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.

 

Iraq protesters quit Green Zone after unprecedented breach

Yemen government suspends 'direct' talks with rebels

Russia, US in bids to freeze fighting in Syria's Aleppo

Deadly car bomb hits Turkey refugee hub near Syria border

Tight security marks world rallies to celebrate Labour Day

Up to 100 people missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks

Aden police chief survives new assassination attempt

ISIS claims rare deadly bombings in southern Iraq

Iraq PM calls for punishment of protesters involved in violence

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp

Rouhani allies win second round of Iran parliament elections

War continues in Aleppo, with US-Russia agreement

Angry protesters storm Iraq Green Zone

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

South Sudan unveils unity government

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey