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Ibiza saxophone star Lovely Laura: ‘I’ve a lot of love for Northern Ireland and can’t wait to get back’

Ibiza performer who went viral with her dance saxophone gears up to headline Enniskillen Castle gig

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Sax player Laura has been gigging since the late 1990s

Sax player Laura has been gigging since the late 1990s

Lovely Laura performing with the Ulster Orchestra at Lush Classical in 2019

Lovely Laura performing with the Ulster Orchestra at Lush Classical in 2019

Laura and her husband Ben Santiago

Laura and her husband Ben Santiago

Saxing it up! Laura now lives on Ibiza with hubby Ben.

Saxing it up! Laura now lives on Ibiza with hubby Ben.

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Sax player Laura has been gigging since the late 1990s

An Ibiza saxophone star has told how she has come to view Northern Ireland as a second home.

Ahead of a show in Enniskillen with her DJ husband Ben Santiago, Lovely Laura said our audiences were some of the best in the world.

The musician is renowned for her saxophone sets at legendary Ibiza venues including Cafe Mambo, Ibiza Rocks and many more.

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Lovely Laura performing with the Ulster Orchestra at Lush Classical in 2019

Lovely Laura performing with the Ulster Orchestra at Lush Classical in 2019

Lovely Laura performing with the Ulster Orchestra at Lush Classical in 2019

She told Sunday Life she loved playing concerts in Northern Ireland and has made loads of friends here.

The sax player, who regularly performs with the Ulster Orchestra at Lush Classical gigs, explained: “I’m really looking forward to the show. It’s always great fun playing in Ireland.

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Laura and her husband Ben Santiago

Laura and her husband Ben Santiago

Laura and her husband Ben Santiago

“Both myself and Ben always have such a fantastic time. Whether it’s Northern Ireland or the Republic, it’s just always a good time.

“We’ve been coming here quite a lot actually. Over the last few years, before Covid-19, we would regularly visit, although I’ve not been to Enniskillen before, so that’s a new one for me.

“Last year, our first trip out of Ibiza after the Covid restrictions had been lifted was a trip to Belfast for a festival, but unfortunately, when we arrived I tested positive for the virus.

“It was bonkers because I definitely didn’t have it, but I ended up having to stay in the hotel for 10 days and missed the festival.

“That was our welcome back to the gigging world after the pandemic, so it was a bit of a disaster.

“But we have a lot of love for Northern Ireland, so we’re looking forward to coming back this time and visiting a new location.

“The audiences are brilliant, I love them. They really just don’t care, which is amazing.

“It’s what you want as a performer, so they are some of the best audiences in the world. I love them dearly.

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Saxing it up! Laura now lives on Ibiza with hubby Ben.

Saxing it up! Laura now lives on Ibiza with hubby Ben.

Saxing it up! Laura now lives on Ibiza with hubby Ben.

“I’ve actually made a few friends over the years too, so we try, if we can, to spend a bit of extra time when we are here so we can see them and hang out.”

Laura, who performs live on stage alongside her husband, has notched up millions of streams of her performances online and is a regular fixture at some of Ibiza’s top venues.

She told Sunday Life her career was supercharged in 2014 after a video posted on Facebook by an Irish fan went viral.

“I’ve been doing this for well over 20 years, so it’s been a very long, gradual rise,” she said.

“It was a very slow development over quite a few years, doing various shows.

“We got a break by performing at the Hedkandi club nights back in the day. That brought me to Ibiza, where I met Ben in 2007.

“We just met one evening and hit it off. We fell in love first and the music came along afterwards, which was quite nice.

“Not long after that, social media kicked in and that changed things for us.

“In 2014, an Irish girl filmed me doing a set at Ocean Beach and posted in on Facebook.

“It was a clip of me playing Jubel by Klingande and it just went mental.

“It went viral and we only found out when one of our friends showed us the video and how many streams it had got.

“That took us from a gradual rise in profile to suddenly being shot into the limelight, which was great.

“We actually reached out to the girl who had posted the video a year or so later. We got her back to Ibiza and got her into the nightclub Ocean and made sure she had a nice time, just as a thank-you.

“It was that little video that made a massive difference to us.

“It’s funny because you spend all this time and money over the years trying to make good promo videos and then it’s one grainy video on Facebook which does the trick.

“People loved it and it got lapped up, so we were very grateful. That’s when things really kicked off.”

Laura, who is originally from Dorset but lives in Ibiza with her husband, also said she had not tired of the party island despite living and working there for 15 years.

She added: “We are used to it, but the summers and the clubs are still epic.

“I remember the first time I set foot in a club here — it was a Manumission night at Privilege. I just remember seeing a sea of heads and thinking, ‘Oh my god, I’ve never seen a club like this’.

“Every time that you do a gig, there’s nothing like it because it’s such a melting pot of different types of people who come for the clubbing scene.

“It’s just so much fun. I never tire of playing any of the venues here because it’s full of smiley, happy people with their hands in the air. It’s great.”

Lovely Laura and DJ Ben Santiago are headlining Live at the Castle under the Big Top at Enniskillen Castle on March 19 alongside the ItaloBrothers and several other support acts.

Tickets for the concert are available.


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