Spanish illusionist Javier Saba recently moved to Doha and has already
cast his spell at the city’s events and party circuit. By Anand Holla
BAG OF TRICKS: Javier Saba has 12 years of experience performing close-up magic all across Europe and Spain, and is now showcasing his skills in the Middle East.
There’s a new illusionist in town and he is out to dazzle you. From Spain’s tourist haven Benidorm in Alicante, illusionist Javier Saba recently moved to Doha and is already a hit in the city’s events and party circuit.
Ripe with 12 years of experience performing cool, close-up magic (also called micromagic, it’s performed with small objects in an intimate setting) all across Europe and Spain, Saba is now testing Doha’s waters to launch his stint in the Middle East.
“All the tricks I pull off are stunning,” Saba says, without mincing words, “If I realise that even one of the tricks I do is not good enough for someone, I won’t perform it again. You must be awesome in performing every trick and only then can you make people see the impossible.”
Sometime in 2002, Saba’s mind embraced magic. “I had a magician friend who always tried out his tricks on me and my friends, until one day he did something that impressed me beyond limits and made me want to learn magic,” Saba recalls. That ruse was what is popularly known as the Voodoo ash trick — a card trick that ends with ashes forming the chosen card’s number and shape on one’s arm.
Saba says, “I learnt magic with all the passion and began performing at my tavern back home. Through the years, I read a lot about it and tried out several tricks on my customers. That way, I gained precious experience and also realised that every month, more people and their friends came down to have a drink or two. It became more like a magic bar.”
The market for magicians and illusionists in Spain is only growing by the year as more hotels are bringing them in to scale up their business. “Everybody everywhere knows that magic attracts clients,” says Saba, who has performed for celebrities across Spain and has appeared on Spanish TV as well.
Ever since he arrived in Qatar around three months back, Saba has been flooded with assignments where he gets to show off a wide range of tricks involving everything from card tricks to dollar bills.
Saba says, “Here, I have performed at many parties and events; be it at the best of hotels like The Ritz-Carlton Doha, malls like Landmark and Lagoona, restaurants like Orient Pearl and Damasca, and even at the Souq Waqif festival,” he says, “People contact me for shows by visiting my site magiciandoha.com.”
Saba, whose favourite illusionist is Dynamo, prefers to call his repertoire as illusion, instead of magic. “The word magic is more suited for presenting tricks to kids. But I use the word illusion for what I do because I believe, we all have a fascination for the illusions we nurture within us. As an illusionist, I would like to keep that alive within my spectators.”
This means that when people ask Saba the question that everybody asks every magician – how do you pull off X, Y, Z trick – Saba ignores it. “It’s not about revealing your trick. Once I share the secret, it’s over. You lose the illusion,” he says.
The best part about being a wandering illusionist is to be able to travel anywhere on Earth and be accepted whole-heartedly by people. “It’s amazing how easily people warm up to magicians. Even in Doha, when I go to malls, there’s often someone I come across who says he has seen me perform somewhere. I feel good,” he says.
Saba is in town till August 3, after which he will travel to Dubai for some events and then return to Spain. “But I will be back in Doha in September. It’s an expensive city but I love it nevertheless,” he says.
Why did he decide to come here though? “I thought I could grow faster here. Also, the tricks I do are new for the people in Qatar. This is a country which people move to, to work really hard.
“Most of them have left their countries to provide a good life to their families. I’d like to believe that I am here to entertain all those people and make them forget their stress. Only if for a while, I can make them have a good time,” he says.