I had a really hard time trying to justify posting this album. Not because the album isn’t great – it truly is – but because it didn’t seem this time of the year was appropriate for it. Joan Bibiloni’s Joana Lluna is the first masterpiece by the Mallorcan balearic master. What you hear in Joana Lluna is entirely more appropriate when it’s far warmer outside. Who knows? Maybe, that time in spring when April’s brisk winds give way to the beginning of May’s soft, tactile warmth seems more appropriate. Hovering around 60 degrees, this more personal slice of Bibiloni music, seems more conducive to soundtrack that kind of environment. Thankfully, two great things saved me from having to hold off any longer.
Just last week, my neck of the world experienced temperatures and days that were far more tempered than most of us expected. Highs hovering around the 40s and 50s, seemingly made our winter-conditioned bodies snap out of their multi-layered funk and approach days with much rosier, springtime-tinted glasses. Winds were brisk, but it felt great to be outside and moving. Every once in awhile, during mid-day, a perfect dose of sun would light up our home or fill our horizon, and one could conceivably forget it was late December – at least Decembers as we normally know them here in the Midwest. Although the sun is further/fainter than anytime of the year, our warmth and the environment’s focused energy, for some brief moment, blessed us with something approaching the beatific musical vision that opened Joan Bibiloni’s Joana Lluna, and launched his astonishing career.
Written in 1982, just after Joan came back to his home in the Balearic island of Mallorca, “Desembre” begins his totemic search for a different, modern kind of Balearic music. Years removed from backing other musicians like Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Celia Cruz, and Daevid Allen, or trying to make it as a western-style artist in the Prog band Zebra, or as a Jazz bofo in Milan & Bibiloni, here lay the fruit of Joan’s to do something that really was meant to be his calling. Pushed forward by his rediscovery of centuries upon centuries of traditional music at the Centro de la Guitarra de Palma in Mallorca, Joan saw fit to gather up all the money he had and fund the creation of an independent label – Produccions Blau – that could create, promote, and release new, vital Balearic music.
I won’t go into too much detail into the vast, immensely important roster of musicians and library of music Joan would manage to release, that’s for another day, but Joana Lluna itself serves as the perfect entryway to his vision. Deeply rooted in the lilting language and rhythms/biorhythms of the island, Joan Bibiloni’s jaw-dropping classical guitar playing pushes to forefront as our partner through the global, migrant dance music Spain touched throughout its worldly encounters. Salsas from the caribbean east meet Afro-Jazz excursions from western horns of two southern hemispheres, intricate funk excursions meet deep Nuevo Flamenco, and Iberian mediterranean folk explores placeless electronic atmosphere, all are pieced together in Joana Lluna. If music can be thought of environmentally, this would be pure oasis music, with all the respite an oasis provides.
That’s the great thing about Joan Bibiloni’s “Desembre”. For a brief moment last week, I could picture, or feel, exactly what atmosphere Joan was soaking in when this track was created. A bit brisk, very sunny, and quite carefree – that’s the environment that I feel. Things are meant to be done, but even those seemed to fall to the side for some things that are far more important – What so? All the stuff that makes you lilt. We may not know, or have experienced, the Mediterranean airs of Mallorca in December, but for a brief time – at least when Joana Lluna is on – the world can conspire to take us that much closer to it than we’ve ever imagined…at least, these are my justifications for sharing this with you…
Music or Horses?
Music, I think…but luckily they are compatible loves and I’ve cried for both. I remember once that a technician mistakenly deleted a piece of a song that I had found especially inspired. I knew it was unrepeatable. It was wonderful, emotionally speaking. So, I started to cry. And the last time I cried was recently in front of a mare. For me animals, the horses … while I can, I’ll live surrounded by them. They are a marvel. Also, now all the ones that I have, have been born here, in my house. They add a very important peculiarity for me: they make me dream, be very ethereal, and volatile, but at the same time they make me have my feet on the ground. This combination is very large. Flying with your feet on the ground.