August 9, 2020

Manolo Almeida: constancy to write, create and communicate – The Province


In Manolo Almeida’s biography a few lives fit. He was a musician, he was a writer, he was a journalist. To exercise in these three fields, to do well and to resist for so long in these parts, there is only one recipe: be talented, let yourself be carried away by curiosity and persevere. All mixed, not shaken. Yesterday, in the late afternoon, when the news of his death spread, the pain for his loss erupted in all areas for which he handled himself. That simple detail reveals who Manolo Almeida was.

An inveterate creator, he excelled first in music. At the end of the 70s, after the collapse of Francoism and at the same rate as Spain took its first steps to leave the dictatorship behind, Manolo Almeida stood out as leader of Nueva Semilla -where he served as vocalist, lyricist and composer-. It was a time of vindication, of hope, of youth struggle. And in that hubbub that was the first days of democracy the trail to follow was marked by local formations such as Taburiente or singer-songwriters like Serrat or Silvio Rodríguez.

Nueva Semilla drank from these influences, a band that tried to find a place in the local scene by mixing new Canarian and folk songs. Academically trained – he studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Las Palmas and received classes from jazz musicians such as Vicente Umpiérrez and Luis Vecchio – Manolo Almeida decided to start a solo career afterwards. In that second stage he came to publish two albums: New Seed (Discan, 1990) and Moving (Producciones Chistera, 1992), with which it even came to sound on national radio formulas such as Cadena 100, 40 Principales, Dial or Radio Minuto.

An encounter in 1979 with the poet Agustín Millares Sall stirred his vocation as a writer. And, in parallel to all his vocations, Manolo Almeida forged a literary career in which he made himself known through the novel, short stories, micro-stories and poetry. His literary debut also came with a prize and in this house: in 1997 he was a finalist for the Alba International Novel Prize / Editorial Prensa Canaria with Tic Tac Toe, a work that would be published the following year by Alba Editorial.

Novels and tales

After Tic Tac Toe It would be a few years until his next novel came to light: two decades later, in 2017, he published Evanescence (Editorial Mercury), a work set in a dystopian future and in which elements of an existential, social and philosophical nature were combined.

His third novel, The Manifest Ñ (Editorial Siete Islas), was released in December 2018 to offer a Quixotic vision of contemporary society from the point of view of a peculiar long-term unemployed.

In between, in 2016, he published The leader of the sewers, a compendium of microhistories of a golfing vocation straddling humor and grotesqueness, satire and acid social criticism. At the time it was the most downloaded book in Amazon Spain in the Tales section, a genre in which it was immersed a year later with Minimal tales (Editorial Mercury).

His passion for writing and creating led to communication. Frequent in the cultural circuit of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, he was initially asked to collaborate in the media for cultural notes and criticism.

In the early 1990s, he created, directed, and presented the program Canary Islands 100, on Cadena 100-Cope Las Palmas, dedicated to Canarian pop-rock. After his stint on the radio, he was recruited for a new project: he was chosen to serve as head of the newspaper’s Culture pages. The Canary Islands Gazette, a project that was born in 1995 to give Gran Canaria a fourth head-behind LA PROVINCIA, Diario de Las Palmas and Canarias7-. There, he also served as head of the Society and editor-in-chief with Martín Marrero.

The art of closure

LA PROVINCIA, in 1998, was the next stop in his career. In this house he was editor of Local and editor in the Closing section, the last frontier between the editor’s and reader’s ego. There he knew how to deal, with art, to retouch and correct a product that is scrutinized daily by its consumers.

He carried out the same task in his first stage in Canary7, from where he made the jump to The Canary Tribune, already as deputy director. After a brief visit to the magazine Anarda, in 2002 he was claimed again by Martín Marrero to also serve as deputy director in the Canarian edition of The world.

In the midst of the explosion of the digital revolution in the media, Manolo Almeida taught us the value of blogging. With Green sleeves He was recognized with several international awards.

From 2009 to 2015 he worked as press officer for the Presidency of the Canary Islands Government, administration to which he returned -after starting another adventure with Dredge, digital cultural magazine- last year to serve as press officer for the Vice Presidency in Las Palmas.

The mortal remains of Manolo Almeida were transferred to the San Miguel mortuary, and the cremation will take place today at 8:15 p.m.

All of us who make THE PROVINCE / DLP express our condolences and convey our condolences to their families and loved ones. Rest in peace.?

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