The list for September’s 450th celebration performances is getting some Spanish flavor.
St. Augustine’s Sister City Association is bringing in three groups from sister city Aviles, Spain, to perform Sept. 3 and Sept. 5.
Sister City Association President Len Weeks said he’s been trying to get Tejedor, Alexandra in Grey and The Morrigans to perform in St. Augustine for years and things finally fell into place in time for the 450th celebration.
“The St. Augustine Sister City Association, we’ve worked really hard the last couple of years and especially the last four months to pull this together,” Weeks said.
All three groups jumped at the chance to perform in St. Augustine, and they were willing to perform for free but needed the means to travel.
The total price tag came to $25,000 for the three bands to host two performances in St. Augustine.
Of that amount, $15,000 will come from the city’s 450th budget.
“St. Augustine Sister City Association is paying for some of the cost and hosting them here,” Weeks said.
Although all three are from Aviles, the groups cater to different musical tastes.
Tejedor is a group of Spanish bagpipers that offers a more traditional sound, while The Morrigans are pop/rock.
“It’s just a good group of young people, and they’re just wholesome young boys that represent Aviles,” Weeks said.
Alexandra in Grey sings in English and can be compared to a folk singer such as Norah Jones.
Angel Villaboy is the promoter for all three groups and said he thinks the music will impress St. Augustine listeners and that the performances will help connect the cultures of the two Sister Cities.
“I think it’s so important to maintain that relationship because we’re not talking about music or history, we’re talking about people from coast to coast,” Villaboy said.
Local musician David Johnson has performed with the bands in Aviles on a number of occasions.
“A couple of the bands performed some of the songs that I had written on their own, and it was an honor,” Johnson said.
Music is a respected art in Spain and Johnson said bringing the performers over for the 450th celebration would allow for a combination of the cities’ cultures.
“The city is so full of music and so full of passion for the arts, and I just want to share that with St. Augustine,” Johnson said.
The bands have played for audiences of thousands of people but playing in St. Augustine would be crossing a new boundary, Johnson said.
He expects to perform with the bands during the September celebration.
Weeks met the musicians while visiting Aviles and took to their music.
“There’s been a lot of interaction. I’ve heard them before four or five times and they’re phenomenal,” Weeks said.
In planning for the September performances, the association worked with Johnson and Ryan Murphy, general manager for the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and the St. Augustine Ampitheatre.
Murphy said he offered what advice he could about hospitality and contracts concerning the band’s arrival in St. Augustine.
With the varied mix of headliners and local talents planned for Celebrate 450!, Murphy said the performers from Aviles would fill the niche for those who wanted to see native Spanish performances.
“I think it’s awesome that these bands are committed and the St. Augustine Sister City Association is committed,” Murphy said.
Like the other 450th performances, the performances will be free to attend.
Concerts are Sept. 3 at Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium and Sept. 5 during the Celebrate 450! music street festival.