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.

 

Algeria’s reclusive president to mark 80th birthday

Saudi, Indonesia sign deals on first day of king’s ‘historic’ visit

Search for jihadists continues as civilians flee Mosul

Sisi defends Egypt’s fight against IS

Geologists demand return of Moroccan 'Nessie'

Crocodile stoned to death at Tunisia zoo

Yemenis struggle to survive harsh life of displacement

Tensions ease on disputed Western Sahara road

Syria army reaches outskirts of IS-held Palmyra

Israel soldier who shot Palestinian appeals conviction

26,000 Iraqis flee west Mosul in ten days

UN finds 45,000 displaced by battles around Yemen's Mokha

UN probe finds all sides committed war crimes in Aleppo

Damascus looks to Syrian Kurds to counter Turkey

Damascus clashes kill 13 regime fighters

Israel charges Jewish-born convert with Islamic State ties

Tunisia to try six police for ‘shambolic’ response to beach attack

Aid worries rise for refugees in Sudan

France slams Russia for UN Syria veto

Saudi king in Indonesia for stronger economic ties

Somali president declares severe drought ‘national disaster’

Iraq army makes desert push near Mosul

Clerics convene in Cairo for co-existence conference

Russia, China veto UN resolution on Syria sanctions

Iraq forces disperse protest against premier

Report says Israel unprepared for 2014 Gaza tunnel threat

UN records 1500 Yemeni child soldiers

Nine jihadists ‘neutralised’ in Algeria

Putin says Syria sanctions hamper peace efforts

Clashes rock Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

Erdogan threatens paper for controversial story

Shelling, checkpoint blocks UN aid chief's Yemen visit

Russia wants terrorism added to Syria talks agenda

UK judge: Tunisia police 'cowardly' over beach massacre

Palestinian elections to be held in West Bank only

Iraqi civilians flee west Mosul hardship

Netanyahu on defensive ahead of Gaza war report

Turkey begins biggest trial yet of coup suspects

Turkey wants part in Raqa recapture

Israel begins evacuating West Bank settler homes

Egypt lawmaker says expulsion warning to opposition

Fateh al-Sham Front head says Syria opposition leaders must 'step aside'

UN Security Council to vote Tuesday on Syria sanctions

Saudi Arabia is Changing

Libya PM to visit Moscow seeking better ties