Cordillera Sur Murcia Fest

I’m heading across to Murcia later today. My convoluted reasons for doing so are music-related. Murcia is a fine city. I spent a fair bit of time there when I first arrived in Spain but I’ve not headed back much recently. It’s been a bit too hot.

Back in August, whilst sat around a table at Boomtown’s crew bar, I got chatting with a couple of members of Mexican band, Los Kamer. In truth, they spoke little English and  my drunken Spanish was rudimentary. I think I managed to convey that I’d enjoyed their set (even though I’d not watched a great deal of it). They told me about a mammoth European tour they were embarking upon and I randomly made a commitment to catch up with them when they touched down in Murcia sometime in September. 

A couple of subsequent Internet searches proved fruitless and I wondered if my drunken head had made things up. Had I imagined that Los Kamer were playing in Murcia? 

Cordillera Sur Murcia Fest is a one-night festival taking place in the small town of Beniajan. From what I can tell having never been there, Beniajan is a half hour bus ride from Murcia, the equivalent perhaps of a festival in Broughton Astley for a Leicester dweller. If Beniajan has hotels or rental accommodation, they don’t have availability for tonight. But the impression I get is that this is one small town at the end of a dead-end street. It’s Spaghetti Western country. Let the adventure commence.

Los Kamer are one of the few bands on the bill for Cordillera Sur Murcia Fest. But I had a listen to the other acts listed (Eskorzo, Alien Tango and Clot) and couldn’t help but be impressed. The skewed psychedelics of Alien Tango particularly jumped out and  the bouncy world music of Eskorzo would surely get any crowd going. I missed Eskorzo when they made their Boomtown video but it does capture the essence of that great festival. Best of all, tickets for the Cordillera were hardly going to break the bank. At 2 euros for general admission and 5 euros for admission, a drink and a wristband, I plumped for the more expensive. It would have been rude not to. 

As with any ‘new’ thing that you throw yourself into, I don’t mind admitting that I’m a bit afraid. I’ve booked a hotel in Murcia and will build some Dutch courage by having a few afternoon beers. It looks easy enough to get to Beniajan by public transport though I do suspect that navigating my way back to the hotel at 4AM tomorrow morning once the music has stopped might prove more challenging. 

Still, that’s no reason for not doing something. Wish me luck. 






Xuan – Sheila

I woke early yesterday. It gave me chance to write up a couple of outstanding (as in overdue) articles whilst the villa remained cool. The night had dipped below twenty degrees for the first time in months. My head, for so long a fuzzy mess in this heat, yearned for a return to routine. 

So, once the articles were done and dusted, I turned to what I know and love best. And spent most of the day scouting around for new music. I was stumbling over so much that I enjoyed. Some of it made me cry; some of it made me laugh; some of it was clearly great art but pretty unlistenable all the same. 

Before long I had a list as long as my arm of acts that I wanted to feature on Sonic Breakfast. It’s fair to say that I’d had a productive day. Music can make you feel good. Out here in this remote space where it’s entirely feasible that I won’t speak to actual live humans for days on end, music had again been my companion and friend. 

Xuan (pronounced ‘swan’ apparently) was one such act that made me smile. This young woman from Dallas, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, is releasing an album, ‘Have Some Fun’, in November on Palo Santo records. On the evidence of the two tracks I’ve heard from it, there’s no misnomer here. 

Regular readers of ‘Sonic Breakfast’ will know that I’m a sucker for a bit of indie bubblegum twee. Initial single release, ‘We Were Just Talking’ ticks those boxes as it playfully sets up the tried and tested girl-meets-boy / girl-misses-boy story. Xuan’s voice, deliberately innocent, gives the sound some extra chewiness. Let go of any cynicism you might have and I’ve no doubt you’ll find charm within. 

Xuan has just released a new video for another song from the album ‘Sheila’. It’s another belter of a tune. On the surface, it appears to be about an old classic car but dig beyond that and there’s a wider metaphor at play. This is about classic friendship and fun times. 

I’ll be looking forward to more music-listening fun when I get to hear Xuan’s full album. 


Lost and found

This Spanish sabbatical has thrown up its fair share of characters; who would have thought that one of the main players would be a hound dog though? 

Cast your minds back a few months. Some ridiculed whilst others empathised but I was kept ‘prisoner in my own home’ by Herbert, the Podenco. (Blog post here).

Since Herbert’s howling ceased on my patio, I’ve often wondered what has happened to the poor mutt. In an ideal world, the dog would have been picked up by a kindly soul or it might have found wherever it was journeying. I consoled myself that this is one of those frequent stories in life where the ending can never be known. 

Last week I was procrastinating with Facebook, a favourite hobby of mine when the heat gets too fierce or the mosquito bites too itchy. I stumbled upon an article on a local Catral news group that I’m part of. Typically, it hosts articles about the weather, fiestas or classic car shows. But, staring out at me today, was an article about a hound, Alisha, who had been missing in action for four months. I read on. 

There was a professional photograph of Alisha at the top of a Facebook group, “Alisha Busca”. The group had about 50 people in it then yet that number has now grown to well over 100. Without reading too far, it quickly became evident that this villa’s previous tenant (known ‘affectionately’ in this blog as crazy dog woman) was involved in the search. Alisha was her dog and had escaped back in May shortly after the move. 

Now, here’s the truly amazing bit. Lost, undoubtedly desperate and not yet settled into her new home, Alisha began her incredible journey. She spent a couple of weeks travelling from Aspe, over forty kilometres away, to get back to this villa here. 

I find that mind-blowing. It’s stating the obvious but Alisha didn’t have a phone with sat-nav on it; she can’t (to my knowledge) read road signs. The only time she would have done the trip before was in the back of a truck. How did she even start going in the right direction? These hunting dogs are smart. 

On Sunday evening, the lovely Alisha was reunited with her owner (and dog mates) after being recaptured about six miles from here. As the Facebook group found its stride, sightings of Alisha became increasingly frequent. After four months living in the wild, Alisha seems relatively healthy and I’m sure she’s happy to now be at her new home. I’m so glad that this dog is no longer stray.

There is, of course, a sting in this tales tail. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the amount of money she still owes to Sarah in unpaid rent, bills and general damage, crazy dog woman didn’t pass on any forwarding details when she moved, not to me or the next door neighbours. Back in June when Alisha turned up on my doorstep I had no way of accurately contacting her though I tried. 

Alisha needn’t have suffered for so long over a Spanish summer if only her owner had acted in a more responsible and honest manner when moving. And that’s why this overwhelmingly happy story still leaves a slightly sour after-taste.