Wednesday, January 30, 2013

St.Bridgets's Cross Making on La Gomera

A very special event, organised by Brendan Rohan at very short notice, is taking place for local fishermen in the bar of the fishermen's co-op on the pier in the harbour of Valle Gran Rey on St.Bridget's night, 31st of Jan., from 10pm. ALL are welcome and there will be traditional Irish music. Don't miss it ! See below for details.  Most posters put up locally are in Spanish, however. Brendan is a regular visitor to La Gomera, but in previous years he was committed to organise this event on the island of El Hierro. By popular local request he'll be introducing it on La Gomera this year.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Irish Music Again On La Gomera(Updated Jan 29 th)

Renowned Irish piper Mickey Dunne will be on La Gomera during next week and will play the uillean pipes in various locations on the island. He will be joined by two more Irish traditional musicians. 
They'll be playing  at 'Casa Familia' Valle Gran Rey,Tuesday night, 29th of Jan., at 9pm,
at 'Bodegita del Medio' near Baby Beach on Wednesday, 30th of Jan., at 9pm,(V.G.R.),
at a venue on the square (plaza) in Vallehermoso from around 4pm on Thurs., 31st of Jan.,
and 'Bar Teguerguenche' aka Manolo's on Friday, 1st of Feb., at 9pm, (V.G.R.).
There will be more appearances, but I don't have the full details, so keep an eye and an ear out for them...
Piper Mickey Dunne will be on La Gomera

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winds Easing in Canaries Today

It's been a windy day yesterday in the Canary Islands, but today the north-easterly gales should ease gradually and we'll be back to dry, sunny conditions with moderate winds, dominated by high pressure. The chart for Friday looks promising (unless you pray for rain): 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


On Monday, 21st of January, an Irish passport issued to John O'D.(full name on request) was lost or stolen either on Tenerife or on La Gomera. John last had it when he bought ferry tickets to La Gomera at the ferry terminal in Los Cristianos. Any information regarding this passport could be left anonymously by posting a comment here - or you can phone me on 0034-922805603. John is staying on La Gomera for 2 weeks.
UPDATE (26-01-13): The missing passport has been found and returned to John, who wants me send a BIG THANK YOU to all the people who helped.

Strange Insect

A few days ago I found this large insect sitting totally motionless for a long time on a pavement here on La Gomera (see photos below). Lots of people took photos but nobody seemed to know what it was. There was an easterly current of air at the time, so it probably came from Africa and had to rest after the long journey. If anyone knows what it is, please leave a comment to enlighten me. 
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Kim Houmoller (see 2 comments below) the mystery appears to be solved: It is a rare moth, Acherontia atropos
..and having looked it up on Wikipedia, I must agree with Kim Houmoller, because it can be identified by the vaguely skull-shaped pattern on its back,see:
It is even featured in a music video by Massive Attack.
Seen on a pavement on La Gomera

Monday, January 21, 2013

Additional Gigs At Valle Luna Festival 2013

There is a lot more happening at the 4th Valle Luna Festival than can be found on the program(s). Just to mention one event more:
'REEL TIME' will be playing Irish music at the 'Casa Familia' near the beach in La Playa on Wednesday night, Jan 23rd, from 9pm.

Valle Luna Festival '13 at the Sunday Market

Impressions of some of the action yesterday afternoon:
Musicians rehearsing 
'The Jazz Jammers'
'Poisoned Folk'
Vueltas Choir
The Sunday market
Peter (Skazz trumpet)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Let's SKAZZ Again

A short video (it appears blank, but does play when you click the '>' button, bottom left) of Irish band 'Skazz' live at the Valle Luna Festival 2013 on Friday, Jan. 18th, at the Cacatua Bar in Vueltas, Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera. The festival continues until Jan. 27th. Related posts:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

29th Canary Islands Music Festival 2013

This event brings acclaimed classical musicians and ensembles to the Canaries every year who tour all of the islands. La Gomera hosts three of these concerts in the capital, San Sebastian de La Gomera this year (see poster):

The Brentano Quartet is a string quartet from the USA founded in 1992. It is the first quartet-in-residence at Princeton University, where the members regularly teach chamber music. They have embarked on several tours in the United States and can now be enjoyed here.

Fabio Biondi is an Italian violinist and conductor. Born in Palermo, Sicily, Biondi began his international career at the age of 12 playing a concert with the Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

 ...and the Czech Chamber Music Orchestra is coming to La Gomera © Festival de Musica de Canarias

Friday, January 18, 2013

4th Valle Luna Festival Program(s) 2013

Here are some of the programs of the Valle Luna Festival 2013, that has just started in Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera. As the organisation is 'a bit behind' again this year, this is only a taste of all the events that are going to happen here in the next few days - or even weeks. Musicians and artists are still booking gigs as I write...
Click on images to enlarge:


Mega SKAZZ Gig Tonight

'Skazz' will be at the legendary 'Cacatua' in Vueltas, the harbour area of Valle Gran Rey, tonight and Peter the trumpet player has promised that he will be officially opening the Valle Luna Festival for the 104th time - well he'll be 114 years old soon... A gig not to be missed. See you there.
...and the same again tomorrow.

Special Offer For Ferry Tickets

The ferry line 'Naviera ARMAS' have extended their special offer for the connection from Tenerife (Los Cristianos) to La Gomera (San Sebastian). Until the 28th of February residents can travel for only 7 Euros each way and for a car they will only charge an additional 7 Euros. Non-residents and tourists will pay double that amount, but this is still a remarkably good price and thankfully here are NO hidden surcharges. 
...AND from now until the last day of January they have reduced the price even further to just 5 Euros each way per passenger and per car !
The same offers apply to all ARMAS inter-island services in the Canary Islands, only the few days from the 8th to the 13th of February are not included in this offer.
Tickets can be booked online here:
UPDATE summer '13:
While this very special offer has ended, there are still very attractive prices for ferry tickets available all summer. Some highly frequented sailings on some dates (e.g. festival weekends) are obviously more pricey, but it is worth checking both Naviera Armas and Fred Olsen and you might pick up a bargain fare on their websites. (See 'LINKS' on right sidebar)

Hens For Fire Victims

After the recent distribution of fruit trees by the self-help group 'Plataforma Valle Gran Rey', today they will have 100 hens to give away to those who lost livestock during the fire last August.
Meanwhile the solidarity calendars are still on sale and for each calendar sold one fruit tree will be bought and planted. See:Solidarity Calendar Published

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Valle Luna Festival 2013 Art Event

The Valle Luna Festival 2013 in Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera will include an art exhibition with paintings, installations and sculptures from the 21st to the 25th of January in the cultural
centre (casa de la cultura), near the town hall and the main taxi rank in La Calera. The opening vernissage is on Monday,Jan. 21st, from 5-9 pm. and all are welcome.

More about the festival:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Valle Luna Festival 2013 - 'Light' Edition

After lots of speculation and uncertainty the 'Valle Luna Festival' will finally kick off this Thursday, January 17th, and will continue until Sunday, 27th of Jan. 2013.
The organisers didn't receive any funding at all and decided to have a 'light' version of the festival without the big stages. 
Expect pub gigs with mostly local bands and artists and a separately organised art exhibition. Street entertainment and one larger event are also envisaged.
Just two days before the festival, I'm still waiting for the programme, but I've just been promised by one of the organisers that the festival poster is to be published 'later tonight'. 
Some organisation, with a large dose of 'mañana'...
I'll keep you posted if and when I get more details.

Related posts:4th Valle Luna Festival
                       Valle Luna Festival 2013 Poster
                         Valle Luna Festival 2013 Art Event

Saturday, January 12, 2013

El Silbo - La Gomera's Unique Language

'El Silbo', also known as 'Silbo Gomero', is the ancient and still practised unique other language of La Gomera. The name is derived from the Spanish word for whistling, 'silbar', and it is a language in its own right and not simply a whistled form of Spanish. You can even whistle in almost any other spoken language using El Silbo. It probably evolved to enable communication across the island's ravine-ridden terrain during the approx. 1500 years the original  inhabitants had the island to themselves. El Silbo is not practised on any of the other Canary Islands and somewhat similar whistled communication in the rest of the world is nowhere near as refined, or long forgotten if it ever existed.
El Silbo being whistled  ©
El Silbo consists of vowels and consonants that are whistled involving a technique that uses the fingers of one hand and the tongue to produce different whistling sounds. The intonation is controlled by the tongue, and the cup of the free hand is used to modulate the sound. The resulting communication is that loud that it can travel for a couple of miles across the mountainous terrain, but it sounds amazingly pleasant to the ear even if you stand close to the whistler. Messages and gossip can thus be passed rapidly from valley to valley and right across the island, saving strenuous walks - and there's never a flat battery or a gap in reception to worry about. Mobile phones and modern roads did however lead to a decline in the use of El Silbo and a few years ago the whistling language was made a compulsory subject in the schools of La Gomera to save it from extinction. The move has proven quite popular and even the homework is done without complaint. 
Here's a link to a recent article on El Silbo in the 'BBC News Magazine', complete with video and sound samples:
and here's a short documentary with English subtitles:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fuel Tanker In Fatal Crash on La Gomera

A truck carrying petrol and/or diesel left the road and overturned around lunchtime today. The accident happened near La Gomera's 18-hole golf course and close to the entrance to the luxury villa complex of 'Pueblo Don Tomas', a few miles above the seaside resort of Playa Santiago.
One of the two occupants of the tanker managed to escape apparently unhurt, while the second,the 52 years old driver, remained trapped in the cabin. Sadly he was pronounced dead by the emergency services a short time later.
The tanks of the truck were said to be leaking fuel 'significantly' and the emergency services, aided by fire crews from La Gomera's  nearby airport had to deal with the spill as well as spray water on surrounding areas to reduce the risk of fire. The fuel that remained on board the the vehicle was being transferred to another truck.
The cause of the accident is unknown and the incident is under investigation.
Scene of the accident near Playa Santiago, La Gomera       ©

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

La Palma Fire Under Control

This morning a forest fire broke out on the neighbouring island of La Palma in a pine-forested steep ravine in the northwest of the island between Garafia and Puntagorda. Thanks to the rapid intervention by helicopters and all available fire brigades, the fire has been brought under control this afternoon, but work is continuing to extinguish remaining smouldering embers.
It is unusual to have forest fires in the Canaries at this time of the year, but due to the very dry condition lately this fire was dangerous. According to first reports the fire broke out during the controlled burning of twigs and other dry organic matter from which sparks are said to have escaped, starting the minor blaze.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Fruit Trees For Fire Victims

The self-help group 'Plataforma Valle Gran Rey' which was formed after the devastating fires last summer have used some of the donated money to bulk-buy fruit trees (orange, avocado and mango). The first batch was distributed yesterday among members who lost their mature trees due to the blaze and who want to replant. Within only two hours all the trees available were gone and another larger order will be placed soon. 
This laudable initiative will help to make the upper part of Valle Gran Rey soon again the fertile and lush green rural landscape that it was before the fire.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

'Mirador De Abrante' Sky Walk Officially Handed Over

The spectacular viewpoint and 'sky walk' above the village of Agulo (see my post: Spectacular New Attraction: ) was officially handed over by the president of the Canary Islands' government and La Gomera's president to the mayor of Agulo. The new attraction was hailed as one of the most spectacular attractions in the Canary Islands and further development of the facility was promised as the access road, car park, etc aren't finished. The facility was constructed at a cost of nearly 1,35 million euros so far, but the cafe and the tourist information point in the building are yet to be equipped and not open yet. The viewing platforms, however, are now open to the public and simply breathtaking.
More photos click:Spectacular New Attraction: