Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Night in Tagomago

Chapter 23

club scene This is a photo collage. (click photos to enlarge)

Loli and I were still working as extras in the movie being made in Palma de Mallorca.

movie cameraOne evening we were taken to a popular nightclub called Tagomago, which was run by Los Valldemosa, a musical group at the time consisting of three young Mallorquin men, Rafael, Bernat, Tomeu and a pretty blonde American girl, Genia.

GeniaThe men were from the village of Valldemosa, a lovely place in the mountains where Chopin and his mistress, George Sand (her pen name) spent a rather chilly winter in the monastery, la cartuja, years ago. The group was popular in the Balearic Isles, had travelled and performed worldwide and had made several records for the Belter Discos company. They did a good rendition of "The Banks of The Ohio" as well as everyone's favourite, played over and over again in parties and barbecues for tourists "Na Catalina de Plaça", in which the audience joined in for the chorus of Cua - Cua- Cua.

record cover Along with Los Valldemosa, was Salomé, the singer with whom we had been performing in previous days in both the bullring and the Pueblo Español. She would also be singing for us in Tagomago.

SalomeLoli had informed me that for this shoot we would have to wear something suitable for a nightclub outing. At that time, nightclubs were very popular, since there was yet no colour television to keep people sitting at home. It was customary to go out to the open bars and patio cafes, to drink coffee and liqueurs while watching people go by. Otherwise one went to a dance hall or on special occasions, to a nightclub which at that time were were quite civilized. Guests sat at tables, usually with a drink, while watching the show and applauding the artists. During intermission, they danced to recorded music in a small centre dance floor.

So after I borrowed a dress to wear, we arrived at Tagomago and were ushered to our seats near the stage and given a soft drink, made to look like a cocktail with a pretty straw and cherry.
There were few choices in soft drinks in those years.

Tri-NaranjusThere was Coca-Cola and Tri-Naranjus and that was about all. One didn't ask for a 'Coke' because that was an expression unknown over here. One requested it by the full name...'Coca-Cola' and it came in a very small bottle. The other drink available was Tri-Naranjus, which was a watery, non-carbonated orange drink, which after I'd tried it for a few months, became quite palatable to my taste.

tri-na Those who lived there at the time will remember how a large bottle of Tri-Na was always included in our straw baskets for a trip to the beach.

Anyway, we had a good evening at Tagomago, sipping orange, applauding, smiling and listening to Salomé and Los Valldemosa while the cameras rolled.

Here is a retro recording of Los Valldemosa performing in Tagomago. Unfortunately the sound is not too good, so you have to use your imagination to hear it Hi-Fi (smile).

Continue on to Chapter 24......Cayetano, The Gypsy

Go back to Chapter 22......Making The Movie

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Making The Movie

Chapter 22

movie camera man (click to enlarge photos)

My guitar playing friend Loli had invited me to sign up with her as an extra in a movie being made by a German film company in Palma . I never did see that picture and still have no idea what it was called, but it seemed to be a promotional film for Mallorca, Los Valldemosa, a local singing group from the village of Valldemosa and Salomé, another popular singer who would represent Spain the following year in the Eurovision song contest.

SaloméThis was quite an entertaining venture, since at that time there was no internet, no video cameras or colour television. The apartment I stayed in with friends didn't have even a black and white television but that was quite normal. So to see even promotional movies, one went to the cinema, watched the NO-DO black and white news followed by a movie short and then a main feature movie. That's the way things were in Palma de Mallorca in 1968. And so we were going to be working with this crew and I was looking forward to it.

Los ValldemosaOur first day we were taken in buses to the bullring, where Salomé would be standing down in the centre (no bulls were there, luckily) with a few red carnations at her feet. We were arranged in the stands and given a white square of cloth which we were to wave at her. In a bullfight, the waving of white handkerchiefs by the spectators indicates that the matador has pleased the crowd. So we waved our hankies at Salomé and it was filmed.

Another scene for the movie was taken at the entry gates of the Pueblo Español, the walled enclosure where the guitar factory was located among the replicas of Spanish buildings. We were all given balloons with long strings and were told to stand on either side of the door just outside the gates. Salomé would then come running out the door with arms outstretched, grabbing some of the balloon strings from our hands.

So we did what we were told to do. She did what she was told to do and it was filmed. At the end of each day we lined up at a table and were paid our daily salary. I was thrilled to be earning money as a movie extra, even though it wasn't very much.
That was quite an entertaining day!

balloons in the Pueblo Español

Continue on to Chapter 23......A Night in Tagomago

Go back to Chapter 21......Loli

Monday, April 6, 2009


Chapter 21

La Joueuse de Luth "La Joueuse de Luth" - Andrea Solari 16thC

One day Mr. G. introduced me to Loli, a German lady residing in Palma who played classical guitar. She lived in a rooftop apartment in the Ramblas, accessible by the use of a creaky iron cage elevator which shuddered as it slowly ascended to her floor.

Gaudi elevator(click to enlarge photos)

A sign on the wall informed all that the elevator could be used only for going upwards. Anyone wishing to return to the ground floor was obliged to use the stairs.

She had a spacious roof terrace which afforded a magnificent view over the tiled rooftops of Palma. Potted geraniums and bougainvillae bordered the walls and a shaded recliner chair gave evidence that this was her private world where she dozed, read and listened to the sounds of the city.

Loli's roofA child's plastic wading pool filled with water lay on the terrace in the sun and when I asked if she had grandchildren, she answered no...the pool was for her alone, when she felt she needed a splash to cool off from the Mediterranean sun.

Loli and I practised duets together on our guitars in her apartment.
concert de femmes"Concert de Femmes" - Anon Netherlands 16thC

At times we would play together with
Bartolomé Calatayud, a native Mallorquin classical guitarist, composer and teacher.

calatayudWe met several times in his studio to play and practise some of his compositions. I will return later to elaborate more on this maestro, much loved by the people of Mallorca.

stairs in PalmaStairs in central Palma

One day Loli informed me that a German movie company was going to do some filming in Palma and needed extras for the shoots. She had already registered and asked if I would like to join her in what could be not only a novel experience, but also a chance to earn a little extra money. I eagerly accepted the offer.

Continue on to Chapter 22......Making The Movie

Go back to Chapter 20......Mallorcan Countryside
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