Sunday, 3 August 2008

Music Festivals

We've been in Portugal, again this year, half way between Lisbon and the Algarve, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the wonderful Festival Músicas Do Mundo (FMM) in Sines. Held every year in July, FMM invites the most important names of the global circuit in world music, jazz and blues to perform at the biggest world music festival in Portugal. The festival kicked off in Sines for one night with music from Brasil, Mali and Galicia. It then moved to Porto Covo, a picturesque village in Alentejo, for three nights with a selection of bands from Portugal, Cape Verde, USA, Belgium/Finland, Italy, India and Belize/Honduras, before returning to Sines.

Danae, one of the many vibrant performers, wowed the crowd outside the Arts Centre with her amazing voice and performance.

Waldemar Bastos from Angola
The castle of Sines is a superb setting for many of the performers, culminating in a magnificent firework display on the final night of the festival.

Vinicio Capossela from Italy

A statue of Vasco da Gama, adjacent to the castle, overlooks the harbour of Sines

Asif Ali Khan & Party musicians from Pakistan
Each year an eclectic mix of musical talent entertains the crowd in a variety of locations including the Arts Centre, the Beach and the Castle at Sines as well as by the beach at Porto Covo.
Praia de S. Torpes
This is one of the most crowded beaches in the area but, as you can see, it doesn't look overcrowded for a sunny day in July. This is a view from the lovely beach restaurant/bar Trinca Espinhas which we can highly recommend for its lovely seafood and delicious starters.

Ashraf Malik behind his stall of crystals and natural stones
During the music festival the steps from Sines castle to the beach are lined with interesting stalls offering crystals, jewellery, ayurvedic massages, clothing and artefacts. Ashraf had a beautiful collection of crystals, pendulums, essential oils and the like.

KTU from Finland/USA

A view from backstage looking across the castle grounds

Alcácer do Sal
Bunting decorates one of the streets in Alcácer do Sal, a pretty riverside town an hour's drive from Sines. Seek out one of the riverside restaurants for some good Portugese food.

Colourful stalls line the promenade at Sines
One of the pleasures of Sines during the music festival is its collection of (mostly) hippie stalls by the beach. Another is its mix of 'tasquinhas' or food and drink stands next to the stage by the beach. Wander off the beach and you've a great selection of food and drink to chose from. This year we really liked the Kibes (minced meat patties flavoured with pine nuts, bulgar wheat and herbs, in particular mint) washed down with a mean mojito cocktail made by one of the stalls.

The Dizu Plaatjies' Ibuyambo Ensemble
This band from South Africa entranced the audience on the stage by the beach, giving the sunset that evening a special feel. It's a magical setting, a sea of happy faces bordered by the sea, and spirits are high!

The Vasco da Gama beach of Sines
The statue of navigator Vasco da Gama, which is adjacent to the town castle, overlooks this beach. You can just see the dark scaffolding of the beach stage to the left of the image. Although ringed by industry and large shipping piers, Sines beach and harbour remain unspoilt.

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble USA
Last year the festival featured street musicians. This colourful ensemble proved popular with the crowds beachside.

Porto Palafito Carrasqueira on the Sado River estuary

Harry Manx on stage 2007
The wonderful Blues man and mohan veena player Harry Manx from Canada performing on the beach stage.

A magical moment between father and child

Lula Pena performs for a young audience in the Arts Centre in 2007

Lula gives a workshop at the Arts Centre

A view of Sines harbour from the castle walls

Mud Morganfield at the Mijas Blues Festival in Spain, June 2008
Music from another part of the Mediterranean - Mijas in Spain. We spent a great long weekend in June at the Blues Festival in Mijas listening to some excellent musicians, including eldest son of Muddy Waters, Mud Morganfield.

Big Joe Louis and Wes Weston on stage at Mijas
If you love The Blues you'll love this festival, set in the lovely surroundings of Mijas.

Peaches Staten from Chicago

Sunday morning, after the festival
The streets were quiet on the morning following the festival. Mijas is a picturesque white village (pueblo blanca) in the foothills of the Costa del Sol which overlooks the sea. It attracts artists and tourists alike and has many tempting boutiques.

A street scene in Mijas

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