in what they are doing to protest and oppose this drilling. I can tell you the people I am speaking to everywhere we go are very concerned about what is happening.

In our study, Energia 3.0, we show that by 2050, a future scenario of a global energy model without fossil fuels, using 100% renewable sources of energy is both technically possible and economically feasible. Greenpeace see the world as being on the cusp of an energy revolution, compelled by the pressures of climate change. Even the extremely moderate United Nations say that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of global climate change. This, they insist, has to stop. For the future of everyone.

What would be suitable replacement energy sources for the Balearics? We have a lot of options for renewable energies, many of which are completely feasible. The only thing we have to do is get the political will to change and to insist on change.

What can we do as individuals to prevent the oil exploration happening in the Balearics? 

Visit http://alianzamarblava.org/en/  and sign the petition, follow them and Greenpeace on Facebook, Twitter, whatever you use.

Sign the Greenpeace petition against oil exploration in the Mediterranean http://www.greenpeace.org/espana/es/Que-puedes-hacer-tu/Ser-ciberactivista/no-prospecciones-petroleo/  (put your Passport number where it says DNI if you don’t have that number, and leave the phone number blank).

Like https://www.facebook.com/ibizasaysno

Share this article on the social networks. Let people know what is happening. Use the hashtag #ProspeccionesNO

Join the campaign against drilling for oil in the Arctic Sea – whatever follows there will irrevocably determine the future of the planet.  http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/what-you-can-do

The Rainbow Warrior III in London

Has Greenpeace changed anything about their campaigning approach since the problems the Arctic Sunrise encountered in Russia? We are not going to allow ourselves to be silenced; we will not let anyone silence us. We are increasing our campaign for the Global Arctic Sanctuary.  Five million people have signed to support us. We will not allow any government, country or company to illegally imprison our crew or our ship. We will take action when and where we deem necessary to continue to push for the end of the use of fossil fuels. 

Where are you headed for now? We’re on our way to the site of the Concordia in Italy because Greenpeace disagrees with the proposed moving of the cruise ship. We believe there are easier and less risky ways to salvage the wreck.

Captain Joel Stewart was speaking to Vicki McLeod

As we go to press the Spanish government has granted Cairn Energy an exploration permit and is currently waiting for an Environmental Impact Assessment to start seismic testing.

Simple lifestyle changes you can make. Recycle, treat your local environment with respect.  Don’t leave litter. Support businesses which are actively making an effort to do the same. Don’t use the plastic bags from the supermarket. Take a reusable one or use boxes if you have a car. Cut your plastic consumption by buying 5 litre bottles and refill your small bottle each day. Cut down on use of your private vehicle. Use public transport, walk, or cycle.

Background information: The Guardian, Greenpeace, Ibiza Spotlight

“It’s what you are to each other that counts”

Rosemary Stone  Portals  May 2014

Rosemary Stone
May 2014

“I was adopted as a baby in Bristol by my parents Ray and Hilda Stone. Until I was ten and my mum’s friend had a baby I thought that everyone was adopted. My parents were wonderful, they loved and respected each other and taught my adopted brother and I to do the same. I first came to Majorca when I was 21 years old, working as a nanny in a kids’ club in Cala Mesquida. It was quite a lonely place: 2 ½ hours’ drive to Palma back then but I really liked the weather. In the UK I’d worked with wards of court so it was lovely to see children on holiday having a great time!

“I decided to stay and found a governess job through the Bulletin. I looked after two little girls who I’m still in touch with thirty five years later. I went on to teach at Queens College for many years whilst I had children of my own, Xisco and Laura. I loved teaching so it had to be something very special to make me leave: I eventually did when I followed my dreams and set up “Biz Baleares” helping people set up, buy and sell their businesses, navigating the maze of paperwork and set up costs. My business soon earned itself a good reputation and was well known although not always popular because of my strict code of business ethics as I would only sell businesses that I considered viable. Many people coming to Majorca face ruin through poor financial planning and unrealistic expectations. I am very happy that many of the businesses I worked with are still thriving today.

“I first met Allen, the man who was to eventually become my second husband, in 1990. But I didn’t really start to get to know him until I attended his church in Santa Ponsa with my good friend Sue. Everyone thinks that church should be a serious place but Allen didn’t and he made the service so much fun, telling jokes and even performing magic tricks.  Allen had been helping the orphanages on the island by buying the children Christmas presents and soon through my connections at Queens, The Bay Entertainers, Brownies, Guides and so on I was being given money to pass on to him for the children. The Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz was founded in 1992, it is dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and young adults in Majorca who, through no fault of their own, do not have the opportunity to develop the skills that ensure a secure and safe future.

“I am now President of the charity; we support children in care and leaving care. It’s a voluntary post, very rewarding and very emotional. It always shocks people when we tell them about how many international children are in care in Majorca, they have been abandoned, badly treated, abused or, for various reasons, have parents who are unable to care for them. We have seen many of the children grow up; the charity has a wonderful relationship with all the homes which is great as we get to know the children and them us. Last year when we had a stand at the “Crew Show” at Mood Beach one of the waitresses dropped her tray when she saw our logo, she ran over and gave me a big hug and said “your logo reminds me of all the wonderful times especially Christmas growing up in the children’s home, thank you so much for giving me so much”.  I am so proud of the progress made by the children we help, they have had such a bad start in life. We are helping so many of them in so many ways, the charity has an apartment for them to live in when they turn eighteen, we put them through college and help them through the tough times. We’re their family in many cases. Just like their contemporaries in “normal families”, they need to feel they have a future, one that is full of opportunities, hope and happiness.

“In September 2008 I was cycling through Albuffarra in Alcudia when I had a strange sensation in my left arm. I drove to Palma and popped into a chemist where they took my blood pressure, and was told to go straight to Son Dureta. Eventually after having a very severe Angina attack I was fitted with three stents in my arteries, and then another two three years later. I was amazed that I had had no symptoms, no warning at all, so I decided to put more time into looking after myself. I read a book called “Reversing Heart Disease” and started exercising at the Country Club in Santa Ponca with a wonderful trainer, Lidia, and watching my diet. I don’t eat any red meat, or any type of oil, spreads or dairy products. I train at the gym three times a week and try to exercise as much as possible every day. I have lost 15 kilos, reduced my cholesterol and have been able to lower the dosage of the tablets I am on. People are always telling me how much better I look and that’s a great indication to me that I am doing the right thing. Now I am just getting on with my life and enjoying everything.

“Allen and I married two years ago. We are very much in sync with each other and work well as a team, he makes me laugh, and is everything I  could wish for in a husband. My two children are my best friends, we are always in contact and I see them often. I also see so many of the children that I taught in Queens College and of course from AGC. I have realized over the years that it doesn’t matter whether your parents are your blood relatives or not. It’s what you are to each other that counts”.

Rosemary Stone was talking to Vicki McLeod

You can find out more about here: www.agrahamcharity.org To contact Rosemary about business email: fixitmallorca@hotmail.com  To read more articles about people on the island read http://www.mallorcastories.com