The girl I was dancing with flashed a wicked smile and skipped the music to a track with a contagious beat and a naughty vocalist. We danced like crazy things. One minute later the security men arrived and the party was over for another year. I left with that song running through my head and moving my feet. It was about a little monkey who plays the bongos and I later found out it was by the legendary Manu Chao.
That WOMAD night was in my thoughts again this evening, also a warm Sunday in July, but earlier in the afternoon I had very different things on my mind. My friends and I had heard that a huge squat called Mount Zion was about to be evicted and that lots of people were heading down there. Also known as El Nave, Mount Zion consists of a block of abandoned warehouses and is a home to hundreds of people - mostly immigrants with no papers, mostly African - in an area of Barcelona called Poblenou.
The people in Mount Zion live efficiently from the city's waste. Using discarded materials and based on an abandoned site they have built a community here, and they form an important cog in the machine of the city.
So we headed out this afternoon, expecting to bear witness to the human tragedy of eviction, but we had misunderstood the situation. Eviction was not the plan for this evening. Today Mount Zion was saying goodbye. This was the last fiesta, the people were squeezing out the their last drops of the party in freedom before the authorities come to shut them down.
Artists were setting up stalls and exhibitions, people were selling beers, food and soft drinks. A crowd of visitors arrived, cameras were being wielded and rumours started to fly, 'Manu Chao is coming', 'Manu Chao is here', then he was being pointed out in the crowd. Then he was on the stage made from a carpet rolled out in the street, he was chatting to the people around him, he was surrounded by musicians.
I have been extremely lucky to have seen some fantastic musical performances before, but this was possible the most inclusive, the most shared. After the first three songs the sound system kicked in and Manu Chao's voice rang out over the smiling, dancing crowd.
As I write this back at my home, it is late enough on Sunday night to be early Monday morning. The music is still running through my head and moving my feet. I imagine the fiesta is still going on there. Thank you again Manu Chao, thank you Mount Zion, thank you to all those musicians and DJs and percussionists and MCs and singing people and artists and cooks, thank you for making such a beautiful party.
Read a brilliant article about Mount Zion written by Carlos Delclós here.