YUSAN JAZZ ENSEMBLE &  Avishai Cohen Ensemble

31st Annual Canaries Jazz Festival


Avishai Cohen Ensemble

22nd July. 2022,  Arrecife.

by Norman Warwick

Perhaps the most well-known name on the list of artists appearing at Canaries Jazz 2022 is that of Gregory Porter who, whilst unmistakable in the way he dresses, is also immediately identifiable by that timeless old-as-the-universe voice of his. He played the Las Cura Theatre on Gran Canaria on 16th July.

Although perhaps not yet quite as well known, trumpeter Avishai Cohen has been voted an emerging star in the prestigious specialized magazine DownBeat and has earned a reputation as a musician with an individual sound and a restless spirit. He is a performer-composer who is always creative, open to multiple currents of jazz and is active internationally. as leader, co-leader and companion of various ensembles. 

The organisers of the 31st Annual Canaries Jazz Festival are delighted to have included Avishai on to the list of great jazz artists playing on various legs of the 31st Annual Canaries Jazz Festival, and Sidetracks And Detours is equally delighted that our island provided one of the  platforms for his participation across The Canary Iislands.. He appeared on the stage outside Cic El Almacen in Arrecife on Friday 22nd July.

The line-up for his act (left) saw Avishai playing trumpet, effects and synthesizer. He was accompanied by Uzi Ramirez: On  guitar
and bass was Yonatan Albalak with  Aviv Cohen on  drums and Ziv Ravitz taking on drums and live sampling

I knew that The New York Times had described Avishai Cohen as “an assertive and accomplished trumpeter with a taste for modernism” as well as “flamboyantly deft, laid-back and soulful, deftly blending sensibility and flair.”

That certainly sounded promising and the promise was certainly not broken in the slightest.

Nevertheless it was the opening act of the evening, an ensemble named Yusan (right) that played what we might call óur´ kind of jazz. This  is a project created in 2016 after an unexpected artistic residency in Chamonix. It is a true story of friendship that leads to a common desire to make music together. This seems a natural alliance for these artists who each have a very strong musical signature, but who share influences as a collective legacy, and a complicity that they put at the service of creation.

Our son in South Korea tells us that the name Yusan, which came almost by chance as a contribution from a friend of the band,  is the Korean word for “legacy” and perfectly sums up the way these musicians view their own sound. Based on these “strong individual identities and a common legacy”, Yusan make jazz travel from Caribbean music to African rhythms, passing through songs, evangelical sounds and urban influences. 

After a meal at La Rustica, a restaurant just around the corner from where the open air stage was set, we arrived at the open air venue (left) for the festival in the proximity of Cic El Almacen at 7.45 for the 8.30 start, which was a real bonus because even the sound check was so excellent that hundreds of people took seats to listen for a while. It was really a hot, humid night and sittiong on a fold up chair with a beer in hand to hear world class musiciand jamming and checking for half an hour was an added bonus. We couldn´t beat them so we joined them.

Still, it was a little while after 8.30 pm before Yusan took to the stage for real. Just as darkness fell, somehow enhanced the atmospheric lighting and the jazz festival log backdrop, the musician emerged to a massive reception from an already full audience.

The line up included, Mickaelle Leslie on vocals (and dancing), Romain Cuag on Sax, Ralph Lavilal on guitar, Kevin Jubert on keyboards, Gewn Ladeux playing bass and Mathieu Edward on percusxsion.

What we heard tonight was a mix that is ​​the signature of the sextet, where each member naturally finds their own place. This was not fusion as we know it, rather an alignment of the cosmos of the separate musics and cultures of the six members.

With Yusan on stage, (left) Mickaelle took pretty much all vocal duties and could take her voice raspy and raunch to sweet and soulful in just a few bars. She had her vocals drive the band, too, and her frequent dancing and occasional stillness was always perfect for the sounds being delivered.

Romain´s sax blared and bleated adding sultry soul to many numbers and Ralph had that great South African edge that Paul Simon highlighted on his Graceland album back in the late eighties (Good God, where did those thirty five years go?) and had everyone tapping their toes and jiving in their seats, particularly on a dance number Mickaella sang called (apologies in advance for the spelling) called Debaange, a piece which I think originates from Cameroon.

In fact some seats were quickly cleared away by staff to create an open air dance arena in front of the stage, and what a sight that made as they threw their shapes and the their shadows were etched on the white walls of the surrounding buildings.

Any keyboard player who can put me in mind of Bruce Hornby of The Range is certainly doing something right and the fact that Kevin Jubert could do so whilst playing distinctive jazz, compared to Bruce´s country music, was quite incredible. Still that Just The Way It Is !

Gewn on bass  captured that samed South African rhythm from time time and  Mathieu Edward on on drums was always a pounding, driving presence in every song, keeping the rhythm tight.

The set by Yusan was a pulsating hour of music that didn´t sound pieced together or ´fused´ in any way. Instead it ebbed and flowed and easily accommodated all the styles and influence these incrfedible musicians have brought to this ensemble.

Long may they continue to do so.

Avishai Cohne was similarly surrounded by talented musicians for the second act of the evening and delivered everything the pre-publicity had promised. In fact a freind of my wife´s,, who was also at the gig, told us she preferred their set to Yusan.s because it was more exciting and energetic. It all goes to show that jazz can offer all sorts of music for all sorts of preferences.

The Lanzarote leg of the Canaries Jazz Festival 2022 had been a huge success. Every nook and cranny of the arena seemed taken, with the bars doing a roaring trade.

And all night people danced, or chilled,…. and so did the music.

See the photo gallery of a night that started during the day and was postponed until almost 4 in the morning. Teguise, grateful for the magnificent atmosphere of a White Night The White Night of the Villa de Teguise recovered this Friday its best clothes to offer the public one of its best editions. It was a spectacular night, which began during the day and was postponed until 4 in the morning.


Thousands of Lanzaroteans filled La Villa, in whose historic centre the City Council of Teguise had installed several stages with different musical rhythms, which animated a night that began with a lot of heat and ended, with some embarrassment, a little bit of drizzle.

it was interesting to learn on the following day, then, from Lancelot Digital, that more than 15,000 people gathered that same evening in the tenth edition of the White Night of the Villa Teguise only 5kn down the road, which received the most children and family audience in the early hours of the afternoon and was gaining in size as the night progressed.

photo noches The most critical moment was lived on the main stage of the Plaza de Los Leones, which hosted 16 live musicians with the voice of Thony Romero, paying a winning tribute to Juan Luis Guerra who crowded the square and its surroundings, while other attendees danced and sang to the sound of the groups that performed in the rest of the stages distributed by the Historic Site of Teguise.que brought together more than 15,000 people in the Real Villa

The mayor, Oswaldo Betancort, was shown in his social networks “happy and grateful for the atmosphere that we lived yesterday in the Villa, where some people discovered for the first time the magic of the White Night and the Historic Complex, and others returned with more desire after two years of parenthesis”, he said, congratulating “all those involved for this new success achieved thanks to the teamwork and the exquisite coordination of the City Council of Teguise -del Department of Culture and Celebrations and the rest of municipal areas – as well as all the dynamizers who participated with their musical, artistic, recreational and sports proposals, along with the merchants and restaurateurs who filled their establishments to the flag, security and emergency services, public transport, especially the taxi drivers of Teguise, the Local Police of Teguise,  Civil Guard of Lanzarote, cleaning workers and a long etcetera of people who have managed to make the event safe for all.

Betancort also dedicated a few words to the neighbours of the Villa, “for entertaining so many thousands of people with the solidarity and hospitality that characterizes them.” “We have tried to make the town dawn today in perfect condition and for this the cleaning service was activated from 5 in the morning,” said the mayor, inviting you to continue enjoying the weekend in Teguise, with a unique show such as the Motocross Freestyle Zombies and a new Sunday day of Mercadillo.

“In short, it has been very satisfying to see the result of so much common effort, and although the numbers and images speak for themselves, the most comforting thing is to see how the essence of a dynamic event was recovered at all levels, which shows that there is no better public investment than promoting and boosting the economy through enriching initiatives at all levels, “-  Betancort added.

The Civil Guard organized from midnight a large deployment at the roundabout near Tahíche in the direction of Arrecife, a super control of alcohol and narcotics to try to “hunt” the drivers who came to enjoy the White Night of La Villa de Teguise produced large retentions this Saturday morning and significant traffic jams. 

The Civil Guard organized from midnight a large deployment with controls for alcohol and drug use at the roundabout near Tahíche in the direction of Arrecife.

This attempt to control those who were driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs was made just at the moment when many people decided to end the party. Hundreds of cars were detained and despite the speed of the Civil Guard in selecting possible offenders, queues of cars could not be avoided, with detentions of between 5 and 10 minutes at times .

Although the figures on the number of people who were sanctioned are not known for now, the truth is that many eye-witnesses have commented that most of those “examined” by the Civil Guard did not exceed the permitted limits of 0.25 ml of blood alcohol. 

n air sign background

Thinking back to jazz, where this article all began: It must be very flattering and rewarding for any radio broadcaster to be thanked on social media by an artist he has played on his show. So at the top of the Steve Bewick facebook postings today is one such vote of thanks.

A great surprise for me today to be included in this broadcast by Steve Bewick with a track from our recording Coltrane’s Colours with great musicians and great friends Tito Mangialajo Rantzer and Massimo Pintori. Lovely memories! Thanks Steve!

If you´d like to hear the programme being referred to Mr Bewick offers the following guidance.

Hot Biscuits offers this week a live set from the Tom Thorp Quartet with Patrick Hurley, keys, Grant Russell Bass, and Luke Flowers drums. The broadcast also includes music from Simone Manunza, Adam Fairhall, Maurício Soulz, Matt Carmichael and Daniel Karlsson. If this sounds interesting tell your friends and catch Steve Bewick at www.mixcloud.com/stevebewick/ 24/07

Ps Steve, I reckon you´d have really enjoyed Yusan at the 31st Annual Canaries Jazz Festival.

The prime source for this article was a piece posted by Lancelot Digital re the White Night event in Teguise.

In our occasional re-postings Sidetracks And Detours are confident that we are not only sharing with our readers excellent articles written by experts but that we are also pointing to informed and informative sites readers will re-visit time and again. Of course, we feel sure our readers will also return to our daily not-for-profit blog knowing that we seek to provide core original material whilst sometimes spotlighting the best pieces from elsewhere, as we engage with new genres and practitioners along all the sidetracks & detours we take.

This article was collated by Norman Warwick, a weekly columnist with Lanzarote Information and owner and editor of this daily blog at Sidetracks And Detours.

Norman has also been a long serving broadcaster, co-presenting the weekly all across the arts programme on Crescent Community Radio for many years with Steve Bewick, and his own show on Sherwood Community Radio. He has been a regular guest on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Four.

As a published author and poet Norman was a founder member of Lendanear Music, with Colin Lever and Just Poets with Pam McKee, Touchstones Creative Writing Group (for which he was creative writing facilitator for a number of years) with Val Chadwick and all across the arts with Robin Parker.

From Monday to Friday, you will find a daily post here at Sidetracks And Detours and, should you be looking for good reading, over the weekend you can visit our massive but easy to navigate archives of over 500 articles.

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