03 May Festival CoPerACCION ’23 Cartagena Spain
This is a report on Youssouf Keita’s visit to the Festival CoPerACCION ’23. This festival in Cartagena is now being organised for the fifth time by Emilio Saura Jimenès, Andrés Navarro García and Alejandro Solano García. Youssouf was a special guest there this year, after Emilio attended a workshop with Youssouf in Burkina Faso for the first time last year.
On Tuesday, we were welcomed by Emilio’s parents (Angèl & Maria) who are organizing the festival with his two friends Andrès and Alexandro. At the Saura – Jimenez family home, Youssouf and Emilio rehearsed in preparation for the concert on Sunday. We also went there regularly for dinner; breakfast at 10am, dinner at 2pm (with sometimes a siesta after) or the late dinner at 9pm. Maria likes to cook, and especially for her son!
On Wednesday afternoon, Youssouf – in his position as ‘griot’ – inaugurated Emilio’s new house in Pozo Estrecho. A ceremony in the Bwamou, pronounced with bare torso and the water symbolising life with which all positive wishes for staying in his new home were expressed. We were allowed to witness and add our own words in our minds.
On Wednesday evening, there was a promotional activity for the Festival CoPerACCION ’23 organised by a wine merchant/sommelier friend. He had selected five wines and Emilio and Andrès had come up with five pieces of music to accompany them; Vibraphone, Cajon, Berimbau, Djembé. Of course, a role was also provided for Youssouf with balafon. Each wine was certainly accompanied by a 10- to 15-minute introduction. This was followed by a tasting while enjoying a piece of music.
A short impression off the wine-evening.
On Friday, the festival began, in the afternoon with workshops for the seven conservatoire students who had registered for them. The Portuguese artist who was the one on the programme cancelled (with car trouble) and therefore held an improvised workshop with two balafons (two people per balafon and rotating). They were very enthusiastic and Andrès (who teaches them at the conservatory) also bought a balafon from Youssouf. Many seeds for the balafon were planted over the weekend….
On Sunday, Youssouf and Emilio performed at the Roman Theatre in Cartagena. The city’s Roman past has only been appreciated for the past few decades, so people are now taking care of it. Only 50 visitors are allowed into the concert, but it was no less impressive.
The days after the festival we didn’t really want to do much, but Andrès had figured dthat he also wanted to get a song with Youssouf’s balafon playing on the album he was working on at the time. So we went to the studio and played there again.
Later anyway, we went for a walk, visited the mountains on the coast and swam.