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Posts Tagged ‘dance’

As soon as we heard that Ministry of Sound were going to be appearing in Santa Cruz on the first Saturday night of Carnaval 2011 it was a foregone conclusion. We would be there.

There was much debate over how we would get in and out of the city, tales of traffic mayhem being rife, but the prospect of long walks, a bus ride dressed as Hit Girl and Brother Jack, another long walk and no idea of how we would get home again settled it. We’d take our chances and drive into the city.

I drew the designated driver short straw and we set off around 10.40pm to give ourselves plenty of time to check out all the venues in the city before heading to Plaza Europa to share the Ministry of Sound experience. As it turned out, driving into the city couldn’t have been easier. We arrived at the bus station car park to find plenty of spaces (the Canarios don’t tend to like paying for parking when an empty pedestrian crossing costs nothing) and with the final touches applied to our costumes, headed off into the surreal pandemonium that is carnival.

Everywhere we went, the sights and smells of food assailed us, from candy floss and sugared almonds at the fairground, through baked potatoes and hot dogs along the paseo marítima to the amazing food stall in Plaza Candelaria with its Desperate Dan– sized montaditos and its rotating barbecue on which half suckling pigs sizzled.

Everyone who wasn’t eating, and most of those who were, were drinking, and the ground was littered with carrier bags bulging with bags of ice, bottles of Jack Daniels, Smirnoff, Arehucas, cans of Red Bull and bottles of coke from which groups were serving themselves generous refills in between salsas. Beer stalls lined every street, their counters propped up by escapees from a drug-induced nightmare, and a giant plastic lime with its top half sliced and opened served as a bar for a mojito mixing barman dressed as a bee.

We made our way first to Plaza Principe where a very traditional band was just warming up a crowd who were enjoying their salsa under the stars. Next it was on to the small stage below the Plaza where a rock band were belting out Spanish and US classic rock anthems to a select gathering. As the clock ticked towards Ministry of Sound time we headed to the main stage at Plaza Candelaria where thousands of fancy dress clad revellers were getting into their stride to the Maquinería boy band who were belting out a lively stream of carnival favourites accompanied by some very nifty dance moves.

By now, the Carnaval spirit had us by the throat and there was only one place that we needed to be. As the lasers scanned the night sky, and over a steady dance beat, a deep voice intoned a monologue that told us of a night when it was written that a new generation would come and dance until the ground shook.
As the volume pumped up and the Ministry of Sound roadshow took to the stage, the prophecy came true.

Unfortunately, my flip camera also shook and the microphone gave up the ghost on the volume. So with suitable apologies to Ministry of Sound for failing to capture the full force of your music, here’s a taster of Santa Cruz Carnaval 2011 . the food, the music and the people.

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I like Latino music, I really do, but not at the expense of every other type of music in the Universe and unfortunately, here in the north of Tenerife Latino is aired, played and listened to as if no other order of notes has ever been invented.

Still, it was New Year’s Eve at the annual street party in Puerto de la Cruz and I resigned myself to another night of salsa, salsa and more salsa which certainly improves in direct relation to the quantity of alcohol consumed.

Midnight strikes, grapes are swallowed, fireworks explode into life and the champagne corks are popped – hello 2011.
Jack, Nicole, Sebastian and I wander back to Plaza Charco where the evening’s Latino band are in full swing and the dance floor is packed with salsa dancers. I do my best to shake up an explosion by attempting (badly I suspect) to emulate the moves while carrying a rucksack in which our chilled cava supply is stashed.

Shortly after 1am Nicole and Sebastian bid their farewells and Jack and I  finish off a bottle of cava and head over to the other side of the harbour to see what’s happening.

Lo and behold, what we find is the alternative New Year’s Eve – the one that has loud, throbbing rhythms and multi coloured strobe lights and joy upon joy, the unmistakeable chords of Insomnia!
With unrestrained delirium we launch ourselves into the middle of the pulsating dance floor and let the music wash over us in a tsunami of nostalgia.
I don’t think I have ever been more happy to hear Faithless, and the atmosphere alongside the harbour with the neon Big Wheel of the funfair slowly turning in the distance is nothing short of electric.
Now this is what I call party music.

We video’d snippets of the two sides to our NYE party so that anyone who has never experienced New Year’s Eve in Puerto de la Cruz can see what they’re missing and book now for 2011/2012. Oh, and in the interests of editing, I’ve culled the 5 minute firework display down to 1½ minutes.

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Wandering down to the harbour at Puerto de la Cruz any Saturday night during the summer you’re likely to hear the strains of music drifting across the fishing boats. Whether it’s cool jazz vibes from the Heineken Jazz Festival, Indie Rock and Punk from the FMAC festival or, more often than not, common or garden weekend Latino. But this Saturday night as we strolled through the warm and still night air, it was the pulsating rhythms of Brazil that greeted our ears.

Batucada

The infectious enthusiasm of the batucada was causing mass, involuntary foot tapping as the white-robed, red masked drummers swept everyone along in their tribal tide.
This particular batucada group play most of the carnivals and festivals in the north. They’re led by a handsome, dreadlocked guy who conducts his group of happy, smiley drummers using a whistle and a seductive smile which is so contagious that everyone seems to have caught it, whether they’re carrying a drum or not.

As the raw, primitive barrage of the drums fade, Brazilian DJ PuReZa takes to the stage and the rhythms slip into a silky Samba smoking jacket that wraps itself around everyone’s hips so we’re all swaying in time.

Then the crowds push forward as the capoeira boys (and girl) arrive. One by one they take to front of stage to perform their amazing blend of gymnastics and martial arts, bodies twisting and legs wind-milling as they somersault, back flip and handstand, spurred on by the rhythmic beat and the hand claps and whistles of the crowd. Then they begin their displays of dance fighting, legs kicking and swinging at each other, always a hair’s breadth from touching.

Capoeira - an amazing blend of gymnastics, martial arts & dance

It’s a breathtaking display that leaves me feeling so old and un-supple that I have to go and have a sit down. In Plaza Charco the Samba beat is joined by cheering from the hordes watching Real Madrid sink 5 goals against Athletic Bilbao; the entertainment is all fast and furious tonight.

Suitable rested and refreshed, it’s back to Sao Paulo aka the harbour where DJ Tahira has taken to the stage and the crowds have begun to morph from Neo-hippies to Puerto’s Saturday night-ers.

It’s been a great prelude to summer when the town changes personality and dances to the beat of a more Spanish/South American drum – ash clouds, world economic crises and World Cup mania permitting.

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