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.

 

Chief negotiator of Syria opposition quits over failed talks

Iraq forces enter ISIS-held Fallujah from three directions

Bahrain appeal court ramps up jail sentence against Sheikh Ali Salman

Sanctions gone, Iran drums up business with West

In Iraq town, fans of Real Madrid gather in 'challenge to ISIS'

Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader to life in prison

Kuwait jails members of ruling family for insulting Emir

Tunisia blames ‘terrorist elements’ for deadly landmine blast

Turkey offers to join forces for Syria operation -- without Kurds

Starving Iraqis risk all to flee crumbling rule of ISIS

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sowing ‘sedition’ in Iraq

Israel police send Netanyahu spending file to prosecutors

Bahrain court upholds life terms for five 'spies'

Investigators need 12 days to recover EgyptAir black boxes

Iraq troops prepare for final assault on ISIS-held Fallujah

Iraq Kurdish forces launch offensive east of Mosul

Shipwrecks in Mediterranean claim up to 700 lives in one week

Iran blames Saudi Arabia for Hajj impasse

ISIS offensive triggers mass displacement in northern Syria

Without clear roadmap, Libya unity government fails to bring change

Iran moderate conservative retains parliament speakership

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes