planet gong archives

Tertulia Poetry Festival

Gilli Smyth, Deja de Majorca 11/2005

The bus rounds the last corner before Deia, and suddenly the whole panorama spreads out before the eyes, the craggy and impossibly high mountains, the hill in the middle of the valley with the church on top of it, and all the little yellowstone houses, running down to the bright blue sea.

Friday, and its very hot and sunny, with a little wind, and it is as if all the words, hundreds of words, are blowing about the village. Words pour out of the venues, and buffet the people walking along the road, poetry in all languages, recent poetry with the great new Poet Laureate of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis, and Roger McGough, Hugh Cornwell (Stranglers), Julian Clary, and many more, Catalan, French, Russian, it is a madness of language, and a super abundance for those who love performance.

Meantime we are engaged in organising a rehearsal with Tomas Graves, he is going to play bass with us and Didier has to show him the keys, and Orlando the structures, as he has done with two other bass players on this tour, Pierce McDowell from San francisco "Parade" in Norway, and Tim Hall for the Uncon., which spiralled up so high it almost carried us away. The Assembly Rooms, Glastonbury is apparently built over an ancient temple of Minerva, and somehow that spirit carried on to Deia…

Deia, village of memories and intense experience, of people known since thirty years, ancient tracks and crossings. Never easy, and on Sunday the Sirocco came, pushing people over with its force, roaring and whistling around the roofs like a high speed train…can we still play?

Monday.. the Sirocco whistles, it is Halloween, we play tonight. Suddenly, as it does, the Sirocco stops and everything is still. Afternoon sound check, some high energy confusion, Pau Riba is also playing with his band of clowns, real clowns, riding bikes, playing instruments, running around. We manage translation interaction with the engineer. The tent fills up with all the people in the village it seems, lO.3Opm and we embark on a musical journey, voices weaving with Didiers dedouk, driving rhythm section, the final groove joined by bassist Pedro Colom, with Tomas on guitar, the music swirled up and up, and people who were in the mountains that night said they heard clearly all those different voices. The mountains too have their ancient voices, and it was like homage to them, in the land of the White Goddess.