First Published: 2010-10-13

 

London's Jazza sings in tune with Palestine

 

Artists from across cultural and music genre divides unite in festival for Palestinians.

 

Middle East Online

The 'Unthanks' Sisters singing (photo by Tali Atzmon)

By Mamoon Alabbasi – LONDON

London's 'Jazza Music Festival' kicked off Tuesday with a number of artists performing free of charge to help raise aid for the occupied Palestinian territories and highlight their plight.

The event offered a mix of music genres that crossed both cultural as well as generational divides, where a diverse audience enjoyed tunes from classic Arabic oud to a touch of contemporary Palestinian hip-hop passing through styles of jazz and into a melodic portrait of England's north east.

The evening began with warm oud tunes of Palestinian artist Nizar Al-Issa, a traditional genre of music that is a favourite generally with older Arabs, but nevertheless still captures the imagination of younger generations.

This was followed by a passionate performance that is customary of singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie, which included my personal favourite 'Million Moons' and a number of new songs that will feature in her new album, which is expected to be released in January.

Gillespie was accompanied on stage by London-based Israeli-born saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, whose joint album with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen was officially released during the event.

Singing in place of Wyatt, who no longer performs in concerts, was the outstanding voice of Cleveland Wattkiss, amid a harmonic collaboration between the Sigamos Sring Quartet and the Orient House Ensemble.

A surprise performance by Tali Atzmon (wife of Gilad) delighted the Festival's audience, when she sang "For the Ghosts Within", a song for the people of Palestine, and the title track of the album.

Tali, who is usually more comfortable being behind the camera making short films, was sharing the stage side by side with Gilad, perhaps in a symbolic gesture that indicates that she is more than just the 'great woman' behind her husband's success, but an artist too.

The event also included a hip-hop song in Palestinian Arabic dialect by the distinguished young artist Shadia Mansour with fellow Palestinian Stormtrap, giving the Festival another music dimension.

A key feature of the Festival was the outstanding performance of the 'Unthanks' Sisters (Rachel and Becky), whose sweet voices sang to traditional north-eastern English folk tunes, while including a pleasant clog dance to add more percussion.

The Jazza Music Festival is organized in association with the Free Palestine Movement. The second and final show will be held Wednesday evening.

 

New UN envoy looks to revive talks as battles intensify across Yemen

Extremist groups capture last major regime holdout in northwest Syria

‘Islamic State’ suicide bombers target Iraq-Jordan crossing

Four Egypt Islamists killed while preparing bombs

France opens preliminary probe into forced labour allegations in Qatar

‘Islamic State’ kills Iraq senior officers in Anbar province

Deadly fighting rages in Yemen southern towns

Entrepreneurs encourage people to ‘buy Syrian’

Over 100 children killed in Yemen since March 26

Libya militia alliance 'carries out air raids' against IS

UN 'confident' rebels will sign Mali peace deal

Petraeus gets two years probation for info leak

Iranian ships turn back from Yemen

Palestinians mourn as Jews celebrate

UN chief set to appoint Mauritanian diplomat as Yemen envoy

Obama takes 'full responsibility' for deaths of Qaeda hostages in US operation

Turkey warns Austria over decision to condemn ‘Armenian genocide’

Yemen conflict poses dangers across Gulf of Aden

Hopes for final deal on second day of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna

Security tightened at Saudi shopping malls

US returns stolen Egypt artifacts

EU mulls military action against human traffickers in Libya

Libyan journalist shot dead in Benghazi

Arms experts warn of 'Faustian bargain' with Iran

Fresh Saudi-led air strikes target Yemen rebels

Rebel-IS clashes in Syria kill at least 42 fighters in 24 hours

Who’s more dangerous: Jihadists who left their countries or those staying at home?

France foils 'imminent' attack by jihadist sympathiser

Algeria army kills three armed Islamists west of capital

Israel removes Palestinian teen's name from memorial wall

Egyptian businessman testifies at Al-Jazeera retrial

Kenya asks donors to save world’s largest refugee camp

Sanctions, possible Congress intervention to dominate fresh nuclear talks

Arab army chiefs kick off work on building regional force

One year after agreement, Palestinian reconciliation hits rock bottom

Arab coalition resumes airstrikes against Huthi rebels

UN member states urged to protect Iraqi cultural sites

London mulls ways to help Europe's refugee crisis

Finalising of Iran nuclear deal set to begin

Saudi–led coalition declares end to Yemen air war

Palestine teenager inscribed on Israel memorial wall

Deadly attack targets busy restaurant in Somalia capital

War in Yemen raises profile of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Libya condemns 'death smugglers' after shipwreck

Sudan security agents detain opposition activist