After the magnificent opening on the end of April, the second day of “Sofafest” brought us to the Casa Planas (Centre Cultural Casa Planas), an amazing old foto factory turned into an art residency, co-working space, and a place for multi-artistic programs, from cinema to concerts. This place showed us the real intention of “Sofafest” to bring the audience into smaller and more intimate venues with the musicians. By setting up three stages in three levels of Casa Planas, the audience had a possibility to choose who are they going to listen and even to switch between the stages if they, like me, wanted to catch at least a small part of every show.
I started on the highest stage, in the co-working space which was transformed into a cozy room with a sofa in the middle where Lalo Garau and Tom Trovador made us feel like we are in their living room by playing guitars and sharing stories in between. They started together and then continued by switching from one to another. The songs were cheerful, played on two guitars and followed by their vocals which were different in their character so that switching made a concert more dynamic and interesting, especially when Lalo Garau invited his girlfriend to join him on stage and sing with him. Those moments placed us right in the heart of Sofafest’s idea – sharing emotional and true moments between the listeners and the artists. Even do most of us were complete strangers, Lalo Garau didn’t hesitate to share a story about his experience with peyotl and Tom Trovador made us laugh with his memory on the night when he wrote a song about his dog, a song in which we had to bark in rhythm when he would make a break. I had so much fun on this stage that it was impossible for me to break the moment and go to the other two and catch rest of the shows which were happening on the middle stage and in the basement.
For the second round of shows, I was in the front line in the basement. As I’ve heard, this part of the Casa Planas is used as a cinema but for this occasion, the whole place was focused on the small stage in the center of the room where Anne Marie, a Singer-songwriter from Serbia, performed for the first time. Her participating in the festival shows how much “Sofafest” is opened for the new artist, completely unfamiliar in Mallorca, and how much the organizers of the festival are good in finding the artist for the program. With around 2000 followers on her Facebook page, Anne Marie is known for her solo career and also as a member of many bands from which “Wooden Ambulance” is the most popular, but in Mallorca she’s absolutely anonymous artist which plays on her mother language, so it was very interesting to see the reactions of the people who were there to hear her for the first time. She performed four songs on an acoustic guitar connected to the echo pedal with a looper and a voice processor. In that space, her music made a dreamy like atmosphere which in some moments got trippy, twin peaks dimensions because of the layers of her voice in the song “Naopaka“.
Astor Lajka, another Singer-songwriter from Serbia, followed her show by bringing more rock and loudness into the room. He’s most known as a street musician who travels around the Balkans by playing on the street, but three years ago he was also living in Cadiz, a small town in South of Spain, where he learned enough Spanish that he can connect more with the audience. But in any case, his songs are also on Serbian and the only thing that helped the audience understand it more was the context and the stories in the intros. He got the biggest applause and wild reactions after playing “Epska” (also known as “Deseterac”) which is an atypical acoustic psychedelic song with lyrics written in the metric of ten syllables, a form which was kept as a national heritage in XIX century from which the modern Serbian language evolved.
The first “Sofafest” festival achieved to gather so many different artists but they showed the biggest courage by bringing Singer-songwriters from Serbia, Croatia, and Serbia because the audience is totally unfamiliar with their language and yet they found a way to connect and enjoy the music. That was obvious in the case of Peter Andrej who performed in the middle stage of Casa Planas. Without any amp or speakers, he was playing the guitar and telling a story on Slovenian, which for me, as someone who understands Serbo-Croatian, sounds more uncanny, especially in combination with Peter Andrej’s deep voice and melancholic tunes. When I talked about the festival with some British tourists I met, they were amazed that Peter Andrej was performing there. I thought he is well known and famous, even in the UK. Later on, I found out about Peter Andre, an English Singer-songwriter who is a huge star in the UK and probably the rest of the world, but for us, Peter Andrej is the biggest Slovenian Singer-songwriter star, not just because of his music, but also because of his contribution to the Singer-songwriter music scene which he made richer by creating “Kantfest“, a festival in Ruše (Maribor). This was my first time to hear Peter Andrej live so really got into his music and I felt need to go deeper and understand the lyrics more.
My Spanish is not nearly good enough to understand stand up comedy by Tolo Sanso, who also performed in Casa Planas, so until “Aviators“, I was just wondering around the building, sharing impressions with other people and picking up new names and recommendations. I got the feeling that everybody was very excited about the whole festival and that kind of a mysterious way of moving the gigs to different places and venues around the Palma. It looks like the “secret” part of Sofafest was the best marketing, because people were talking about it and trying to find out more ways to get the information about the artists and the places where the concerts will happen.
Last show brought all the crowd down to the basement where “Aviators”, a three-man band, made a show to remember. I didn’t expect anything like that from one guitar, a bass, and a cajon, but the way how those songs were made and especially the smooth way how they performed it marked my experience on “Sofafest”. Every song had so much content in it, so many catchy tunes and amazing rhythm figures that the attention of the audience was glued to their show. My mind was pulsing from thoughts and feelings and my body was feeling the grove so I couldn’t help my self but dance. Juan Navarro, the frontmen of the band in which every member had its important creative role, has such unique style of performing and singing which in combination with the rhythm section made every song big as a novel, with so much space to put your attention to it. After the show, I talked to Navarro and he told me how the band got together on a jam session in a bar. They were playing song “Aviation” from “The Shadow Puppets” and it sounded so good that they had to form a band and name it in the honor of that jam.
That story was another proof that Sofafest is doing things the right way because the jam sessions are a very important part of making the music scene of one town more colorful and different. Jams are the creative workshops for the musicians where they can experiment and find new ways to connect to each other and maybe create something as great as the Aviators, or something huge and important as Sofafest. That’s why every night the afterparty of Sofafest is in some bar with an open mic or a stage for jamming. That’s why I can’t wait for the evening and be part of another day of Sofafest.
P.S. I just started writing in English, so probably this text has a lot of mistakes and strange expressions, but my need to contribue to Sofafest is bigger then my writing self-respect.
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