By Claire Spencer
Little did I know when I jumped on my bike when leaving the formidable fortress like edifice that is Ocean Heights for Camp Bay on a fine July evening that I’d be in for an extra special treat. Yes, I knew that Levanter Breeze and Surianne were playing their once monthly gig there, and ok, I didn’t plan on staying late, but hey, the best made plans are usually where the magic starts.
Surianne and the band were already singing to a packed house as I arrived, so I sat on the sea wall opposite the soak up the wonderful jazz fusion mix of the rhythms of two continents. The backdrop of a view of crystal blue persuasion on an ocean looked as if great Neptune himself had raked it into silvery topped furrows blown by the Poniente winds as the sun inexorably made its way ever westward.
All well and good, I thought as I listened to some wonderful rhythms, some of which reminded me of Santana, as the waves gently played onto the rocks sending little sprays of surf into the air. After a few numbers, the band took a break, and Surianne announced that in the next spot they would be featuring a very special guest; I wondered in passing who might it be, I’d already seen Sista Dee there, was she going to get up and guest?
Taking up my previous position by the sea as the second set started, I was jolted out of my dreamlike state to someone who was commanding my immediate attention; he got it instantly, as I realised something rather special was taking place. That someone was Tito Chipolina, the elder brother of bassist Louis and percussionist Dani. The song that cut through the warm summer air that night was Eric Burdon and War’s “The Cisco Kid” and Tito was insisting that The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine.
I quickly left my spot to get up close to the irresistible music issuing from the bar, where Tito was holding court like a soulful king on his throne with his sceptre; in this case a black Gibson Custom Les Paul, which Louis Chipolina later informed me was worth a fortune, or possibly even a king’s ransom. Also in the court of this regal musician was the surprise guest appearance of the adept saxophonist Djmal Ma Ad, who used to play in band called The Soulmates with Louis and Peter. Completing the bands regular line-up was local guitar hero Peter Martinez, with Francis Pecino on drums, and last, but not least, Brian Torres on keyboards.
The set featured some wonderful songs; of note was Santana’s “Oye Como Va” and the classic “Unchain My Heart”, then Tito was joined by Surianne for James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World”. The evening drew to a close with a wonderfully passionate rendition of Louis Armstrong’s huge hit, “Wonderful World”, and for sure it truly was wonderful that evening in Camp Bay with the Three Chipolina Brothers, whose motto might well be “All for one and one for music”.
Levanter Breeze and Surianne are still actively seeking a space for recording and rehearsal; if you know of somewhere that might suit them you can contact them at [email protected]
Claire has donated her fee for this article to Charlie Trico’s Moroccan Children’s appeal.