As editor of Sidetracks And Detours I´d just like to make public my apology to our correspondent Michael Higgins. A technical error meant that a space that had been created for a piece by him last week but should have been closed, and meant that his name remained above words a text that was not not his. We´re sorry for any embarrassment or inconvenience caused, and are pleased to open this week´s issue with a new piece by Michael and to also include several of our other volunteer contributors. Jazz In Reading have submitted another listing of what sounds to be yet another fantastic gig in a part of the UK that is just jumping with jazz. In fact, one of our favourite jazz musicians, then speaks of the Norfolk coast as she joins us to tell you about her new single and its art-work, and to promise further information when her forthcoming new album is released. Meanwhile To remind us that Manchester, too, is a few jazz joints, Steve Bewick reassures you that his Hot Biscuits mix-cloud radio programme will be available throughout the week. It was through that programme by the way that I first heard Jenny´s work. Ralph Dent then searches through more of his remembered music and identifies a spot just about where American might have begun. Peter Pearson, with his all points forward motif in his mind, looks to where American music might be going, rather than at from whence it came. Our island insights from Norman Warwick take us to restaurant on Lanzarote where everybody is talking about the food served in the establishment, and for all the right reasons !
Hallowtide and Harvest Tide. Holiday For November?
essay by MICHAEL HIGGINS
Vasilis Xenopoulos (saxophone)
preview by JAZZ IN READING
Music That´s Going Places by ROB ADAMS
Her own new single and forthcoming album previewed by JENNY BRAY
Jazz On Air
Hot Biscuits baked by STEVE BEWICK
In Search Of An American Tune by RALPH DENT
A Reader´s Perspective: All Points Forward
To Look For Americana with PETER PEARSON
Our Food Must Speak Of Lanzarote says NORMAN WARWICK
Researching History: Hallowtide and Harvest Tide. Holiday For November?
essay by MICHAEL HIGGINS
My Canadian novelist friend Jill Shakley, mentioned taking a break from proofreading her latest story Only the Unexpected, for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday (2nd Monday in October) in a recent email. She asked if Britons celebrated anything similar. When I replied that American Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November) was supposed to commemorate the Indians, oops, Native Americans, First Nation Peoples etc, helping out the original European settlers with food, the Canadian one supposedly commemorated Martin Frobisher offering thanks in 1578 (left) for surviving an Atlantic crossing. Britons did not have that speciality to be thankful for save that there is always something to be thankful for I suppose in an uncertain life and age. Jill demurred and asserted the North American Thanksgivings were simply a harvest festival with a family meal, never mind what the myths implied. Surely we still had something like it in Britain? I left aside the fact that the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays did not become the official ones we know today until the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. But whatever we think of Thanksgiving is it really just a harvest festival? And should we be thankful?
Well there is a church festival every late September and early October in Britain usually called Harvest Festival and churchgoers usually bring tinned and packaged food into Church to be blessed and passed on to charitable organisations. As its name implies it is to thank God for a successful harvest and by implication the agricultural year. But Britons are not granted a holiday for it. Jill was surprised to hear that after the end of May (the old Whitsuntide Holiday in my day) Britain has only one other holiday before Christmas and that is the bank holiday at the end of August. I informed her of the endless debate to remove the new late twentieth century May Day Holiday at the first of May and move it to October. A Trafalgar Day on or near the 21 October date of the 1805 Naval battle has often been suggested but obstinately rejected as being too nationalistic and anti European. Jill suggested a Guy Fawkes (right) Day Holiday for the 5th of November –‘Remember, Remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot- a very traditional celebration in the Wodehouse era.
We often discuss British culture as she writes P G Wodehouse type Jeeves and Wooster era novels where 1930s English middle, upper- and idle class sensitivities and eccentricities come to the fore. Sadly I had to enlighten her that Guy Fawkes in his straw- stuffed old clothing guise is well and truly a thing of the past unless you happen to live in the town of Lewes in Sussex where several ancient bonfire societies actually do exhibit an old fashioned Guy and either burn him on a bonfire or blow him up with fireworks. But alas the days are long gone when young boys would dress up a Guy for their neighbours, pin the appropriate ‘Penny for the Guy ‘sign round his neck and wheel him on a bogey from door to door singing the Cob Coaling song whilst eliciting money for fireworks from the householders. The festival may once have been a thanksgiving for Fawkes and his 36 barrels of gunpowder failing to go off and blow up Parliament, Lords and Monarch, but now is merely a festival of large scale bonfires and fireworks displays, which due to health and safety rules are put on by large scale organisations and local councils. Besides it is not politically correct these days to burn a Roman Catholic Yorkshireman in the pay of Spaniards. In any case, there is not so much love for parliament these days either that we should celebrate its saving I suppose.
I informed Jill that since the popularity of the Hollywood film ET in the 1980s with its depiction of an American Halloween Trick or Treat outing in its vast panoply of schoolchildren going from door to door in fancy dress, that custom has quickly taken root among British child viewers and has crowded out the old Penny for the Guy and Cob Coaling house visits. Hallowe’en as it is spelt in Britain, to show that this Scottish term is actually short for Hallow Even or Evening, has now become synonymous with witches, ghosts and all manner of ghoulish thoughts. And the Church of England now prefers to ditch the old English word All Hallows (All the hallowed or holy ones) for the boring and inadequate Latinate word All Saints).
Jill surmised that surely Halloween was older than Guy Fawkes? Well, yes and no I replied, as before the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 Hallow Even was a great bonfire night with communal purifying fires lit on high ground around towns and villages. As November 5th is only five days after Hallowe’en the Guy Fawkes celebratory bonfires eventually took over. And about that house visiting for treats? In Britain this popularly was done on All Souls Day, 2 November, when the children dressed in disguise and begged for A Soul Cake’ with a promise to pray for the lost souls of the dead: ‘A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake, please good missus a Soul Cake’. As a Christian festival the time does recall the dead. The ghoulish part of Hallowe’en it seems is a secular accretion and, according to scholars, not a pagan echo but a bit of wishful thinking. After all, the Soul Cake Song begs ‘one for Peter, Two for Paul, three for Him who made us all’.
Of course the Soul Cake song is now a folk favourite but alas only the town of Antrobus in Cheshire keeps up the Soul Caking on All Souls. Except of course at my house where my indulgent wife bakes me a batch of soul cakes every year. But in my childhood in England an American style Halloween was unheard of, the only hint at it was kept up by Guides or Scouts using Hallowe’en as ‘mischief night’ carving out turnip jack O’Lanterns and playing the game of bobbing for apples. It was only when my parents took me to Canada as a boy that I experienced Trick or Treating for my first time in a skeleton costume. But in Toronto we only cried out ‘Shell out, Shell out the witches are out! ‘ and looked down on the American ‘Trick or Treat!’ shouted threat. We never used it.
So to end all I informed Jill that I feared a Guy Fawkes Holiday, tinged with an American style Halloween fright fest would be incongruous mess, and too close to Christmas to work as a holiday. But that was before the newly inaugurated October Scarecrow Hunt was started this year in my home town of Royton, which sees home- made scarecrows erected at participating homes around the town where I live. It lasts for a fortnight to to 31 October, which is of course Hallowe’en. In Royton then we will start to see stuffed clothing costumed mannequins, through to made- up living witches and ghosts to the odd throwback making a Guy of old in a three week period. We could easily fit a holiday in the middle.
Perhaps we could have a long weekend at the end of October or Early November called Hallowtide. This is the church name for All Hallows Eve, All Hallows Day and All Souls- 31st October to 2nd November- which could be incorporated into the nearest weekend between Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes Day. As the church no longer keeps to the traditional days of Hallowtide, celebrating All Hallows (All Saints) on the nearest Sunday to 1 November and letting All Souls take pot luck, only the Trick or Treaters now keep to the proper Hallowe’en date anyway. The fright night children could enjoy their night out, the churchgoers could navigate round church services and bonfire night fans can enjoy the added sight of a warming public bonfire. It would all be very inclusive, very confused and very British.
And in Royton we could burn our redundant scarecrows on the bonfire after as a symbol of a spiritually dead civilisation, stuffed with straw and dead matter in the memory of dreary TS Eliot in his poem The Hollow Men.
We are the Hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpieces filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless.
But that was 1925 when he begged the question whether man ‘trembling with tenderness/Lips that would kiss’ would rather form prayers to broken stone rather than be thankful.
A Penny for the Guy!
Vasilis Xenopoulos (saxophone)
Backed by the Pangbourne Jazz Club rhythm section:
Terry Hutchins (guitar) | Andy Crowdy (double bass)
Jim Pollard (piano) | Brian Greene (drums)
preview by JAZZ IN READING
Saxophonist, Vasilis Xenopoulos (left) , is one of the most accomplished Greek jazz musicians of his generation and a genuine representative of straight ahead jazz. London became his permanent home after graduating with honors from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and gradually established himself as one of London’s up and coming jazz saxophonists. He has worked with some of the best musicians of the International Jazz Scene as a band leader, a section leader and as a guest soloist at various projects.
In 2009 he formed “The Xtet” and their debut album “Loud City” containing 8 original compositions was released on 33Jazz Records in 2011. Two years later he released his second album “The Wind Machine” under the same label, which gained some fine reviews in the top British media such as The Times and BBC Radio 3.
In 2017 Nigel Price and Xenopoulos created the XPQ (Xenopoulos/Price Quartet) and recorded their first album under that brand, “Sidekicks”, which celebrates some of the most successful guitar/sax pairings in the history of jazz.
The Guardian praised him recently for being one of the leading examples of European jazz musicians who live and perform in Britain and bringing his continental element to the jazz scene. Further to that Vasilis has permanent collaborations with artists from Greece and Cyprus where he performs as a leader or guest artist on a regular basis. As a result he is permanently active in three different scenes/markets (British, Greek and Cypriot).
Vasilis’ charismatic performances reveal his truly fabulous style thus his energy and passion interact with his audience.
With his great talent, love and respect. he cherishes the instrument’s challenges and pushes it beyond.
His credits also include seminars on Jazz Saxophone and Improvisation.
His album “DEXTERITY” was released in September, 2019.
Live Jazz Listings:
Music That´s Going Places previewed by ROB ADAMS
Hello, November is a varied month, stylistically and geographically, with regular venues in Linlithgow and Glasgow joined by ventures in Leith, Dundee and the lovely Loch Ness-side village of Dores.
Saxophonist Helena Kay (left) is among the attractions at Dundee Jazz Festival, which runs from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th. Helena’s trio play on Sunday 5th at Clarks on Lindsay Street. You can also hear Jazz FM Award-winning soul singer Mica Miller (Gardyne Theatre, Friday 3rd) and Glasgow groovers Mama Terra (Clarks on Lindsay Street, Thursday 2nd) as well as music from across a wide range of jazz. Helena is also the guest of Edinburgh’s Playtime session on Thursday 30th. joined by ventures in Leith, Dundee Dores.
Guitarists Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen (right) play the latest Red Door concert at St Peter’s Church in Linlithgow on Friday 10th. United by a shared love of melodic improvisation and their admiration for the music of pianist Bill Evans and guitarists including Bill Frisell and John Abercrombie, Don and Graeme have an instinctive understanding that will produce music ideally suited to St Peter’s intimate setting.
The Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra brings its characteristic skill, swing and exuberant improvising to Viewfield Church in Dunfermline from 4pm on Saturday 11th. Dozens of musicians have progressed through this band to create their own careers nationally and internationally, so don’t miss the chance to hear the current crop of young talents.
Violinist Jyotsna Srikanth (left) brings her Shakthi project of contemporary Indian music to St James Scottish Episcopal Church in Leith on Friday 17th. Jyotsna has toured the world, playing in venues including Wembley Stadium, and her fiery, virtuosic improvisations are always matched by her outstanding musicians, especially the seemingly endless supply of fantastic percussionists in her contacts book. The trio, which comprises, violin, keyboards and drums, also present Shakthi at the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen on Thursday 16th.
Singer Louise Dodd and pianist Elchin Shirinov (right) , who featured with bassist Avishai Cohen’s trio, are Jazz at Merchants House in Glasgow’s latest guests on Sunday 19th. Performing songs from their well-received Two Hours After Midnight album, the duo draw on their respective Scottish and Azerbaijani traditions as well as classical and jazz influences. London Jazz News described them as working “a magical charm.”
Saxophonist Brian Molley and keyboardist Tom Gibbs have been working together in Brian’s quartet for a dozen years or so and have developed a superb understanding. Their duo sets are brilliant and include original tunes, revised jazz standards and items picked up in their extensive musical travels, including Brazil
Christine Tobin (left) hasn’t appeared in Scotland for far too long. But now living in Ireland after a spell in the States, she and her partner, the exceptional guitarist Phil Robson are able to fly over for three dates this autumn. As her recent album, Returning Weather, confirms, Christine’s voice is beautifully distinctive, and her song choices impeccable, whether drawn from her own writing or from her love of singer-songwriters including Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. The duo’s gigs in Greenock on Thursday 30th, Linlithgow (1st December) and Perth (2nd December) are absolute must-seesnd India. They bring their magic to Dores Village Hall on Saturday 25th.
JAZZ IN NOVEMBER
Thu 2: Ben Shankland Trio
Sun 5: Bailey & Black + Fabrizio Conti – Tribute to Bill Kemp
Thu 9: C.A.L.I.E.
Thu 16: Jyotsna Srikanth – Shakthi
Thu 23: Norman Willmore Sextet
Thu 30: Tom Gibbs-Bjorn Solli Qrt
Crail Community Hall
Sun 5: Ian Millar & Dominic Spencer
Sat 25: Brian Molley & Tom Gibbs
Sun 5: Anna Vanosi
Thu 9: Ben MacDonald’s Legit
Fri 10: Andy Schumm
Wed 15: Nigel Price Organ Trio
Wed 22: Ben MacDonald’s Legit
Thu 23: Elchin Shirinov
Fri 24: Boptimism
Thu 2: Playtime with Fergus McCreadie
Thu 16: Playtime with George Burt
Thu 30: Playtime with Helena Kay
St James Scottish Episcopal Church
Fri 17: Jyotsna Srikanth – Shakthi
Tue 14: Nigel Price Organ Trio
Sun 19: Louise Dodds & Elchin Shirinov
Beacon Arts Centre
Thu 30: Christine Tobin & Phil Robson
Wed 1: Matt Anderson Qrt
Thu 2: Jim Mullen
Sat 4: Greg Abate
Sat 11: Peter King Memorial Sax Summit
Sun 12: Jo Harrop & Paul Edis
Mon 13: Emily Francis Trio
Sat 18: Byron Wallen
Wed 22: Jason Rebello
Thu 23: Art Themen
Sat 4: James Carter Organ Trio
Sun 5: Tim Penn and the Second Line
Tue 7: Nduduzo Makhathini Trio
Wed 8: Stan Sulzmann Neon Orchestra/Mathias Eick
Thu 9: The Bad Plus
Mon 13 – Wed 15: Steve Gadd Band
Fri 17: Aaron Parks Quartet
Mon 20, Tue 21: Avishai Cohen Trio
Mon 27, Tue 28: Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin
Wed 29: Dennis Rollins’ Funky-Funk!
Sun 5: Fraser Fifield & Graeme Stephen
As always, this list isn’t intended to be comprehensive – other gigs are available
Her own new single and forthcoming album previewed by JENNY BRAY
On 9th July, earlier this year, Helen Burchall reported on BBC news Norfolk about The Happisburgh Time and Tide Bell unveiled on Happisburgh beach. The piece then chimed officially for the first time and will now continue to do so each time the tide comes in and goes out.
The creation of sculptor Marcus Vergette, the Happisburgh installation is one of 13 planned for the UK coastline, intended to highlight rising sea levels and global warming.
The first was installed in Appledore in Devon in May 2009.
The bells have been donated to communities by the artist, but local residents havehad to raise about £20,000 to cover the cost of the frame supporting the bell, plus various marine and planning applications and licences.
Made from marine bronze, The Happisburgh piece stands about 2.5m (8ft) tall. At high tide the bell will be partially covered – at which point it will “murmur” rather than chime, said Robert Payne, chair of the Happisburgh Time and Tide Bell group, which fundraised for the artwork.
As the tide on the day of unveiling was too high, the bell ceremony was held at the top of nearby cliffs
The rise of the water at high tide moves the clapper to strike the bell and “played by the movement of the waves, the bell creates a varying, gentle, musical pattern”, organisers said.
A poster attached to the bell explains its frame was made from an oak tree planted in 1790 and felled in 2001.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s launch, Mr Payne said: “Happisburgh is mostly known nowadays for its erosion but we wanted this to be a positive.
“Bells have always been a clarion call to action, so we hope people will take what they want to from this – whether it be about climate change or something else.”
The bell has already struck a sound with me, perhaps because the lyrics tell the story about my son ringing in the new year on the church bells at St Peter’s Church Langtoft East Yorkshire with my father! It was snowing, we’d been in the garden building a snowman and playing with sparklers! It was such a magical night!
That memory resonates with the Happisburgh Time And Tide Bell that I am delighted to feature it as the cover art of my new single, Ringing Bells. The single will be launched on Novemeber 2nd when I shall also be able to share news of my forthcoming new album One Hare One Owl.
I look forward to speaking with Norman Warwick, editor of Sidetracks And Detours and PASS IT ON, so that he can share an exclusive interview with Sidetracks And Detours readers.Meanwhile for further information tap in the link below.
Jazz On Air
Following the traditions of spooks and ghouls at this time of year Hot Biscuits will be celebrating Halloween next week with a selection of the more frightening sounds of jazz and blues from Gary Heywood-Everett and myself. If this sounds interesting, then share it with your friends. All you have to do is hop on your broomstick and join us 24/07 at www.mixcloud.com/stevebewick/Hot Biscuits baked by STEVE BEWICK
In Search Of An American Tune by RALPH DENT.
As we drove across State Borders, the windows on the bus seemed to mist up, and the vision of Americana seemed to blur. I think I became a bit paranoid and I began to think the man in th sitting behind me in a gabardine mac was a spy. In fact, it was our trusted Tourmaster General, Peter Pearson, who had booked two tickets for us on this tour across the state lines. It felt to me as though we´d both come to look for Americana.
Of course, I knew what I was looking for. I knew what Americana, looked like, sounded like and stood for, what Americana was and is. Those young fans in their seventies and eighties, Norman and Peter, perhaps believe it all began with John Stewart, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Tom Russell, Willie Nelson, Marty Stuart, Steve Earle and Hugh Moffatt etc. Lovers of American music might even add the names of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, as well as Dave Rawlings (and Gillian Welch and Robert Plant.
Fans of these artists, though, should not think that´s where it all began. The more I remember of the music of my youth, the more I realise the importance of much earlier artists such as Hoagy Carmichael (the subject of my article in last week´s PASS IT ON) and the wonderful Stephen Foster (right)
That said, there is no doubt that many contemporary artists now creating an delivering American music will surely leave a legacy that will perpetuate the genre
Charlie Crocket, Billy Strings, Ryan Bingham, Lucas Nelson, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney (duo), or The Brothers Osbourne.
Such artists should be left alone to hone their craft and to further shape the genre, but a recent article in The Nashville Tennessean identifies the fact the genre, and those artist, might have extra weight placed upon their shoulders by those who would hav e them show social and moral responsibility.
As I fell asleep on this coach journey I was troubled by a nightmare and heard distant shouts of Hey, Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone, but those scenes turned almost immediately into a pastoral dream in which Chip Taylor (left) , Peter Pearson and I simply agreed that to be called Americana, music must be The Real Thing !
A Reader´s Perspective: All Points Forward
To Look For Americana with PETER PEARSON
The ghost of Ralph Dent was sitting in front of me on the bus as it set out to look for Americana, muttering to himself a litany of names from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, urging us to look over our shoulders even as we drove ahead. RD sounded somewhat agitated.
It seems that Americana music has become part of Nashville’s culture wars. The genre was created some 20 years ago by a Nashville group of radio promoters seeking to create a programming and marketing platform for songwriters such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Darrell Scott, artists who were not in tune with the Nashville country music dominated by the likes of Garth Brooks (left). As Norman comments in his Down the Highways of America blog, both he and I were attending concerts in the UK by the likes of Guy Clark long before we became aware of the term Americana.
Now it seems that Nashville has created a beast that almost resembles the Country Music machine it set out to distinguish itself from. Arguments in Nashville abound about who is in and who is out. Is the market dominated by predominantly white males? Politics have entered the equation. For my part I prefer to think of such as Guy Clark and John Prine as American singer songwriters, just as I would classify Jackson Browne or, in the case of Mark Knopfler and Cat Stevens, as UK singer songwriters.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Down The Highways of Americana article posted in Sidetracks And Detours on 25th October, but it does seem that the genre has taken on a life of its own, deflecting from the intrinsic quality of the music itself. With this in mind I have been reflecting on the quality of male (since we have covered female previously) singer songwriters who I might consider to be successors to my favourites that have passed with increasing frequency in recent years. My playlist is still stacked with John Stewart, Eric Taylor (right), Tom Russell and Rodney Crowell but gradually I have become aware of younger artists who I might consider adding to my playlist.
Billy Strings is a young emerging American bluegrass musician who has recently won Grammy and Americana music awards. Primarily a guitarist he is the bluegrass equivalent of the blues influenced Joe Bonamassa. I have tried to accommodate him within my playlist without success. Yes, I like some of his output but like Joe Bonamassa I find it just too loud with little variation and his stage performances too showy. Nearly all my favourites are adept at performing intimate solo acoustic gigs (yes, Jackson Browne and Mark Knopfler are in that category) rather than the large scale heavily amplified gigs Billy Strings seems to favour.
Lucas Nelson, (left) son of Willy, leads the band Promise Of The Real which, in addition to backing Neil Young both on record and on stage, records and performs in its own name. I regard Lucas as an accomplished musician and songwriter and have added him to my playlist. His acoustic performances on the Bob Harris BBC Radio 2 show demonstrate his ability to perform his songs in that format-though he records and performs predominantly with the band.
John Fullbright is a young American singer songwriter who started as a front man for the band Turnpike Troubadors but now records and performs in his own right. His recent album, The Liar, demonstrates his performing and songwriting abilities. A multi-instrumentalist, (guitar, piano and harmonica ) he is well able to perform in an acoustic setting and warrants a place on my playlist.
Let´s consider a UK singer songwriter. John Smith (right) (how could he not be British) is a young singer songwriter who has released six albums and opened for the likes of Patty Griffin whilst guesting on the Transatlantic Sessions tour and with Roseanne Cash and Jackson Browne. Maybe not in the direct line of John Stewart or Guy Clark he is certainly worth a listen.
photo 5 jutz I have mentioned Thomm Jutz before in S&D in the context of the Brace Cooper Jutz ensemble but Thomm is highly accomplished singer songwriter performing and recording solo. He cut his teeth with Richard Dobson´(part of the Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt circle) and as lead guitarist in Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra. I have a number of his solo bluegrass albums.To Live In Two Worlds-Vol 1 and Vol 2 are in my collection. He collaborates with Tammy Rogers of the Steeldrivers on the album Surely Will Be Singing and with Tim Stafford on the album Lost Voices. Recently he co- produced and appeared with Martin Simpson on the folk flavoured acoustic album- Nothing But Green Willow featuring Tim O’Brien, Carla Dillon et al. A new album with Eric Brace is in progress.
Jason Isbell, former member of The Drive-By Truckers is a highly rated American singer songwriter who might best be described as alt country- a bit more of a rocker. He often performs as part of a duo with his fiddle playing wife-Amanda Shires. I enjoy his acoustic output but not so much his electric output, which he seems to favour.
Unfortunately only Thomm Jutz of those mentioned rates next to as high on my playlist as John Stewart, Guy Clark, John Prine and others who Norm has mentioned as creating a legacy of the genre. Maybe I am in something of a time warp or is it that we shall never see the likes of those artists again?
Certainly, our play-list Sidetracks And Detours Of Americana should fuel that debate.
SIDETRACKS AND DETOURS OF AMERICANA
artists selected by
Ralph Dent, Norman Warwick and Peter Pearson
John Stewart I Remember America
Guy Clark LA Freeway
Townes Van Zandt Pancho And Lefty
Tom Russell Last Train Smoking
Willie Nelson Moon River
Marty Stuart Porter Wagoner´s Grave
Steve Earle Guitar Town
Hugh Moffatt Mama Rita
Tom Waits Jersey Girl
Johnny Cash Daddy Sang Bass
Dave Rawlings Machine Its Too Easy
Robert Plant / Allison Strauss Gone Gone Gone
Hoagy Carmichael Buttermilk Sky
Stephen Foster Hard Times
Charlie Crocker Trinity River
Billy Strings Heartbeat Of America
Ryan Bingham The Devil Stole My Style
Lucas Nelson All Four Winds
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney Heartbreak On The Map
The Osbourne Brothers Sun Ain´t Ever Gone Dowen Yet
Chip Taylor I Want The Real Thing
Darrel Scott Banjo in The Holler
Garth Brooks The Thunder Rolls
John Prine Sabu Visits The Twin Cities
Jackson Browne Before The Deluge
Mark Knopfler Romeo and Juliet
Cat Stevens Father And Son
Eric Taylor Louis Armstrong´s Broiken Heart
Rodney Crowell Many A Long And Lonesome Highway
John Fullbright Stars
Niel Young Cowgirl in The Sand
The Turnpike Troubadours Three More Days
John Smith Burden Of The Road
Eric Brace Old Railroads
Thommas Juttz I Surely Will Be Sining
Richard Dobson So Have I
Peter Cooper Wait A Minute
Tim Stafford Tranquil Tides
Martin Simpson Jacob´s ladder
Tim O´Brien Crooked Road
Jason Isbell King of Oklahoma
track selection © Dent Pearson Warwick
l Island Insight s from Norman Warwick
La Voz speaks to restaurant owners who say
OUR FOOD MUST SPEAK OF LANZAROTE
Joao Faraco and Carla de Campos recently spoke to La Voz about their new restaurant Coentro, in Puerto Calero, where they give prominence to local products, interpreted in a different way Joao Faraco and Carla de Campos, graduates in gastronomy, are a couple who met working in the restaurant of a hotel in Lanzarote. When Joao received the award for best chef in the Canary Islands, they decided to start together, first with the El Faro restaurant in Playa Blanca and now with Coentro in Puerto Calero.
In an interview with the Radio Lanzarote programme, Más de Uno Gourmet, they explained their love for local products, the variety in the dishes they present and the creative freedom that comes with having your own restaurant.
Joao Faraco (right) explained what informs his attitude to his work.
PHOTO Joao0 I am Brazilian, I studied gastronomy in Brazil and came to Europe in 2006 to see this boom in gastronomy in Spain with Ferrán Adriá. I came to learn Mediterranean cuisine above all, focused on haute cuisine. I came from doing an internship at one of the best restaurants in Brazil, chef Alex Atala’s DOM.
I spent some time on the peninsula in several restaurants and when I arrived in Lanzarote it was love at first sight.
At first I worked in several hotels on the island such as Princesa Yaiza or Isla de Lobos…
I worked at Princesa Yaiza twice, first as executive general chef and then focused on the gastronomic restaurant. At Isla de Lobos we managed to turn the hotel’s entire gastronomy around. Before there was a very seventies and eighties gastronomy. We introduced the tasting menu and a cuisine more in line with the times we live in.
It was at the Princess Yaiza that we first met. We fell in love and built our family. From there, we felt the need to express ourselves not only under the parameter of a company, but also by creating our business, the Coentro restaurant. Now, of course, we have much more creative freedom. It’s not so much that no one tells you where to go, but rather it’s about the limitations that a company like a hotel has in terms of creation, products, dynamism…
A hotel has directors, a marketing system, salespeople… It has a lot of things that influence the moment you are creating the menus. For us this step was very important to be directly in contact with the client.
Meanwhile, Carla is studying gastronomy. She already has a higher degree in restoration, and explains that.
¨while doing an internship at Princesa Yaiza I met Joao. Although now my job does not involve anything in the kitchen, I handle administration, marketing, etc.: It was all because Joao won the award for Best Canary Islands Chef. So we decided to take advantage and start our own business. We met working and we got along well working. So we said now or never.
We started in Playa Blanca with El Faro restaurant and now we have opened Coentro in Puerto Calero.
At Coentro we make local cuisine. It is a market cuisine and seasonal products. That’s what I focus on when creating new dishes or tasting menus. Coentro is an informal, fun place where it is about making people feel comfortable and calm. Here we prepare the dishes in such a way that we ourselves are comfortable with what we are cooking. The restaurant’s entire selection of products, from the dishes to the wines, to the cocktails… we have to like it first.
Local produce is at the base of our cuisine.For me the most important thing is that 80% of everything that enters the restaurant represents and speaks about Lanzarote, about our history. Lanzarote is present at all times within Coentro with the vision of Joan Faraco, a Brazilian who has been on the island for 14 years and who interprets this product in a different way.
Interestingly, when each of the couple was asked to name their favourite dish on the menu, they could not agree on an answer
´It’s not about the one I like the most´, said Joao, ´but is about the one that people like the most¨!
´Because of him they didn’t leave any, what happens is that customers always ask us for the cod fritters, for example, which we have taken out of the menu many times, but it is impossible to take them out because they always end up asking for them. *It also happens to us with the cheek piece.
I don’t have a favorite dish, I change the menu every week so as not to get bored, but what people ask for always comes back.
Carla and Joao told listeners that they enjoy a good relationship with their clients who invariably come with a very open attitude and allow themselves to receive a lot of advice regarding the Canarian wines that are on the menu.
Carla sends out the reminder thatCoentro in Puerto Calero, in Plaza del Arte, location 11. For dinner, it is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Joao concludes the interview by saying that ´what is also is very important is that many restaurants are reluctant to make accommodations for vegans, vegetarians or people who have an intolerance. We are always open and always ready within our possibilities, so that everyone can enjoy their as much as possible´!.
Dee and I dined a couple of times at Coentro at Faro in Playa Blanca when we in the very baby-steps of our new life here on Lanzarote about eight years ago. We loved the restaurant then, and were in fact first alerted to this new venue by a review by the editor of my weekly articles for Lanzarote Information and What´s On Lanzarote. Read below what they had to say.
Miguel and his wife Julie always pay for the meals and don´t mention to owners the possibilities of favourable reviews. They are, therefore not persuaded by anything other than their liking of the meal and surroundings, when publishing a review, and therefore the words below are true testament.
Coentro is located in Plaza de Arte in Puerto Calero. There are inside and outside tables, offering a choice of dining, and the kitchen is on show.
You’re given two menus when you walk in – one for the various tapas dishes on offer, and the other for the tasting menu, which we went for, and which consisted of seven courses. The service is really good – we were looked after by two waiters, who were always there when we needed something, and who explained each dish in detail as they served it.
The crockery, which isn’t something I’d normally mention, is really special. Obviously hand made, and consisting of all kinds of interesting shapes and colours. We loved the way the waiters weighed up the dish and who it was for and then served it on an appropriate plate!
We ordered a bottle of wine from Bodega Guigan, and that was served with a small pre starter on the house – a spoon of raw red tuna (in season right now) and a little fried arepa. We were also served bread, with some really peppery olive oil and local sea salt.
The first of the starter courses arrived next – tomatoes from Tinajo with prawns. The tomatoes were served as a perfectly seasoned, super smooth cold soup, with beautifully cooked prawns, crunchy garlic croutons and a swirl of olive oil – what a start!
This was followed by Cod Fritters. These were small balls of battered, fried cod, which was so succulent. They were served with Bikini Truffle mini toasts, that were just sensational. Brie cheese and a truffle butter lightly toasted and served wrapped in paper.
The final starter was an egg which had been poached for an hour at 65 degrees served in a green vegetable purée. The egg was still runny, and cutting into it, created a wonderful taste sensation of eggs and vegetable contrasting with a crunchy paprika crumb.
After a well-earned pause – the waiters seemed to sense we needed a gap – the first of the mains arrived. It was billed very simply as black hake – a fillet of hake in a black batter, served on a sweet potato purée, also black, with liberal use of squid ink. The hake was divine, the purée perhaps lacking a little in seasoning for my taste.
The final main course was Beef with corn and peanut. It was a good chunk of beef, super tasty, but not as tender as I would have hoped, served with an amazing gravy (I should probably call it a jus) and a vegetable purée.
We finished with two melon based desserts, notable for the perfect ripeness of the melon and the sharpness of the passion fruit.
It was an exceptional meal. I urge you to visit Coentro before Joao disappears off the island to Michelin super stardom, because I’m sure he will. The quality of the ingredients, the innovative techniques and the superb pairing of flavours are really that special. Couple that with great service from the front of house team, and you have a real winner.
The tasting menu changes according to the ingredients available, but is €41 a head, and that represents amazing value for money.
Coentro is in Plaza del Arte, Puerto Calero. Call them to book on 676 833 799.
We head out on the happy trails again tomorrow, Monday30th October, because we remember that Carl Martion and Steve Goodman both told that you´d better get it while you can. We will update you on the forthcoming Canari Music Festival, and ask a soap star, ´didn´t you used to be somebody?´ We will see a prize for poetry awarded to a great songwriter, and then we will return to the office with yet another music book for the endless shelf, about music and mystique in Muscle Shoals. All you have to do is to follow the link appearing a couple of lines time and then share it with your like-minded, arts loving friends. There´s plenty of reading for you all to share, all for free. So, we´ll see you round the corner somewhere on the streets of Laredo.
The primary sources for Our Food Must Speak Of Lasnzarote was written for the print and on line media and first appeared in the Spanish edition of La Voz magazine. The review, written and published by the editing team of Lanzarote information and any other writers been attributed in our text wherever possible
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