From “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare.
By Chris Dennison
One of the great things about Valencia is its live music scene and one of the even greater things is that much of it is either free or comes at a very reasonable price. It all depends on your tipple of course but the sheer variety on offer is so amazing that it’s easy to find something you fancy. On any day of the week there is live music going on somewhere in the city and the quality is usually tremendously high.
One of my own many weaknesses is for Jazz, especially Jazz Jam Sessions, like the ones held every Wednesday from 21:00 to 23:00 in BIGORNIA, a small bar on the corner of c/ Museu and c/Salvador Giner in the Carmen district. Many of the best jazz musicians in town come here so the quality is assured.
For example, the starting line-up last night 04/05/2016 in Bigornia was:
Ales Cesarini – bass, Baptiste Bailly – piano, Pere Munuera – drums, David Gadea -percussion, Payoh SoulRebel – vocals and other musicians who turned up were Andres Belmonte – flute, Joan Saldaña – alto sax, Jaume Guerra – bass, Roqui Albero – trumpet, Jonas Sanchez – trombone, Ricardo Valverde – guitar, Melanie Lapatus and friend – vocals
From left to right: Jonas Sanchez, David Gadea, Joan Saldaña, Pere Munuera, Juame Guerra, Roqui Albero.
Bigornia 4/04/2016. Photograph by Tina Moriano.
Pedro, the owner, doesn’t charge admission but even so the prices at the bar are by no means exorbitant. The events are “organised” by the genial Ales Cesarini, unmistakable with his dreadlocks and his radiant smile, and the atmosphere is great. There is a “rule” that, during the first part of the session, conversation is kept to a minimum so that the diehard music fans and the musicians can commune together, but after the break it tends to get a bit noisier.
But there are many other places around the city offering good jazz music day in, day out. Just a short walk away, in the same Carmen district you’ll find the famous Jimmy Glass in the Calle Baja, 28. The owner, Chevy Martinez, has managed to turn this place into the Mecca for jazz in the city. Although many of the events are free, there is a 1 euro surcharge on drinks if you are not having dinner. For special evenings, with internationally known musicians, the entrance is around the 20-25 euros mark. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Where does one start in Ruzafa? There are so many places to choose from in such a small area but I will just mention two of them.
The first is Ubik Café in Calle Literato Azorin, 13 which advertises itself as a Café Book Store. But it is much more than that! It has good food, a variety of good concerts, good beer and a friendly atmosphere. What else can you ask for? Memorable concerts there were Erin Corrine and Jana Sustercic.
And the second is Sala Ruzafa, where you can find anything from theatre and poetry readings, to concerts and cinema. The last time I was there it was to hear a great concert by NES, a group made up of Nesrine Belmokh – vocals, cello, Matthieu Saglio, cello, sampler and David Gadea – percussion.
La Viti: A delightful little place run by Borja, who loves music. The Jazz jam sessions on Mondays are highly recommended.
Close to la Vitti, in Calle Vinalopó, 11 is Max Max where you can listen to Celtic music jams on Thursdays and occasionally concerts like the one planned for 14th May featuring Puca Òg.
María at Café Murnau in Calle Impresor Lambert Palmart, 5 offers a class product. The place is very relaxing, with comfortable chairs and good bar service. There is quite a variety of music on offer, so it’s best to check their program out if you are looking for anything in particular.
María manages to give up- and-coming musicians a chance while at the same time attracting more established artists. One of my favourite places.
Nestling in the depths of the Arts and Sciences City is Berklee Valencia. The address is Avenida Profesor Lopez Piñero, 1 but it is actually under the “Ubraculo”. This the Valencia Campus of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA and it caters for a host of international students.
Periodically they give concerts to show off their students’ abilities. Well worth a visit or two. Check it out at:
Cabanyal – Canyamelar
In Calle de la Reina, 138 you will find the delightfully named “No hay nada mejor que 27 amigos”. Reasonably priced and good music with a special mention going to the Jazzomingo Jazz jam sessions on Sundays. The doors open at 18:00 and the session begins at 19:00. There is a basic line-up which usually includes the cool French guitarist Bertand Kienst.
Being situated near the beach, this place is especially good in summer as there is often a pleasant sea breeze which makes it cooler than the places inside the city.
Of course there’s a whole lot more to choose from so enjoy!