Wednesday, 25 August 2010

I've been in Sines, Portugal at its World Music Festival

It's that time of year when I disappear to Portugal for FMM Sines, the World Music Festival which is an annual event in the lovely town of Sines. Thames Nature Notes will return to normal soon!

Statue of Vasco da Gama next to the castle in Sines

Vasco da Gama was born in Sines and his statue overlooks the harbour, next to the old castle where he was born. Sines is an attractive coastal town half way between Lisbon and The Algarve. Every year the town holds a music festival celebrating world music, an impressive and friendly event in spectacular surroundings. Portugal hasn't been immune to the global recession and the festival, previously a 10-day event, was reduced to 5 days this year. The concerts were staged in two venues, one inside the castle walls and the other down by the beach.

One of the lovely sandy beaches near Sines

There are excellent beaches along this whole coastline which include vast stretches of white sand and areas with rock pools and coves. This part of the coastline between Sines and Porto Covo is close to one of my favourite beach-side restaurants, Trinca Espinhas.

Sines beach and the temporary stage which is set up for the festival

Early evening and late night concerts are held at the beach stage where the atmosphere is friendly and fun. Along the promenade there are stalls selling local food and drinks at sensible prices. Visitors can also find plenty of market stalls selling clothing, jewellery and other ethnic items.

Sines harbour

Nat King Cole En Espagnol

David Murray was one of the excellent artistes appearing on stage at the castle on the first night of the festival.

Daniel Melingo

Daniel Melingo was guest vocalist for three of the numbers performed by Nat King Cole En Espagnol.

Allyssa Lamb

Las Rubias del Norte is a seven piece combo fronted by two classically trained singers, Allyssa Lamb and Emily Hurst. The purity of their voices is ethereal, incorporating classical harmonies set to a latin beat.

Taylor Bergren-Crisman

Bass player, Taylor, on stage with Las Rubias del Norte.


Wimme Saari, a Sámi joik singer from Finland, uses a traditional chant style with elements in common with Native American music. The combination of the band's use of instruments and Wimme's joik vocals produce elemental and haunting sounds.

Tapani Rinne

Tapani on clarinet is from the Finnish experimental band RinneRadio.

Yasmin Levy

Yasmin's distinctive and passionate voice combines Ladino and Flamenco cultures with her own unique blend of middle eastern words and sounds, "a musical reconciliation of history" as she puts it. Her voice is hypnotic, seductive and deeply emotional.

Yasmin and some of the band

Janick Martin

Janick played diatonic accordion with the Jacky Molard Quartet & Founé Diarra Trio during the Sines festival.

Founé Diarra Trio

Tom Greenhalgh and Jon Langford

The Mekons are a British Punk band, formed in the late 70's by a group of Leeds University art students. Eight members of the band were on stage in Sines.

Dorothée Hannequin

French vocalist and guitarist Dorothée taught herself to play the acoustic guitar in her mid-teens but only started to sing several years later.

The Rodeo's Jean Thevenin

Dan Kaufman

Guitarist Dan Kaufman with the band Barbez together combine such sounds as French musette, Argentine tango, post-war classical and pre-MTV punk.

Barbez's Pamelia Kurstin plays the theremin

Peter Hess, also with Barbez


Sa Dingding

Colourful folk singer/songwriter Sa Dingding was born in Inner Mongolia. Her songs were originally influenced by the music of ethnic minorities which she encountered while living with her grandmother in her formative years.

Keyboard player with Sa Dingding

Lead singer with Tinariwen

Tinariwen is a band of musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. Their sound has its roots in West African music with a hint of 'the blues', though members of the band say they hadn't heard American blues music until they began touring on the European circuit.




Lole Montoya

Lole Montoya, formerly part of Spanish musical duo Lole y Manuel, composed and performed innovative flamenco music in the vanguard of new flamenco. Perhaps influenced by her Algerian born mother, Lola's lovely voice combines traditional Spanish flamenco with Arabic rhythms and styles.

Guitarist with Lole Montoya

Kahiné Kuyaté from the Cheick Tidiane Seck band

On stage at Sines the Cheick Tidiane Seck band performed traditional and popular Malian music from the Manding-speaking region of West Africa.

Members of the Cheick Tidiane Seck band

Yéyé Kanté from the Cheick Tidiane Seck band

Fireworks as the band Staff Benda Bilili perform on stage at Sines Castle

Fireworks to celebrate the last night of the festival

Thousands of delighted fans enjoyed not only the eclectic mix of World Music but also the colourful spectacle of fireworks during Staff Benda Bilili's stage performance at Sines Castle.