through the fumbling fingers of Norman Warwick

Late Night Fireworks On The Beach

+       The Festival Of San Juan 2022

++       Fund-Raising For Ukraine

Arrecife city council has put together a programme of recreational and sporting events on the occasion of San Jaun, which will delivered its main course on June 23rd at El Reducto beach. The event took place from 7.00 to midnight with a concert including GI Nandy, Tio Matt and Kardomillo as well as ´a poblic barbeque in the heat of a large bonfire. The lighting of the bonfire took place at 9.30 and culminated with a firework display.

The mayor, Astrid Perfez, hasd expressed her ´joy ´because ´after many years without such events being organised by the city council, probably for covid reasons, this government group has drawn up such an attractive programme for the festival of San Juan, for which we will be able to fully enjoy a night full of tradition and symbolism´.

San Juan is an important mid-summer fiesta across Spain. It takes place around the summer solstice on 23rd June and dates back to medieval times when fires were lit to protect everyone from the evil spirits which they believed were released when the sun turned southward.

Alejandro Delgado is a ´Remote Worker´ (and local) and lives here on the beautiful island of Lanzarote. The main reason he has created his blog For Digital Nomads And Remote Workers is to share some of Lanzarote´s most exclusive places to visit and experiences to live. Alejandro regularly posts about people, places or objects. He writes with vivid description and also offers honest recommendations. One of his most recent posts was about The Festival Of San Juan.

He tells us that every year, ´the Fiesta or Noche de San Juan in Lanzarote welcomes summer. A mythical celebration in which the beaches of Lanzarote are filled with bonfires, popular barbecue pits, fireworks, concerts, and events for all ages´.

I asked him to explain more fully.

In ancient times, many cultures paid tribute to the summer solstice. Time of the year from which the days would get shorter (or weaker) until reaching the winter solstice.

In this sense, to commemorate the longest day of the year, the traditional thing was to light bonfires to purify the Sun and give it more strength.

In Lanzarote, weeks before June 23, the children, helped many times by the elders, gather wood and piling it up in open fields and lots. And that at midnight from 23 to 24 they are set on fire to turn them into large bonfires visible from almost anywhere on the island.

Around these purifying bonfires, families, and friends prepare barbecue pits. Chops and sardines, two of the most common ingredients in any barbecue on the island, are accompanied by the traditional Piñas (Corn Cobs) roasted directly over the fire.

The first bath of the year

To the tradition of the large bonfires and pineapple grills, we must add another deeply rooted ritual.

And it is that the Day of San Juan in Lanzarote was the day to go with the family to the beach to take the first official bath of the year.

It used to be said that bathing before then was bad.

The night of San Juan in Haría has always been very special and full of magic. Every year the municipality celebrates the big day of the festivities with mass, the traditional procession in honor of its Patron, San Juan Bautista, and the burning of Facundo. And it is that the relationship between San Juan and Haría is quite old.

Its origin dates from the 16th century, the year the church was founded. At that time, eight days before the feast of the patron saint, the bells resounded in the valley, announcing the expected date with impetus. As is the case today, the residents of Haría carried the Patron Saint on their shoulders from the Hermitage of San Juan to the church, in the centre of town. The Saint remained there for eight days, before being returned to his usual place.

On a key day, large bonfires burned on the peaks of the mountains of the valley, while in the centre of the town the “larger bonfire” was intended, of greater dimensions than the rest. Young and less young, but with great skill, they made great leaps over the incessant flames to drive away evil spirits.

As a complement to the festivities, sporting events were organized that included wrestling, stick games, and the traditional “forty-something”.

In 1964 the burning of a life-size machango or rag doll, which they called Facundo, was introduced.

The origin of this tradition is pagan and much older than its Christian celebration. In fact, the Night of San Juan commemorates the arrival of the longest day of the year, that is, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.

his tradition has always been deeply rooted in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Denmark. In Latin America, in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Puerto Rico, or Venezuela, the night of San Juan is also associated with ancient traditions and legends.

Once Christianity was born, many pagan traditions were absorbed into the Christian calendar. In fact, the commemoration of the longest night of the year was associated with a purely Christian event: the birth of Saint John the Baptist which, according to the Bible, took place on June 24. As a curiosity, it is the only saint for whom a festival is celebrated on the day of his birth since the usual thing is to celebrate the anniversary of their deaths or the transfer of their relics.

They say that on June 24, just six months before the birth of Jesus Christ, Saint John the Baptist came into the world. However, the scientific community is more inclined to the pagan origin of this celebration directly related to the famous night of San Juan that takes place from June 23 to 24.

And precisely it takes place on those dates because it is the shortest night of the year, although here the experts indicate that it takes place from June 20 to 21, which is precisely when the change of season from spring to summer becomes official.

San Juan is definitely a night of culture, fun, mystery, and entertainment. See you around at the next bonfire!

As always, have fun and explore! Maybe we´ll bum into each other´.

We have attended several eve of San Juan festivals over the years we have lived here and had missed them when lockdown curtailed the activities for covid reasons. So reminded, and encouraged, by Alejandro´s post we headed up to Arrecife. We took a slow ´red velvet steering wheel car with driver´ kind of ride over drive over. La Geria´s vineyards and the workld seemed to stretch out before us. We congratulated ourselves many times during the saunter that we were in plenty of time and would be nice to quickly find a spot to settle before the crowds got there. Sadly we arrived at the very second the police car in front of us pulled up to block the road through Arrecife, so we had to trun round and go back up the motorway to park at San Gines a couple of kms away. We parked on the stony car park there where there attendants you wouldn´t like to argue you with as they stand in front of you with hand outstretched from their high vis jackets asking for a euro to mind your car, senor? They are actually decent guys and girls who do their job properly, even later guiding us back to our car when we returned to the car par around midnight. They do look they would take no nonsnese, though, and so serve, I´m sure, as a deterrent to anyone who might have stepped too near my vehicle in the course of the evening.

We still had time on our hands so a couple of pizzas and pints at The Davina Restaurarnt killed another hour or so. Then we killed another hour over coffee and ice cream just three doors away. This a wonderful walk way, around the San Gines lagoon with its under the bridges tidal system, hundreds of smallboats moored on the water, and the backdrop of a row of thirty to forty restaurants, coffee shops, gift shops and even a cinema. Local families; dad just home from work, mum all dressed up as Spanish ladies always seem to be, and young kids running ahead of them and waiting for their parents to catch them up at every ice cream place along the route, teenage boys and girls walking hand in hand, oblivious to all this, their eyes only for each other. There are busy secretary-types clicking their heels and their fingers on their phones as they text important messages, and then there are gaggles of young girls in giggling groups, promenading in front of young boys far more interested in their skateboards.

The food and service at both our venues had been superb but it was time now, eight o´clock, to collect our fold up chairs from the car and head two kms back on foot to find a good vantage point somewhere along the closed off roads.

We settled for placing our seats a cricket wicket behind ´the throng of blowtown´, the thousands who were gathered round the stage on which a dj was playing the sounds of Queen to the obvious pleasure of the ´loyal friends and front row dancers´ who were all obviously radio gaga and were roaring back, ´No, we are the champions of the world !´

The dj and his crew were obviously under pressure to maintain the attention of the crowds until the ceremonial lighting of the beach-bonfire, due at about ten o´clock Spanish time, (so that´s give or take a manana or two).

The bonfire is lit on Arrecife beach, Festival de San Juan 2022

Actually it happened right on cue as the dj´s played ´the final countdown´  and although we were two or three hundred metres away we had a perfect view, as a spark accelerated into a huge billowing flame, the heat from which carried right across to out chairs beneath the palm trees on the beach. The formal firework display would not be until midnight, we thought, so we packed up our chairs and agreed to take a slow drive home and look at the various bonfires on the landscape as we passed by and probably arrive back in Playa Blanca for their firework display.

Just as we turned the bend away from the festival towards our vehicle, there was a loud bang, and we whizzed round like a Catherine Wheel to see we had a perfect view all the way down to the beach below us, all the way to the bonfire from where the firework display had just been launched. We were perfectly placed, just outside the island´s only sky-scraper hotel with no other persons or buildings in our eye-line. The whole sjow lasted about fifteen minutes and made magic in the sky. Colourful cascades followed every loud dull roar of the fireworks. I can´t remember the word for the people who design such shows, but for whoever he or she was on duty tonight the word artist is no exaggeration. There was a particular sequence, in which the high in the air explosions took place simultaneously with over-flowing roman candle waterfalls at a lower level, that was mesmerising.

So now we could head back to our car knowing we had seen everything we had wanted to see, and that we had enjoyed it all in a harmonious and safe environment. Lanzarote does this sort of thing so well.

On the way back to the car park, however, we were distracted by, nay entranced by, nay, nay, lured by, nay, nay and thrice nay,..we were seduced by a solitary empty table at the open air Parada Cafe on the main drag (literally) back to San Gines car park. One small beer and one small beer without alcohol in one our favourite buzzing little bars brought the evening to a perfect end.

The car park attendant saw us coming and lit by torch our way to the car and stopped traffic for us as we exited the car park, and, of  course, leaned into my open widow, arm outstretched through his high vis jacket to smilingly aceept another euro. Euro in, euro out and cheap at half the price., as Boris might say.

We arrived at home to find our five cats and one of their friends waiting for us on the patio greeting our arrival with miows that sounded a lot to me like, ´you rotten stop outs !. What happened to our suppers?´

Fund-Raising For Ukraine.

The Camel House At Macher art and msic

24th June 2022

It was a bade of honour in our youth to sing Give Peace a Chance and anti Vietnam-War songs.Tom Paxton wrote songs like Wake Up Jimmy Newman that told of the horrors of that war and Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues that told of how American soldiers sought respite. Those were the days of CND marches and we sang our protests loud and proud. We were fighting a war against war,… which ultimately we lost. War and wars continue, we are still here, just about, but the voice of protest have faded, too tired, too scared, too old to dare. In some ways that made the Fund-Raising Event For Ukraine that we attended on Lanzarote recently all the more significant. So come follow your art down sidetracks & detours to a beautiful cliff top villa that offers views, literally and figuratively, that must surely prevail.

On the evening of Friday 24th June we attended a Fund Raising For Ukraine event. it was actually the inauguration of an arts exhibition which was then scheduled to run for some time.. There was a brief choral performance too, which we also immensely enjoyed.

The In Dulce Jubilo Choir grew out a German Church in Peurto Del Carmen here on Lanzarote. These days, however, having become an independent choir, it is now under the direction of Marianne Whelpdale, a lady we have featured on these pages in the past. Marianne had been a member of a number of choirs, before accepting the request to direct In Dulce Jubilo in works that are mostly classical in genre. The choir has a playing squad of about twenty members but there are occasions, of course when members are away from the island perhaps visiting the homelands of Ukrania,; Austrian, Spanish, British, Swiss, Polish and German.

Marianne recently explained her directing style to Gazette Life Lanzarote, a monthly, glossy magazine. Apparently she thinks of the role of musical direction of a choir is more of a dictatorship than a democracy, before laughing and saying she likes to think she ´orders them around in a loving way !´ She often directs from her position at the piano with the choir, and when not in performance or in rehearsal she is planning, in advance, new playlists and is even now creating a programme for Christmas performances.

Prior to covid, the choir, of course, sang in Lanzarote Churches, and even on other Canary Islands, over religious periods such as Easter and Christmas but the choir was unable to rehearse during lockdown and Marianne didn´t feel able to direct properly via Zoom. The rehearsals they were able to conduct outside as restrictions eased must have felt like a lifeline to a choir that is now looking for male singers and promises to make welcome anyone who would like to join them to sing, … especially bass and baritones !

Marianne would also like to hear from anyone who has ideas for special performances of any kind, and this event at The Camel House on Friday 24th June proved just such an occasion..

One member in particular had a special, reason to take part in the concert, as she is constantly worrying about her family back in Ukraine.. She was sad no doubt, but very proud, that the choir was wearing blue sashes and the brilliant yellow sunflowers that symbolise Ukraine.. She is originally from the country´s Poltova region but was living in the city of Kyiv when she met her Spanish husband before he got a job here in Lanzarote, and the couple moved over here.

That city they left behind is now horribly damaged, as we have seen on our tv reports. Natalia Tunik arrived on Lanzarote over ten years ago. Since the Russian invasion of her country she has been campaigning and fundraising to aid Ukraine, whilst taking poart in concerts like tonight´s over on mainland Spain as well.

Natalia spoke in some depth about her thoughts on Putin and the invasion to Gazette Life Lanzarote but it would be invidious for us to extrapolate here from what was an exclusive interview. It is a sad and damning piece and we would urge you to read it in full in the June edition of Lanzarote.

The artist, Olena Kosenka, shown here on our poster has readily adopted the local building styles and natural landscapes into her creative work. The artist, Olena Kosenka shown here on our poster has readily adopted the local built and natural landscapes into her creative work whilst bringing a European flavour to her painting.

Born in the east of Ukraine in 1977, Olena studied at the Kharkov State Academy of Design and Art and was awarded the 1st place in the Art Student Diploma Competition.She then went on to complete her Masters degree in fine arts and ran a successful interior design company with an emphasis on graphic design. At the same time she continued to pursue an artistic career.

Based in Spain, Olena works with all the drawing and painting media. She uses the full palette and has a number of distinct styles ranging from surreal through neo industrial to real life.

Olena says of her methodology:

´I am like an architect in my creative space´, she says. ´I like to build the painting in my mind. I need the vision locked in, it has to be defined, I then decide on the media I want to use, then the size of the work and finally the layout´.

We look forward to bring you a report on what we hope is going to be a very successful event, especially that success could see a return of live performances at what is one of the most beautiful concert venues on .an island that is full of beautiful concert venues !

The Camel House, pre-covid, hosted quarterly classical music events in its gorgeous main hall. In fact we reported on several of them here at Lanzarote Information / Sidetracks & Detours, including a very special piano recital by Russian player and mentor Veronika Shoot.  I guess that suggests that music recognises no border patrols but instead will play around the world, with no prejudice and no political agenda.

Beautiful venue though the Camel House might be, it is difficult to locate as most places of paradise, but it is worth the last mile of the journey, down a twisty single track road over the cliff tops at Macher that can feel pretty hairy at times, and you breathe a sigh of relief as you follow the signs into the ´car park´ adjacent to a sprawling property of secret gardens, many rooms and outbuildings, a major concert hall and even a couple of retreat rental venues to let.

The car park, though, is the final part of the adventure, with randomly placed palm trees to make your way round, as well as the odd carelessly parked vehicles, bigger and brighter than mine and much more expensive to remove dents and scratches from. The car park is even a little bit uphill and down dale but although the picon sometimes slips beneath the wheels its better than Glastonbury mud.

Once we had parked up we followed one of the single-path trails round into one of the courtyards, drawn there by the gentle buzz of conversation that suggested that was where the audience was gathered. The choir, male and female, dressed al in white with Ukranian colours motifs, were mingling with the audience. There was a colourful and busy table serving typical Ukranian sweets and savouries. There was also wine, sangria and fruit punch sin alcohol that was lovely, and apparently good for my diabetes.

Having partaken of a glass (or two) Dee and I wandered into a concert room we hadn´t seen before, and looked at the intriguing and thought provoking art work on display and available for purchase, to rasie funds for Ukraine. As we stepped inside the afore-mentioned Natalia, in full national costume, handed us a free programme with lyrics in three languages of the pieces that world be performed in a few minutes time.

The audience were called in with the choir already seated, and the artist, Olena,  formally welcomed us all to her exhibition. She teared up a couple of times as she referenced family and friends she remains so worried about and uncertain of their safety in Ukraine. She managed to say all the right things, with some useful to us smatterings of English, to remind us of what tonight´s concert was all about. You might think that would be unneccesary but no matter hopw horrific are the image we see on our screens nothing prepares us to see and hear somebody directly affected by those horrors.

Then In Dulce Jubilo performed a sombre, evocative and very moving opening piece.

Natalia then stepped forward again, and somehow, with Marianne at the piano (right) to accompany her, managed to paint on a smile and sing clearly and proudly a carefully chosen selection of music that spoke of the heart and soul and pride of her country. with its ´vast skies, filled with stars´, in a dreamy but defiant voice.

As we drove home we discussed how a concert brought about as a response to war could have been so uplifting, and whether or not we should feel guilty at having so enjoyed it under these dreadful circumstances. However, the artist, the choir, the vocalist and Marianne at the piano had done their job. They had sent us home to count our blessings that we enjoy here on Lanzarote and to wonder all over again how Mankind seems hell-bent on destroying a world that offer Mankind so much.

Just before I close this piece I ought to say that a notification has just flashed on to my screen to say that a band in Russia have just submitted their anti-war song for consideration fot he forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest, and have had to immediately flee the country for fear of resprisals.

We are always pleased to hear from Aldo and Louise at the Adsubian Art Gallery, especially when they are sounding as busy as they do at the moment. This is the second exhibition they have advertised to us this week, and it too sounds fascinating.

There is an example on our cover of work by the painter, Rosa Sastre (left).

She was born in Pego in 1936, but has lived in different parts of Spain and from a very young age she felt attracted by music, cinema and painting, devoting herself to the latter all her life. Most of her work prevails a romanticism, eclectic as a result of her state of mind or simple sensations. The result is subtle even if it is captured on a piece of cardboard or a stone..

The Adsubian Gallery web site suggest a friendly and welcoming venue, and although we haven´t made the trip yet over to mainland Spain since coming to live here on Lanzarote from the UK seven years ago, we will certainly be looking to so next year and to call in on the people who supply us with news updates.

This collection should sit comfortably at The Adsubian Gallery, in its quiet village location.

If any of our readers who live in their area of mainland Spain do vist this exhibition we would llove to hear more about it.

If you wish, you can send your comments to us ina word docyment attachment to us here at


and we will publish and fully attribute your thoughts.

As a not-for-profit organisation, we are unable to pay for written contributions but if yould like to include an appropriate jpeg of your slef and a brief biography of yourself

we would be delighted to include them alongside your submission. There is a synergy, I think, between the community-spirited Adsubian Gallery .and the like-minded arts-loving readership we are building here at Sidetracks and Detours.

Meanwhile, we are proud, too, of the quantity and quality of the art galleries we can boast here on Lanzarote. One of my favoutires of those is The Lanzarote Art Gallery, which despite having an elegant and prestigious show gallery In Costa Teguise. The press releases, about the live exhibitions at the lovely venue in Costa Teguise and about its virtual gallery are now delivered from Art Space and their latest news reveals an opportunity for readers to gain a good idea of the quality of work the Lanzarote Art Gallery houses in Costa Teguise and will lead you also to wealth of information and a comprehensive list of services they off to prmote their artists.

En La Galería 3D. https://virtual.lanzaroteartgallery.com/

Lanzarote Art Gallery Galería Virtual.

A new proposal from Art Space and Lanzarote Art Gallery brings together three international women artists. From different geographies, with different visions and with personal languages and themes, they have found a common destiny in this exhibition that brings them together in our gallery. Three women, three visual artists whose languages of excellence have brought them to these lands where their art has found the place to be shared

Marité Crespo, from Córdoba, Argentina, travels a path full of contents that challenge her, without absolute truths, expressing herself through mixed techniques among which is painting, engraving and drawing. Her work in art, both in abstraction and figuration, presents her as an artist in the constant visceral and sensitive search for answers to concerns of our time in the face of chaos and beauty.

Ale Feijó (left) is Argentine and lives in Buenos Aires. Her work speaks of the feminine universe, its emotions, corporeality and the bond we establish with it. Drawing is his essential tool, and his pencil the magic wand with which he builds his universe of the sensitive. She combines the technique of graphite with acrylic, transfers of digital images that she creates herself, inks, charcoal, etc. creating a language where she combines the classicism of drawing with contemporary notes in the composition and framing.

Ale says of her work, « I paint women, beautiful, sensual, erotic, imperfect, strong, and vulnerable. My women are a single woman, it is me, leading all the others in the artistic representation of my interiority. »

Begoña Lafuente, born in Spain, resides in the Netherlands.  Restless and investigative, she lives art as a timeless conversation where not everything is said and the essential is not evident.  It is precisely these meanings that he seeks in his creations to achieve a special complicity with the viewer, always looking for him to conclude his pieces.  His work is a game of combinations, where materials, textures and colors, improvise new routes for the senses.

You can find out much more about all three artists and their work at The Lanzarote Art Gallery web site as you take a virtual tour around their works.

The Lanzarote Art Gallery stands on a site with glorious, panoramic views of the Costa Teguise coastline, and is surrounded by a cemi circle of lovely restaurants offering many different kids of dining experience. We recommend, you vist the gallery first, then choose a restaurant enjoy your meal and take post meal stroll dow the coastal footpath and enjoy the scenery.

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