We interview Vicent Marí from Can Jordi Blues Station

Good morning Vicent, could you give us some brushstrokes about yourself?

¡Bon dia i salut! (Morning & hello!) Basically, I am a grocer, the son of a grocer and the grandson of a truck driver. I have followed the footsteps of my mother and my grandfather, I am the third generation, the “missing link”.

The store has a great history, since already existed in 1917. Its actual Hispanic American architecture is due to the taste of one of the previous owners Vicent Puvil, who got the place when he returned from America. In 1941 your grandfather, Pep Torres, rented him the store and later both of your grandparents bought the place. That is when «Can Jordi» was born. How would you define «Can Jordi»?

Simply: «Això és ca vostra» – It’s your home.

Can Jordi keeps the authentic essence of village life. As a person born in Ibiza, what do you think of the changes and transformation the island is experiencing?

Transformation? You mean destruction. I am outraged, angry to see how easily we have sold and prostitute ourselves for money. We have lost our values, camaraderie, culture, etc. I always thought that in places were there has been shortage and poverty, as in Ibiza, we would have learned the lesson and would think things through with more intelligence… unfortunately I see that we have not.
We are part of the Earth, and we do not own it. We will die and the shit that we have created will remain … or not. I want to go through this world without breakinganything, if this is possible. We have to love and respect more the Earth where we wereborn or where we live.nFurthermore, the collective feeling of help that existed before has been lost. In the past, when a neighbor wanted to build his house, we all helped him. Now we have become more selfish, we only get together if they invite us to a torrada (barbecue).

How did a simple store becomes “Can Jordi Blues Station”?

Well this was a freak of mine! Friends always came to visit me, especially the guitarist and music promoter Miquel Prats Botja, and the British bluesman Dave Jeffs. We always did some kind of improvised unplugged concerts. I really like Blues and speaking with friends we got the idea to do something different. One day, I told my hippie friend Ramón Canto to make a sign in a a vinyl with a logo saying “Can Jordi Blues Station”. He did it and it’s still hanging here. Likewise, this place is still «sa botiga i bar de Can Jordi», and has never ceased to be it.

In 2017 the Island Council of Ibiza awarded Can Jordi with the prize
“Citizen Merit Award”. How did you feel when you received this award?

This award should have been given to all the roadside and village stores that
have supported their neighbors. Here as in many places, the clients came to buy all their basics during the whole year. Later, after the harvest, when the payeses (farmers) sold their almonds and carob beans, they had cash and could pay theirbill. My grandfather never had a “penny” because he was a very good person and because he didn’t want to take advantagefrom people denying them food. If one year the harvest was not good, he thought they would make up for it the following year.If this award was in recognition of all these years of work, then should have given it my mother or my grandfather, and not for Can Jordi. I am an okupa (squatter) who has arrived here, to this fantastic place and I have “taken advantage” of it, I have also given it the touch of what I like the most, that is to say, music.

Recently, the book «10 Anys de Revolució Cultural» (10 Years of Cultural Revolution) has been published as a tribute to al the gigs and musical legacy of «Can Jordi Blues Station»

The idea came up in 2019, chatting with my rock and roll and life friends Joan F. Ribas (photographer) and Xescu Prats (journalist). They wanted to edit this book with images and testimonies of some of the hundreds of musicians who have played at any of the more than 800 concerts done in «Can Jordi Blues Station» throughout the last ten years. This book tries to show the soul of the place and the dream that came true.

We are living in a time of uncertainty. How do you experience the possibility of not being able to perform more live gigs? Some time ago you have already rebelled against this prohibition.

My mother always told me that I was going against everything, but maybe it’s that I’m going for what I like. If you like something you have to fight for it.

At “Can Jordi Blues Station” have played many local bands, from other islands, from Spanish mainland and also, wellknown international artists. How do you feel knowing that it is one of the Mediterranean’s most important and authentic live music venues?

There are things that can’t be paid with money, and I am enormously grateful for the love I receive from all the people. You do not have to do things only thinking about getting a profit, if we thought about money, for sure we would have already closed. We work hard, from 7 am and we turn off the lights at 10 pm, but I know that I am lucky enough to be able to work on something that I am passionate about and this comforts me.Music venues are a ruin, but what I reallyfeel bad about is not being able to pay the cachet that musicians deserve… even though, I believe that in some way we compensate them: we make them feel at home, they enjoy, eat, drink … that’s maybe why the they always come back for more.

In the book many funny anecdotes with musicians are explained, but could you tell us any one of these in first person?

I always have fun when important international musicians look at me in surprise and their first question is: “Where is the stage? And, smiling, I answer and point out: «there in the corner, on the road… and be careful not to get run over by the cars that pass behind you.»
Another funny story happened many years ago. Ibiza Civil Guard (police) came in those days by bicycle to report us and when they arrived almost fainting, my grandfather would give them a bottle of wine, something to eat, coffee and a bottle of brandy… after all, they would return to Sant Josep making “s” shapes with their bikes… and no longer remembered seeing anything… Those were other times.
I grew up in the store helping my mother. When I was about 15 years old, some Germans tourists came and sat at a table. I went to serve them they asked me to bring them “eis” (ice in German), I left and returned to the table with a string of garlic (“alls” is how we pronounce garlic in Ibiza, that is to say, very similar to the word “eis”).

Any plan for the future?

I think people will keep coming and enjoying Can Jordi, because it is an authentic place. As for the future, the plan is not to change. If we change something it is because new rules require it. We will try to keep on rolling as usual.

Thank you very much Vicent for this fun and interesting talk. Thank you for your authenticity, your closeness and for the copy of this wonderful book.

Many thanks to all the resistance, in a world increasingly indoctrinated, manipulated, monopolized… As they say: “we are surrounded, but they will not escape”.

 

VICENT MARÍ
Can Jordi Blues Station.
Ctra. Sant Josep Km 7,7 – Ibiza
IG @canjordiblues

 

* Fotographs by Joan F. Ribas

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