Mia, Filipa and I left Lisboa after a long working day heading South towards Sines in Alentejo where the World Music Festival was taking place, so as to be able not to miss the last two days of such a well known event.
We stopped after a few hours drive to eat something Filipa had especially cooked for us, once we knew the moment we got to Sines we wouldn't have too much time before the night shows, which were supposed to start at eight on the stage placed close to the bay.
We still had to stop in Cercal, a small village just a few kilometres from Sines, where we had booked a rural-like hotel to drop our backpacks and get the necessary directions for the festival grounds.
We felt we had to take a few photos in the hotel room veranda, as it was huge and architecturally typical of the Southern rural houses, one does not come across too often but in the Southern region.
As we drove into Sines we could already hear the sound of Winston McAnuff and Fixi's. McAnnuf better known as "electric dread" used to be the Inner Circle's singer until he met the multi-faceted French Parisian musician Fixi whom he has been performing with since then in what is said to be a mixture of reggae and rock-musette with musical incursions into the soul and afro-beat sound.
I must confess none of us had ever heard of him before, but we were really impressed with his stage performance.
We soon had to walk up to the Castle grounds where the next performances would take place and although they were to be paid, contrary to the ones going close to the beach numbers of people were queuing up as we reached the upper part of the village.
As we were queuing we could see Tigran Hamasyan performing in one of the various gigantic screens that stood at the entrance to the Castle. Everyone seemed to be mesmerised by the Jazzy sound produced by this amazing Armenian pianist, who happens to be just 24 years old and considered among the best in this type of piano improvising. He was supposed to be playing with another virtuoso jazzy musician from India, Trilok Gurtu, who unfortunately wasn't able to make it to the festival.
I can't possibly imagine what it would have been like to have both of them performing on stage ... the solo was already too good to be true ... Tigran went beyond what sounded possible as far as solo performance is concerned.
The night performances continued with the incredible rebel rock sound of Rachid Taha, an Algerian living in France. I must say I was taken by his "seductive" capacity to communicate with the public, despite not having what one could call a great voice. I don't think anyone with a different "stage personality" from his would have managed to have people really "feel" the mixture of traditional North African chaâbi and Rai flavour with techno and rock and roll he brought to light.
The mandolute (oud) player was second to none and what made it so special was also the fact that I had never heard a musician taking advantage of such an exquisite instrument like the oud in an equally exquisite musical approach.
I don't think anyone will ever be able to thoroughly describe the last performance by the Shibusa Shirazu orchestra from Japan. The reason being that there were over twenty performers on stage in what could vaguely be considered a fusion between theatre and dance backed up by a majestic jazz brass band group.
One had difficulty in following everything that was going on the stage - each of the naked and half naked intervening actors were absolutely outstanding in their moves of "butoh", known as the dance of the absurd and grotesque.
I was so eager to understand the performance that I didn't take more than one photo (and another one whilst they were preparing the stage). I must admit I was "confused", though equally hypnotised by it all.
We left the concert grounds in the Castle area by four in the morning, which meant I had been awake for almost twenty four hours ... something I hadn't done for a while ... but it was worth it ...
(To be continued)