Playa del Ingles – Swedish invasion

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Currently enjoying a week in the sun on Gran Canaria. It’s altogether a very Spanish experience. Er, well, maybe not.

Yesterday evening we headed off to a well-known dance palace called Playa del Sol. The reason it’s well known is because it is a Swedish oasis, in the middle of the tourist sprawl. A restaurant and dance club, this is where Swedes, mostly of an older generation, come to eat Swedish food, drink cheaply, listen to orchestra music and strictly come dancing. The place has certainly seen better days, with it’s tired decor, faded colors and jaded staff.

Last night a Swedish legend was performing. The 75 odd year old Lill-Babs is Sweden’s equivalent to the UK’s Cilla Black and she’s still going strong. The show was sold out and her white haired audience of regulars went wild as she crooned to her classic hits from previous decades. Her energy and her saucy jokes had the audience agog. They were in the palm of her hand.

For me, this was a fantastic cultural experience – a mixture of fascination, sentimentality and horror. But mostly I was a witness to how a singer can create a life long following of loyal and loving fans through her hard work and professionalism.

Lill-Babs is really proof that the show does go on. And it goes on and on and on in this little Swedish dance paradise on a small island far away in the Atlantic Ocean.

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