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Work under way at can Ramon

inici actuacions can ramon fotoThe Formentera Council has started work on the plot of land called “can Ramon” in order to verify the existent construction and surrounding land are in line with requirements. Patrimony councillor Susana Labrador said that the outside agency Tragsa had been tasked with clearing the land of overgrowth and rubbish, cleaning the building inside and out, overseeing structural preparations and cordoning off the site, a €29,990.82 effort that should allow for safe access to the site and ensure subsequent studies could be carried out effectively.

Future ethnographic museum
The councillor recalled how can Ramon —and the house and historical well included on the property— was acquired by the Formentera Council on the premise that the restored building be used to house “Formentera's store of public and privately-held museographic collections on ethnography”.

Figuring on Formentera's catalogue of cultural heritage sites, can Ramon is given protection level C. It is a traditional rural home, albeit with larger than normal dimensions, where the scale of farming and livestock operations could almost be classified as industrial. The current catalogue details that can Ramon's operators even made wine on site. The adjacent well is also catalogued for its traditional architecture and possesses protection level A.

Precise chronological records for the house have yet to be defined. More modern estimates put its construction in the mid to late 1800s, though certain features of the property could come from the eighteenth century.

Turning to Universitat Politècnica de València and an archaeological specialist, the Formentera Island Council has today commissioned studies to obtain a more complete understanding of the building's current condition, including imperfections, past structural changes and general history. According to Councillor Labrador, such crucial information will give restoration crews a basis from which to direct their efforts.

L'Illa a Escena: theatre, music and opera for all

Foto niu angel dimoniThe cultural arm of the Formentera Council pulled the veil back today on its programme of performing arts and music for the first quarter of 2017. According to CiF culture councillor Susana Labrador, the events will take place across three months in the local cinema, the Council's Sala de Cultra. An effort, she said, to offer a rich sampling of theatre and musicals to everyone on the island, children too.

Formentera Viu l'Òpera continues through February with Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco, a work based on the Old Testament and Francis Cornue and August Anicet-Bourgeois' Nabucodonosor. The screening will be held February 4 at 8.00pm in the cinema.

Audiences this month will also be able to see L'Etern Mecanoscrit. Winner of the Bòtil prize and based on stories by Salvador Oliva as well as Manuel de Pedrolo's novel El mecanoscrit del Segon Origen. La Impaciència, the theatre group behind the show, says the production is for young and old audiences alike, one that underscores the importance of books and reading and conserving the heritage they represent. Part of Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics' Talent IB initiative, this production of L'Etern Mecanoscrit will take place February 11 at 9.00pm in the cinema.

Young audiences are invited to come February 18 for Hanna dels tres països. It is a tale of three young women, each from a different country, who, for different reasons, are forced to leave home. A variety of symbolic interpretations can be made of this particular theatre format, presented without acrimony, and refusing to recoil at the task of discussing such controversial topics with children.

As part of the Dia de les Illes Balears events programme, music lovers can look forward to two Formentera performances on February 25, from Marcel Cranc and Quin Delibat! Mallorcan composer Miquel Vicensastre —alias Marcel Cranc— will share his most recent work before our neighbours on Eivissa, Quin Delibat!, close out the evening lineup. Both are scheduled for 9.00pm in the cinema.

In March audiences will have their chance to see Tennessee William's celebrated Un tramvia anomenat desig (A Streetcar named Desire), whose neurotic, fierce and tormented characters are all set to board the last train. The show, brought to Formentera by director Sergi Baos, with a premiere cast including Alexandra Palomo, Marga López, Joan Manel Vadell and Rodo Gener, can be seen Saturday March 4 at 9.00pm in the cinema.

The bill on Sunday March 5 is for children. Integrating techniques from shadow theatre and the music of the islands, Els Músics de Bremen (Town Musicians of Bremen) takes on the popular tale by the Brothers Grimm. It's the story of when four hard-luck animals, banding together and trying their luck as musicians, make for Bremen. Musics viatgers (“traveling musicians”) is the name of the stage troupe, and they will perform Els Músics de Bremen on Sunday March 5 at 6.00pm in the cinema.

Another feature of Formentera Viu l'Òpera pulls up on March 15: Il Trovatore. A four-act opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, the work was completed by Leone Emanuele Bardere and based on a drama of the same name by Spanish playwright Antonio García Gutiérrez. The screening of this opera will start at 8.00pm in the cinema.

Acorar returns to Formentera on April 1. Toni Gomila, heading up writing and acting for the production, delivers visceral monologues as he carries us to the heart of Mallorca, bound for the most important social event for any islander: the hog slaughter. Gomila uses the decadence of the happening to explain the end of traditional Mallorca and, by extension, the world as we now know it. The Ferro theatre group performs Acorar before Formentera audiences April 1, at 9.00pm in the cinema.

On Saturday April 8 it's another one for the kids. Dud & Cia troupe brings street theatre to Plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc with El niu. This family-friendly production reinvents itself at every turn, but without words or rules, just an ongoing interplay with spectators that cuts new imaginative paths and incubates surprises and laughter.

At the end of April, there's Piotr Tchaïkovski and Yuri Grigorovich's El llac dels cignes (Swan Lake). This fairly tale, told as a ballet in four acts, was taken up by the Bolshoi Theatre in 1875 and debuted in 1877. It will be screened on Formentera April 29 at 8.00pm in the cinema.

Ticket prices
Entry to Formentera Viu l'Òpera screenings is eight euros. For theatre productions, tickets are five euros for the general public and three for viewers under 25, part of an effort to encourage young people to attend theatre. Tickets for both children and accompanying adults are three euros at kid's productions, except for Els Músics de Bremen and El niu, which are free to attend. The Dia de les Illes Balears concerts with Marcel Cranc and Quin Delibat! are also free.

Support for culture
L'Illa a escena is backed by Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics' Talent IB initiative and the Spanish cultural ministry's Programa Platea, both bids to promote the performing arts. It was renewed this year and will be back again this autumn with even more cultural and artistic excitement.

Formentera's programme to stand with Syrians

foto premsa formentera amb siria autor foto patxi galanTogether with the NGO Progreso y Desarrollo Humano (“Progress and Human Development”) and backed by the administration's departments of culture and social welfare, the Formentera Council will host a bill of events and activities in solidarity with Syrian refugees. Formentera amb Síria (“Formentera with Syria”) is a programme of documentary and film screenings, theatrical performances, classroom discussions and exhibitions which, starting February 5 and spanning two weeks, focus on the situation of refugees.

In the spotlight
Saturday February 18 at 2.00pm the keynote event —a community paella— will be held in a festival tent pitched at the Sa Senieta parking lot. The municipal music school's troupe of clarinetists will perform at 5.00pm, followed by a dance production headed up by the local dance school's Nieves Portas. After that, Lunares, Voice & Senses and La 22 will hold down entertainment duties until 11.00pm, when a “discomobile” will carry the crowd through to the 1.00am end time.

Film screenings
The cinema offer gets under way Sunday February 5 with a screening of the short 53 Moons and a talk with the film's director. The same day, at 6.00pm in la Mola's Casa del Poble, a presentation of the Mòbil Kitchen project will take place with a round-table discussion.

On Monday February 6 at 7.00pm, Aleix Oriol Vergés will unveil a collection of his own photos on the Syrian exodus and then stick around for a related discussion. Under the heading “struggle for survival”, the display is financed by Fons pitiús de cooperació and can be visited February 6-17 in the gallery of the old town hall (Ajuntament Vell).

Recycling workshops
Wednesday February 8 at 5.30pm in Casa del Poble, Thursday at the same time in the Sant Ferran library and Friday at 6.30pm in the Sant Francesc library recycling workshops will be held.

Soap workshop
After an initial opening Saturday February 10 from 11.00am in Centre Tur Gabrielet, the Formentera amb Síria market will remain open February 13-17. Also Feburary 10, at 5.00pm, Ana Negre will lead a workshop on creating Aleppo soap.

Standing together in cinema and theatre
Friday February 17 at 9.00pm in the cinema (Sala de Cultura), a screening of Jordi Évole's documentary Astral will take place. Sunday February 19 at 5.30pm, a children's theatre production by Iguana Produccions, Hanna dels tres països, will be staged in the same venue for children ages six to twelve. Later that same evening, at 8.00pm, Astral will be shown once again. In a fundraising effort that will benefit the non-profit group ProActiva Open Arms, tickets for the events will be sold for three euros.

Across Formentera schools, educational talks are being coordinated with representatives of Progreso y Desarrollo Humano and the photographer from Fons pitiús de cooperació in an effort to bring awareness to the issues.

Formentera amb Síria was organised between the Council and Progreso y Desarrollo Humano, a group created in 2012 to further social and cooperative work in the global south. All money raised will go to ADSN, a non-profit working with Syrian refugees in Greece. Fons pitiús de cooperació, Carlin, Baleària, Dignitis, Acción Directa Sierra Norte, Formatierra Service and comunica360 all took part as well.

First step towards reshaping rules that define Formentera's historical zones

primera votacio nova sala de plensThe Formentera Council's first plenary session of 2017 was also the occasion to christen a new plenary hall, the conference room of the Formentera Day Centre. CiF president Jaume Ferrer explained 2017's particular significance for the Council, which turns ten this year on July 10.

The meeting brought preliminary approval for a plan to reshape the island's so-called “subsidiary rules”, regulations that govern how historical areas of Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and el Pilar de la Mola are mapped out. According to land councillor Alejandra Ferrer, the move came in response to a court ruling that there lacked sufficient justification for the original delimitation.

The councillor described how, until now, “one single document has defined which sites are included in the island's catalogue of historic sites. The present change will involve more extensive and specific documentation and include features both inside and outside the historic zones, as well as features that require protection and those that do not.”

The councillor cited the absence of changes —beyond the increasingly lengthy explanations to be included henceforth— to the regulations in Sant Francesc and la Mola. “Sant Ferran's code was amended to reapply previous building restrictions to Ca Ses Castellones,” a requirement which Councillor Ferrer noted was set out in a court ruling.

With “yes” votes from the entire house minus Popular Party (PP) abstention, the session gave the first green light needed for the rule change to take place. Today begins a one-month period during which comments about the plan can be submitted. If definitive ratification occurs, it will lift the partial reversal of the subsidiary norms' effect on historical zones. That reversal currently blocks the way of projects like the Sant Ferran school remodel and construction.

'Sun tax'
Members of the plenary also gave unanimous agreement to a proposal to exempt Formentera and Eivissa residents from a tax on personal power use devised to promote solar power in the islands. Plenary attendants voted to ask Madrid to exclude Formentera and Eivissa from a list of territories where the renewable energy tax is applied. Instead, they appeal to the national administration to use incentives and tax breaks on such energy.

Culture, education and heritage councillor Susana Labrador appeared before the house to report on the efforts of her departments. Their aim, said Labrador, “is to promote and head up projects that improve the role played by culture, heritage and education on our island.” The councillor said such projects are framed by standards set out by working groups of the Govern Balear.

Reviewing her departments' 2016 initiatives, Labrador highlighted the Sant Ferran primary and nursery schools and their priority position on the education office's agenda. She pointed to “tremendous cooperation between our land and heritage offices and the Council's legal teams” in explaining the initial approval of the updated subsidiary norms, saying the changes would provide necessary education equipment to Formentera's zero to twelve year olds.

Along those lines, Labrador made assurances that coordination between the technical crews of the Council and Ibisec would continue in 2017, and cited such cooperation as she held up the department's draft project for definitive completion of the new schools.

Councillor Labrador spoke about the administration's efforts to invest in education for zero to three year olds (“crucial if we are to support parents juggling work and raising children”) as well as upkeep at schools and various other educational initiatives.

On culture, Labrador underscored the long list of activities on which the Council oversees total or partial coordination. As for infrastructure, she assured that in 2017 Formentera would see a remodel of la Mola's lighthouse and other upgrades elsewhere on the island. Finally, the councillor reviewed the recent actions of the island's heritage office and language advisory service. 

Municipal music school holds first traditional sing-along

Assaig cantada pagesaThe Formentera Council Office of Culture has announced plans for an activity being billed as Cantada Pagesa. The first of its kind, the “country-style sing-along” is a free-to-attend event taking place next Saturday, January 28 at 8.30pm in the municipal cinema.

The maiden recital will feature students currently enrolled in a traditional music workshop led by Xumeu Joan, teacher and musician, together with other volunteers eager to take part. The initiative is part of a broader policy at the school of protecting and promoting Formentera's traditional musical traditions.

The municipal music school —Escola Municipal de Música— serves some 350 students and provides elementary and professional music and dance instruction that is officially accredited. Certificates can be obtained on completion of the school's beginners courses in concert flute, guitar and piano.

As an authorised centre for music and dance learning, the school can offer instruction that is “regulated”, or officially-recognised,and non-regulated. Their catalogue, ranging from beginners' music courses for students aged six- and seven-year-olds and traditional music workshops to professional-grade studies, serves a diverse student body.

Given the open nature of the school, the learning opportunities there expand and change constantly based on demand and the centre's organisational possibilities.

More information is available at http://escolamusica.conselldeformentera.cat/ and the school's activities programme can be found on agendaformentera.cat at the following link http://agendaformentera.cat/evento.php?id_evento=415&id_eventosesion=3414&titulo=i-cantada-pagesa.

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