In May this year, ‘Todo de ti’ peaked at number two in the Spotify Top Songs Global. The artist was Raúl Alejandro Ocasio Ruiz, better known as Rauw Alejandro, who had ambitions to be a professional footballer before injury cut short a promising career at the very early age of 20.
He moved from his native Puerto Rico to Florida, now intent on a career in music. He signed a music deal in 2017 and was part of a 2018 Sony Music Latin project to unearth new talent. This was to give him his break. The first single he released as a lead artist, ‘Todo’ in December 2017, was remixed and re-released in May 2018 and went platinum on the Latin listing of the RIAA, Recording Industry Association of America.
His debut album, ‘Afrodisíaco’, was released in November last year. Meanwhile, ‘Todo de ti’ has so far secured almost 374 million views on YouTube, having premiered on May 20 this year.
From what is defined as a new generation of Puerto Rican urban singers, he falls into the rap and reggaeton categories. His concert in Palma concludes the New Stage series at the Son Moix Stadium.
Timba is a Cuban musical genre that has its roots in the “son cubano” of the late nineteenth century and in salsa. Afro-Cuban folkloric music has since combined with funk and R&B to create timba, which is more dynamic and aggressive than salsa.
The rhythm is everything and one of the leading names in timba is trumpet player, singer and songwriter, Alexander Abreu.
From Cienfuegos in Cuba, he is a graduate of the National Art Schools in Havana. A trumpet teacher, he has been a professor of Cuban music at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. Having spent some 20 years teaching music, he formed his own group in 2007 - Havana D’Primera. Essentially a collective of top Cuban musicians, Havana D’Primera have won a host of awards and been nominated for the Latin Grammys, and the band, led by Alexander Abreu, are in Palma this week.
Friday, 9pm, Trui Theatre, Camí Son Rapinya 29, Palma.
The Gatzara Quartet
The guembri, or sintir, is a three-stringed skin-covered bass plucked lute that has its origins among the Gnawa people of Morocco. Walid Mahmoud plays the guembri. He is also a vocalist and member of the Gatzara Quartet along with Gora Casado (bass), Feliciano Gz (sax and flute) and Xavi Barbot (drums). Gnawa music has its own origins that go beyond Morocco and to Mali and other west African countries. It was taken to Morocco by slaves, who had their musical heritage and beliefs.
These were incorporated into trancelike ceremonies for curing the sick and healing the soul. The Gatzara Quartet incorporate all this tradition into an African musical heritage that crossed the Atlantic and was to give birth to jazz and then funk and groove.
The group takes wind melodies from various parts of the world in creating a truly original Afrojazz sound complemented by lyrics that draw on ancestral Arabic languages.
Friday, 8pm, Teatre Mar i Terra, C. Sant Magí 89, Palma.
Ode to Time
In the world of Spanish dance and choreography, they don’t get much bigger than Maria Pagés. She is one of the most renowned flamenco artists of all, and her awards include Spain’s Gold Merit for Fine Arts, an honour she shares with the likes of Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Pedro Almodóvar.
While still performing worldwide, in 1990 - aged 27 - she founded her own dance company. The latest show by this company is ‘Una oda al tiempo’. Ode to Time is described as being an allegory of the times we live in, combining the possibilities of happiness and utopia with the fear of terrorism and the attack on democracy. It is a dance show that asks questions about what is happening in the world today.
Antonio Manuel Álvarez Vélez is better known as Pitingo, a word that comes from Caló, a language of the Spanish and Portuguese Romani. This isn’t an entirely complimentary word. The translation can mean a show-off, but then Pitingo does have a great deal to be boastful of. Among other things, he has invented a genre of singing - ‘soulería’, the adaptation of soul to the bulería of flamenco.
While working at the airport in Madrid as a baggage handler, he got to know some of the leading names in flamenco at a bar in the city. They included guitarist Pepe Habichuela and singer Enrique Morente, both of whom were instrumental in the release of his first album in 2006 - entitled ‘Pitingo con Habichuelas’. The success of this was followed by ‘Soulería’ in 2008, there having been a show by this name in Madrid.
A gold disc for his version of ‘Killing Me Softly’ stemmed from this album, and his path to real stardom was secured.
Over the years, his celebrity has led him to jury panels for Spanish television talent shows, and he very much remains at the forefront of Spain’s music scene. He is in Palma on Saturday for the second concert of four for the Aspanob Festival, a benefit for the parents of children with cancer in the Balearics.
Saturday, 9pm, Palacio de Congresos, Palma
Susanne Herzog is from Naumburg in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, a small town that boasts a cathedral that is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The classical traditions of this town were the context for the young Susanne to take up the violin at the age of five.
She studied at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar before moving on to Leipzig and then to Vienna, where she was tutored by Professor Gerhard Hetzel. While in Leipzig she performed with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and she has been a member of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1989.
For the third concert of this year’s Puerto Soller Festival of Classical Music, Susanne Herzog is joined by viola player Gernot Adrion. A soloist with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1996, he was the winner of numerous awards in his youth before becoming a professor at the orchestra’s academy.
The third member of the chamber trio is pianist and festival artistic director, Alexander Malter. Their programme comprises works by Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert.
Saturday, 7.30pm, Sant Ramon Parish Church, Puerto Soller.