Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo will take place at Deià amphitheatre at 19hrs on Saturday 5 October. The event is a concert to raise money for Sea Watch, Sea Eye Mare Liberum, NGOs operating rescue vehicles picking up refugees from sinking or marooned boats attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
Lau Noah, a remarkable singer from Reus in Catalunya will headline a bill that includes Deià’s own Pa Amb Oli Band. The other acts are Psiconautas, Mary Lambourne and Líria.
The event is Deià’s response to a refugee crisis that has slipped out of the news but hasn’t gone away. So far in 2019 alone, 59,503 refugees are reported to have crossed the sea into Europe via the Mediterranean mainly from Afghanistan and Syria.
Tomás Graves told me that Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo ‘has been organized by some of the young people of Deià. The new team at Deià Town Hall is providing support. Hotel Es Molí is giving free rooms for artists arriving from off the island. Local businesses have offered food and drinks. I’m involved because I was asked to help contact musicians for the event. Several big name musicians were enthusiastic but already had the date booked – it was fairly short notice. I’d heard about Lau Noah through Leo Sidran’s jazz podcast. Leo and I played together in Deià at a festival in 2005, accompanying his dad, jazz musician and producer Ben Sidran. Lau’s been making a name for herself in the New York Music scene where she’s been living for the past five years. I find her quite exceptional as a singer, guitarist and composer. She sings in English, Spanish, Catalan and Hebrew.’
Intrigued, I reached out, as they say, to Lau and we chatted on the phone. She was in New York, soon to be flying to Mallorca specifically to appear at Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo.
Chatting with Lau Noah
Assuming she had friends in the village, I began by asking why Lau agreed to take part in Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo. ‘I’ve never been to Deià,’ she said. ‘But I’ve spent a tiny bit of time on the island and have good friends there. Tomás sent me an email asking if I’d like to be involved. I loved the idea and made it happen. I’m flying from New York just to do this. But that’s the life of the musician.’
Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo must be important to her. ‘You can complain about all the problems we’re having, like the Mediterranean refugee crisis, climate change or gender equality or give money. Or you can create an experience for people not to forget about them and I think you can do this with art the best. You go straight to the emotional memory and, once it’s touched, it stays there. When you have a cause like this one, if you surround it with music, it’s more likely that people won’t forget when the media moves on. Art is much stronger than propaganda.’
Why did Lau move to New York in 2014? ‘I knew some people in New York and moved to have a life that would be interesting to speak about. I just wanted to travel,’ Lau said simply. ‘Now I’m working on my first album.’
Lau writes her own songs. How would she describe them? ‘They’re short pieces that tell stories, influenced by Spanish roots and classical music. I’m still looking for a way to describe them.’
I asked Lau why she thought flamenco has become a somewhat unlikely element in modern Spanish music? ‘I use phrasings that sound like flamenco because it’s the music I love. But I’m also responding to the rise of female power in the world. I went looking for representations of strong women in my culture. Flamenco and gypsy music always depict women as strong and powerful. That’s why artists in Spain are going back to flamenco. It represents something we’re all needing right now.’
Having listened to Lau, I’d agree that she’s something special, which is another excellent reason not to miss Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo.
Lau is the first Catalan musician, and one of the first Spanish speakers, to be invited as part of US NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Listen to her here.
Entrance will be for a minimum donation fee of €12. Remember that there won’t be any advance ticket sales for Salvarvidas en el Mediterraneo and space is limited. If you want to be part of what’s sure to be a great night in an excellent cause, make sure to arrive in good time.