Few people would have expected to see Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Skrillex in the same panel discussing social responsibility within EDM (Electronic Dance Music), but that is what people got last Friday at Sonar. The three electronic musical icons were invited to talk about their involvement and experiences with the project of Bridges for Music in South Africa together with the organisation’s director, Valentino Barrioseta. For the lattter it was of course like a dream coming true; seldom have I seen his eyes sparkle as much as this day. 😉
As I lived the experiences up-close together with the above mentioned men and their crews (told in previous posts here), the excitement of seeing them gathered to present it at a festival like Sonar was huge. Considering the full schedules these guys have one can only imagine how much they’ve traveled since February/ March in South Africa.. Thus some days prior to the conference V and I talked about whether it could seem difficult for them to recall how they perceived the special atmosphere during the township events and express it ‘live’. Additionally we were excited to see how many people would appear.
Thumbs up! Despite of being held in English only, the conference attracted over 200 people and what we knew already we just got confirmed again; Rich, Lucien and Sonny are all highly passionate and professional artists that know well how to engage with their audience. From the very beginning they shared their personal reasons for believing in the project and told various anecdotes surrounding their involvement.
Eager to share the moment we posted many quotes directly to Twitter. Have a look:
It was indeed touching and inspiring to hear the way Rich, Lucien and Sonny talked about their experiences and motivation for the project’s future. And after the screening of this video, I spotted that more than one person was indicating the appearing goose bumps on their arms.
Have you not seen it yet? Then have a look.
If this interests you, please make sure to like Bridges for Music on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter. I can assure you a lot of cool stuff is to come from that side!
The internet has revolutionized the world in many ways; one being the way we’ve shared and got access to new music. But whilst file downloading facilities for long has been an issue of concern in the music industry because music artists earn a lot less on album sales than what used to be the case, the new paradigm for music sharing has indeed contributed to many positive trends; like for instance the clear increase in live music events.
Think about it. Today’s musicians can share, promote and sell their art via the internet in so many new ways at the same time as they deliver it all in person to their audiences in terms of concerts. Because indeed, the new paradigm has led to new music events popping up, and old ones becoming even more popular. And then I’m particularly speaking about festivals.
As a devoted concert- and festival goer since my early childhood I’m personally very thrilled about this development. And I’m not saying that solely from a hedonistic point of view, but out of the strong belief that we all earn on a world where competition within art sectors is more fair. People become better and happier in a world where we more often get together to enjoy art, created by many more artists because it generates new sources for inspiration and creativity as well as an increased feeling of community.
Therefore I’ve put together 4 reasons why to LOVE festivals:
1. Festivals cultivate a special type of atmosphere. Festivals are massive events, they become experiences. Think about it, if you go see Coldplay on their own, for example, you might go with one or two friends, you might have a good time, and then the whole thing’s over in two hours. But if you go to a festival, you spend the entire weekend surrounded by a (bigger) group of friends and tens of thousands “alike” people and there are plenty of concerts to choose from.
2. Festivals are great places to discover newer artists. At a regular concert, you go because you know and like that band and want to see it, but at festivals the lineup is varied and really diverse. You can read about unknown bands and go to their set and discover new acts.
3. Festivals offer several alternatives to music acts for peoples’ get-together and inspiration, and cater for more diverse group of people. This means you are more likely to meet many interesting people (like yourself) on a festival. Hours spent in your camp, in toilet- and food & beer queues often means new friendships, or at least a fun flirt and timely deep random conversation with people you don’t know. And trust me, many of these talks wouldn’t be as natural to get into while queuing for an ATM on any high street during a working day. Because people relax and loose up when at a festival. This is what I refer to with ‘the feeling of community’.
4. Lastly, festivals are good for the economy – many ways. Recently I read that according to Steve Baltin from Rolling Stone magazine, the trend of festivals selling out earlier and earlier each year is a reflection of how people are watching their spending these days. He said that “due to recession people don’t have a lot of money, and the economy is struggling, therefore people rather spend $300 to go see 50 bands and get a feel for everything, or go spend $70 to see one of these headlining bands on their own”. I’m not a victim for recession, but follow that strategy anyway, because I feel I get much more value for the money.
Besides, how many concerts have you seen organised as non-profit events? Not many, right. What I early on loved with festivals like Roskilde and Glastonbury is their non-profit structure and choices of worthy causes. I’m confident that this attracts certain people and energies that we have to keep finding place for in this capitalistic world…
Here’s to a very happy festival summer!
Please note: This post is also published on www.RhythmTravels.com
The video from Richie Hawtin’s South Africa tour together with Bridges for Music is finally live on youtube. It was hard work to put all the footage together to make the best presentation, but I think they’ve nailed it. Like I wrote about here, the days with Richie and his team in South Africa, and the party in Soweto was from another world! Ill never ever forget the feeling I got while there and the happiness in everybody’s eyes. Just by writing about it I get goose bumps!
As if this isn’t enough, it’s now official that not “only” Skrillex and Richie are going to speak at the Sonar + Day panel presenting what Bridges for Music is about, telling their experiences from the launch of it in South Africa, but hold the press: The one and only Luciano is joining too!
Gosh, I can’t wait for this!
Are you going to Sonar this year?
Look at the promotion the event gets on Sonar.es http://sonar.es/en/2013/prg/sm/_38
The photographer Mads Nørgaard is a guy Ive talked about before on this blog. I found him over a year ago, while browsing the world wide web for pictures and texts about townships in South Africa. Mads himself is Danish, but lives in Cape Town where he has got married.
He does documentary, portraits and commercial stuff, and I think my favorite are the docs. The black and white series Bus Terminus that I wrote about some months ago, especially. They are so simple in a way, yet say so much. His perspectives continuously surprise and I admire the way he gets close to people and shoots them without them seeming to bother or be aware at all.
Today he posted his photos from Afrika Burn 2013 (take a look), and well, I see now that just like Valo and I talked about in April “we should have staid some more weeks in Cape Town to attend on that”.
YES! That’s the madness we want.
Mads also has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MadsNorgaardPhotographer?hc_location=stream
Summer 2013 is around the corner and I’m looking forward to go back to Spain for a month or so this year. As always I’m off to Barcelona in June and the Sonar festival (this year even with a proud V that will present the South Africa launch of Bridges for Music), and hopefully to Ibiza & Costa Blanca (Alicante & Valencia). I’ve written a lot about these places before, and will repost some of it this week, starting with the oldest post.
It is a list I first wrote in 2007 over 14 must do/sees in Barcelona. I’ve been to Barcelona several times since and find the musts equally relevant today. Though I’m unfortunately not too updated on the nightlife scene (I haven’t been to more than one of the mentioned clubs for instance) I know they are all there. But do feel free to share your points of view on newer/ other clubs.
In 2004/2005 I was fortunate to work as a volunteer for a huge EU-initiated ONG in Barcelona, and lived for six months together with other young volunteers from various European countries. My particular work experience itself was a rather dark chapter, but that’s another story and anyway I wouldn’t change those months for anything. Besides I was obviously keen to go to Barcelona for much more than the job, just like all the other volunteers. We were there to meet others alike, learn Spanish and “have the time of our lives”. And we had! Some of the guys with whom I lived still live in Barcelona and I dream of living there again one day myself.
So. Here are 14 things to do/see in Barcelona, starting with the obvious temptations:
1. Gaudi, of course. The extraordinary architecture by the extremely innovative and very much admired architect Antoni Gaudi (1852- 1926) is known for having made Barcelona into the city it is today – due to its looks. There is no place in the world you will see anything like the buildings he constructed over hundred years ago. Sagrada Familia, Casa Gaudi, The Guel park, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo and much more. At the tourist information in the airport, or downtown (or at your hotel) you get maps over where to find the marvelous constructions. There is also a Gaudi museum in Barcelona that can be good to start a full-on Gaudi day with. My recommendation however is to divide the Gaudi- tours into two days according to where the spectaculars are and mix the go-see with other interesting things in each part of the city.
2. The beach! When cultural and vibrant cities has a coastline, they often get considered even more beautiful. This fact certainly concerns Barcelona with its not too polluted beaches, despite of being timely over-crowded. The beach is long and I always make sure to give a day to strolling from one end to the other along the well-kept promenade. On the way you can find the perfect slot for you whether that is the more family-friendly, party-like, high-endish, or hippie-ish… There are small beach bars every 100 meter and good restaurants along the promenade. Make sure to choose local small places over chains like KFC.
3. The different barrios. In my opinion you don’t actually get to know a city before you get to know the features of at least 3,4 of its neighbourhoods. Some cities may not have too defined neighbourhoods (something I quickly find boring), but luckily Barcelona does. You can say the typically ‘of tourist interest’ “city center” is what is called Ciutat Vella in which you find the old towns Born & Barrigotic (see the Gothic Quarter!) on one side of the avenue La Rambla, and the vibrant (and very popular) immigrant area Raval on the other. Then you have Barceloneta by the harbour/beach with the areas La Barceloneta & La vila Olimpica. Look at boats, stroll down the beach promenade and if interested visit the Aquarium. If you got more time in Barcelona, or if you are the kind of person not interested in walking where all the other tourists are, consider visiting the surrounding Le Corts (a little west-endish), Gracia and Glories (though the most famous tourist attraction in Spain (La Sagrada Familia) is situated in between the two latter so you do indeed meet foreigners here too).
4. The plazas. Because people love getting together for chats and drinks in a climate that allows it pretty much all year, small and big squares packed with restaurants, bars and fountains are characteristic in South European cities. In Barcelona they are everywhere, however not always that easy to find on a map. Plaza Real (at La Rambla) is one of the bigger and very touristy, Passeig del Borne (Born) is more of a street than a plaza but cool (young, hipstery) people hang here, Plaza del Sol (Gracia) is small, young and hippie-ish, the huge Plaza outside of MACBA in Raval is chilled and full of skaters and tourists, Plaza triangular (Barrigotic) is tiny and quite local, Plaza de Sant Jaume connects two barrios, etc etc. Sit down on the pavement with a taken-away beer, or order a cold Clara (Spanish for shandy) and enjoy.
5. Tapas! Though some Nationalistic Catalans (they’re plenty) would disagree, Barcelona is in Spain, and the Spaniards love their tapas. Get used to eating your lunch and dinner like them – and remember tapas is to be shared between people. The classic ones: aceitunas (olives), pan con tomate (bread with tomato), aioli (thick white sauce made of garlic and olive oil, to eat on bread and with seafood), patatas bravas (thick fried potato chunks with a special spicy tomato sauce), tortilla (thick egg omelet with potatoes) and albondigas (meat balls with a touch) and gambas a la plancha (grilled shrimps, or shrimps cooked in a dry-fryish way on a pan). For the seafood lovers there are plenty of options – especially for the valiant. Grilled pulpo (octupus) and calamar (squid) is very common and delicious! Chipirones en su tinta (mini squids served in their ink!!) as well, and trust me- it’s yummy! Grilled or dry-fried boquerones (anchovies) you eat whole, and various bacalao (cod in sauce) dishes are served many places. And don’t forget your sangria, it’s just a myth Spanish people don’t drink that.
6. La Champañeria. Actually I was unsure whether to post about this, or not, as it’s one of these places you love just the way it is. But I hate it when others keep those secrets away from me, so here it goes. La Champañeria is a gem of an authentic Spanish cava & tapas bar. It’s located at the bottom of Born, in the small street Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7 (close to the harbour). You find it by noticing the crowd of people outside, especially around midday (lunch time for locals). In my opinion it’s the perfect place to go as a couple or with a small group after (or before) a day on the beach. The bar is tiny, but it takes surprisingly many people if you squeeze your way inside to the corners. And beware! You go to La Champañeria to get some local, historic vibes and taste their Cava and tapas (both simple, but delicious). In here you kick your way through used carton plates and tissues, and order at the bar with jams hanging over your head. The old sweaty waiters are in a hurry and don’t speak much English, so be patient and speak clearly as it’s normally crowded and noisy. One bottle is served with three plates of tapas. Open from 9am – 10.30pm, closed on Sundays.
7. La Boqueria. This is one of the oldest markets in town, and easy to find on a map and by walking up La Rambla. It’s a good place to suck in some history and watch how a typical old Spanish market works, and to buy fresh bread, cheese, fruits, fish and meet (if you live in an apartment and want to cook).
8. Understand the Spanish VS Catalan issue. The sooner you learn some about this, the better. It can in fact affect even a short stay in Barcelona, if the (wrong) person confronts you with this and feel you’re ignorant to the topic. Respect the locals’ feelings about this topic. Advice: Learn to say good day and thanks in Catalan – they’ll love you for it. “Bon dia” & “Merci” (NOT “Buenos dias” & “Gracias” – that’s Spanish!).
9. Bars! Oh lord.. Where to start? I’d say the nicest bars are the ones you don’t find in the middle of La Rambla. Then again, some of the most historical ones (and also frequently visited by locals) are very close by. Just google and mark them on a map and start your round. The level of cocktail making skills is high! In Raval you have Rabipelao, Ambar and Lobo bar: all stylish yet chilled and great fun. Close by are the two old and unique bars Bar Marsella (be careful with the absinthe, they’re not joking), and Le Pastis (Raval). However Boadas in Barrigotic claims to be the oldest in Barcelona and you definitely go here if you want to feel like in the 40’s again. Sugar bar, Pipa club and Le Petit Jet lag are also all in Gotic, tiny and innovative. In Born around Passeig del Borne and its side streets (mentioned above) you have many more! Not to mention in Gracia. Long story short: BARcelona!
1o. Nightlife! My favorite club when I lived here was Sala Apolo! An old small theatre situated in Raval (metro stop Paralel). It still exists and hopefully ever will, has amazing bookings and loads of experimental electronica and hip hop. Razzmatazz is also great, a huge venue with 5 rooms and good concerts from time to time. La Paloma is a historical gem but be sure to check it’s open. It constantly has neighbour trouble as it’s in the middle of a resident area in Raval. La Terraza is beautiful and located up in the hills of the city (perfect for warm summer night), though it’s not my kind of vibe (quite high-endish). City Hall (on Placa Catalunya) also had some good concepts going on, but I’m afraid you have to find out of these things yourself when first deciding to go somewhere. Depends on your music and style, amigo. I’d check ResidentAdvisor.com and Timeout.com to find recommendations for the style/music I’d fancy. El Row 14 is apparently a mad club where they play with inflammable toys and dress out. It typically offers electronic music and is probably for the more party valiant as it’s situated a bit outside town and in the Spanish clubbing-way open til early morning (I’ve heard many people start their daytime party here around 10am). Very good bookings of national and international DJs.
11. Get inspired! Absorb quirky art and fabulous street performance. Regarding street performance, many seem to think that the street artists in La Rambla are of the best. Re contemporary art, visit MACBA in Raval and google where to find other galleries – they’re plenty! Between Gotic and Born you have two streets full of photo shops and posters and quirky art that I love to visit. For graffiti-interested google this too, -there is a lot of inspirational stuff to see in all neighbourhoods.
12. Festivals. Yup. The Spaniards love their holidays and any other excuse to throw a party. Feb/ March: Sitges (gay) Carnival – has become a wild tourist attraction. Each end of May/June: Primavera soundfestival. Mid June: Barcelona’s biggest festival (electronic music but also experimental and old school hip hop. June 24: San Juan (celebration of a saint (generally speaking: a massive beach party). September 24: La Merce (kids, families, tourists enjoying the Carnival parade with tons of crazy fireworks on the streets). Plus more, more, more. Google!
13. Tibidabo. Go hiking (and later watch/try the old carousels) in Barcelona’s highest mountain and get the most beautiful view over the city! On Tibidabo not only do you get nature and a spectacular view, you get to visit the antique amusement park (known from the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona) and see another precious cathedral.
14. Avoid getting pick-pocketed, or mugged! With mass tourism, Barcelona that also holds a huge number of poor inhabitants, has become a mecca for pick-pockets. Like in any other place in the world you have to take precautions, and the typical advices are: Don’t watch street performers in crowded areas/ stand on crowded metros/ walk in crowded streets without having control of you valuables. It is quite common that kids from marginalised backgrounds go over to tourists tables and ask for money, cigarettes or directions. They can put a note, or a map on the table and steel what’s under it without you noticing. I’ve been many places considered more ‘dangerous’ than Barcelona, and it may of course be a coincidence, but I’ve never been a place where I’ve seen (and stopped) as many robberies as here.
General points: Barcelona is perfect for a lot of walking so wear good shoes. To travel further however you depend on taxis and public transport. The latter is more environmentally friendly and a cheaper and fun way to see the city. Barcelona is very children- and gay friendly.
It hasn’t actually been the plan to escape winter like this for two years in a row, but now that I am, I’m not complaining. Though I did wish – a couple of weeks before heading home from South Africa– to get a few Norwegian winter days for skiing and to wear huge winter coats.
Then it took me 20 minutes of Toten (where my mum lives on a farm) with its crispy aired early morning and late nights to get reminded how nice it is when spring is around the corner. It really makes people happier too (even more so in Nordic countries), and who doesn’t prefer times in which people smile more.
So. After a very nice, long South African summer, I’m now already preparing for an European summer. And to me that always means FESTIVALS.
This year I think Ill top my personal record with the number of festivals Ill attend. Part from the three Ive already attended in Cape Town (read here), these are the festivals Ill go to:
Yeah I know, brag brag, but WOOP WOOP
Read more here about why I love festivals.
The story I told about the two days Luciano was in Cape Town and Johannesburg with us is being rewritten, so please bare with me (I had a terrible cold at the time and wrote about it in a stressed situation ending up focusing on a bunch of irrelevant details).
For now, enjoy this video (created October 2013) from the small tour Luciano did in Cape Town with Bridges for Music was recently uploaded on their homepage
Good times, and I wanna go back so badly!! South Africa in my H E A R T!
and Luciano too. Such a cutie!