by LONG BEACH POST STAFF JANUARY 22 2016 17:50 in LIFE
Long Beach’s thriving arts and culture scene is not just healthy; it’s the pulse that keeps the city alive. We asked you to tell us about your favorite things that bring life and color to your life, from karaoke and open mics to up-and-coming artists and galleries off the beaten path. You voted, we counted, and here they are: your Best of Long Beach 2016: Arts, Culture and Entertainment winners.
Bearcoon – El Guapo
Best Long Beach Album of 2015
By Matt Cohn
After winning Buskerfest in the late summer of 2014, Long Beach duo Bearcoon went into mission mode, teaming with producer Antoine Arvizu early in 2015 to record their first album, El Guapo. After making the album, the duo continued gigging steadily in and around Long Beach.
Just days after a sold-out album release concert at Fingerprints Music last June, Guitarist Andrea Walker and vocalist Solange Igoa gave 30-day notice on their apartment, bought a conversion van, and headed north to parts unknown, with their instruments, a small PA system, and CD copies of El Guapo.
The duo lived in the van with their two dogs and took their music to the people, gigging at coffeehouses, busking, and getting unexpected opportunities along the way.
“One of our favorite shows was this one we did on a 1940s decommissioned Navy tugboat up on the river in Portland,” said Walker. “On another day, we were busking in Sebastopol and a girl bought one of our CDs. She went home at played it for her father, who happened to be putting on a music festival the next day. We found ourselves playing for a crowd of 600,” Walker said.
Currently back in Long Beach, Bearcoon is recharging for another stint on the road, this time staying near southern California to “get a reprieve from the dampness,” said Walker. She told the Post that the duo have “most, if not all” of the songs for their next album ready, and they’ll be working with producer Arvizu once again.
The Post would like to thank all of our readers who voted, and to all of our nominees for participating in Best of Long Beach 2016—and congratulations to all of our winners!