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Review: Saturday Ibiza soul sessions at Soul Beach Café

Funk and soul on a lush Ibiza beach with live musicians and a Jamaican jerk chicken BBQ? Sold!

After hearing about the new Saturday sunset sessions down at Soul Beach Café on Es Codolar, we rocked up last weekend around 6.30pm to the gently simmering heat of the evening sun. This was to be their opening party and a full moon to boot. Organised by various well-known Ibiza 'fixers', in particular, Angela Ayala Segura of Studio 24 - the island's newby funk promoters, we were curious to see them away from their usual nocturnal headquarters at Somni, Figueretas.

Soul Beach Café is easy to find. It's on the road towards Sa Caleta (there's only one, just take the old San Jose road off the airport roundabout then after a couple of minutes, follow the sign left to Sa Caleta). Soul Beach is on the left - you'll see the big parking sign a couple of kilometres before you get to Sa Caleta beach. You'll need a vehicle or a taxi, ladies and gents.

Way off the beaten track, the location is simply stunning. Es Codolar is long, wide, wild and normally the quietest of Ibiza beaches, even during high season. But not today.

The weekly Saturday sunset sessions begin at 6pm, so arriving almost embarrassingly early, we expected to be amongst the first. Nope. There was already a full Jamaican jerk chicken BBQ on the go, wafting the most obscenely delicious aromas around and presided over by Stevie and his crew, perhaps the friendliest BBQ boys in Ibiza!

Huge grins and a most welcoming vibe were happily the order of the day. It was a fairly cosmopolitan but refreshingly down to earth crowd and a lone photographer and model (the beautiful Veronica who I had a lovely chat with later on) were casually doing a fashion shoot. Nobody batted an eyelid. Ordering a plate of chicken served with the authentic Jamaican accompaniment of rice and beans with a nice crunchy salad, we gazed around. Wow. Crystal clear Balearic sea to the front, lush pine trees to the rear and great expanses of wild pebble beach all around. Raw, stunning, intoxicating Ibiza at its finest, dear reader.

Dj Francesca Faggella was on the decks, keeping the crowd chilled and swaying with some classic, mellow soul that suited the hour and the ambience really well. There was a steady arrival of guests and both the tables and huge comfy mattresses laid out along the seashore began to fill up.

Wandering over to the cocktail bar, I chatted with Nico, the resident mixologist and requested (ok, begged) for a Caiphiriña, on the sweet side, if you please. Ten out of ten on the cocktail-o-meter! The thing about bartenders, is that some insist on making a cocktail the ‘correct' way, which is not necessarily the way I like them (sorry if I'm a bit of a Philistine). Others listen to what you ask for and give it to you. The latter is a good bartender.

Turns out that Nico is also a professional Tango teacher with a school in Santa Eulalia! Omg. Always wanted to learn the Tango, so dramatic - so passionate! Heads up dance lovers, he does beginners classes on Saturdays open to all. They're at Calle del Mar n°5, close by Las Ramblas and they speak English. Just sayin…

The light began to change to pastel shades as the sunset kicked in - you don't see the actual sunset from Es Codolar but the magical change of light and the stillness of the sea is still breathtakingly lovely.

Shortly afterwards, an incredibly bright full-moon rose over the mountains, the volume increased and DJ Chapter took the decks. And then the funk really began. Now I'm no expert in music, but I know a funky groove when I hear one. And although I couldn't tell you the names of any of the classic tunes he played, I recognised many of them, albeit mixed, scratched and sexed-up to the max, DJ Chapter style.

Then the live musicians started to get up and improvise, beginning with Eugenio on trumpet, over from Cuba and bringing a Latin-jazz flavour into the mix. He was soon accompanied by his very talented colleague on the flute whose name I forgot to note, being completely lost in dancing and enjoying myself. I spotted a French horn too, on the floor next to the mic, waiting for its turn to blow some funk into the soulful musical melting pot that Saturday sunset sessions most clearly is. Loving this funky, grafitti-style shot of the boys in action that day - you can catch them there live, every week.

Many Ibiza residents and island movers and shakers were in attendance, so there was a lot of interaction, everyone seemed to know each other, which created a warm sociable ambience that extended to everyone. Busy but not too packed, we personally were having so much funky fun, that it was with great reluctance that we left at 11pm, one hour before the party finished and only doing so because of a later engagement that could not be rescheduled.

As we left the party was rocking. The moon was shining down, seeming to bless all those happy humans beneath it and we headed back to the Spotlight-mobile looking over our shoulders like kids watching a disappearing ice-cream van.

Nut and bolts? 6pm - midnight every Saturday and it's free entry. The friendliest vibe, the most incredibly beautiful, natural surroundings, a delicious Jamaican BBQ and really good quality live, soulful, funky music. Get yourselves down there Ibiza lovers, it's hot.


Words | Jane Charilaou Photos | Jane Charilaou

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