Thursday 19 July 2012 at 21.15
Place Pierre Betz – Souillac
“The history of jazz is also the history of the Black American people and their protest movement” Sim Copans, 1975
Soweto Kinch, a British jazz saxophonist and hip hop singer, represents the new beat of 21st century Black Music. He was born in England to a Barbadian father and a British-Jamaican mother and his music talks of Birmingham, its vandalised and neglected suburbs, its hopes and its colourful Caribbean accents. His concert entitled “The New Emancipation” combines instrumental pieces with vocal sketches in a complex mix that is both powerful and convincing. Older work songs are the basis for the instrumental melodies which are highly be-bop. The clear, arresting sound of the saxophone introduces the narrative which is developed in the texts of the songs. Soweto Kinch slams, raps and criticises – sometimes in a frenzy of rage, sometimes with caustic humour – abuse in the world of finance, unbridled liberalism and a compartmentalised music industry trying to lay claim to protest music. Above all, he takes up the torch of the Black Music revolt against the condition of black people, against injustices that are the legacy of slavery – a wound that has still not healed. With its rap rhythm and deliberately rough style, Soweto Kinch’s music captivates and convinces. The tonic, joyous and swinging notes he produces on his saxophone are reminiscent of Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane and his music is a throwback to Jimi Hendrix and Max Roach. The inspiration and mastery of this young artist shine through a range of styles from bop to jazz fusion, guided by his intentions and energetic flair. The combination of jazz and rap traps the force that powers the fight for emancipation, channelling it into a culture that is resolutely forward-looking: “I do not talk about race but about culture. A culture that is constantly changing and which bears the weight of history. Believe me, this tradition is still alive and I am its child.
Friday 20 July 2012 at 21.15
Place Pierre Betz – Souillac
The German pianist Joachim Kühn, the Moroccan singer Majid Bekkas who also plays the oud and guembri and the Spanish percussionist Ramon Lopez will be taking us on a journey across the Mediterranean to the land of the Gnawa and trans-Saharan Africa. Joachim Kühn, inspired by his musical partnership with Ornette Coleman, likes taking risks and combines an avant-gardist style of jazz with traditional eastern and African music. It therefore comes as no surprise that he has brought together the many-facetted culture of Majid Bekkas with that of Ramon Lopez, a percussionist with an enthusiasm for flamenco and Indian music, to create a leaderless trio. The three musicians transcend melodies in their common quest for a trance-like state, a condition of sensual pleasure which is based on repetitive, almost obsessional phrasing and whose aim is to transport, transform and transfigure. The concert is also a journey with “Chalaba”, a core Gnawa song, at its centre. It is given expression in the traditional vocal manner by Majid Bekkas playing his guembri and is transposed into the world of jazz by Joachim Kühn who gives it a measured rhythmic beat. On this journey there are a number of musical stopovers that conjure up other emotions and impressions: reggae in “Enjoy”, flamenco in “Asmaa”, lyricism and meditation influenced by the tablas and Gnawi spirituality, joy, dance and last but not least modernity, born of tradition and a desire to venture into new territory. The time has come for us to listen attentively, to let our gaze rest on one of the artists and to marvel at the inventiveness of the dialogues between the guembri and the drums, at the natural grace of fingers energetically striking or gently stroking the keys of the piano, at the resonance produced by the membranes stretched across the instruments, at the teasing of a beat or at other moving sounds. And then to let the poetry of it all carry us away.
Saturday 21 July 2012 at 21.15
Place Pierre Betz – Souillac
Free jazz, free Africa
The Cuban pianist and composer Omar Sosa can be described as an unusual but visionary musician whose distinctive style derives from his quest for the musical legacy of the African diaspora whose components have been scattered around the world over the centuries. He follows in the footsteps of musical tradition, shows how the various strands are inter-related and how it is possible to reconcile them, to keep the sounds of Africa alive and to go on creating. Omar Sosa makes us share in his firm belief that it is possible to transcend each sound, each note, each emotion and that this not only forges a link between us but also a link with something else. Swing, dance, the role of the body and spirituality, all of which give his music a soul, have a common origin in the confiscated Africa of slaves. In Omar Sosa’s inspired music, in his rhythms and his daring, cultures are reconciled and languages (Yoruba, Arabic, English, Spanish and Portuguese) co-exist. Instruments from a range of horizons come together. His connivance with jazz is borrowed from the music of pianists such as Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Korea and Keith Jarrett and from the bop harmonies of Charlie Parker, the spiritualist threnodies of John Coltrane and above all from the highly personal style of Thelonious Monk. On stage every performer has his own profile and aura: Leandro Saint Hill’s fingers fly as he breathes life into his saxophone, the smiling giant double-bass player Childo Tomas, gives the music its structure, the percussionist Marque Gilmore seeks perfection on his drums, Joo Kraus introduces a note of understated emotion on his trumpet and Omar Sosa hammers out his music on his piano and his Fender Rhodes. Serenity and spirituality are key components in this quintet and are developed to the full: sometimes the music explodes and becomes delirious, taking possession of Sosa and dragging him into a dizzy whirl - a visionary in a frenzied dance. “Afreecanos”, a kaleidoscopic, open-ended concept dedicated to the gods of the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion and to the freedom of jazz, brings different cultures together in a new style of music imbued with benign spirituality.
Programme of daytime concerts during the 37th festival
From Wednesday afternoon till Sunday, four groups of jazz musicians will be playing in different venues in the streets of Souillac and in some nearby villages. Some of these groups hold great promise and there is every reason to believe that in a few years’ time they will be performing in major events. This is particularly true of the FDH (Free du hazard) trio for which we have great expectations. Others are more experienced and already have established careers. This is the case of Carlo Actis Dato and Enzo Rocco who will be playing as a duo. And then there will be new faces such as the whimsical Djacque le Notaire and les Guezmers who will be strolling around the town and Fresh Jazz, a guitar and saxophone duo who will be revisiting pop and gypsy or manouche music in a very refined and jazz-like manner.
From Tuesday 5 to Saturday 9 June 2012: “Sim Copans at 100 in the Valley” In 2012 we are celebrating the Centenary of the birth of Sim Copans, one of the founders in 1976 of the Festival which has borne his name since 1985.
Sim Copans is one of the main architects of the link between American and French culture. He translated the works of the French writer and poet Louis Aragon and introduced the United States to Jean Paul Sartre. He set up the Institute of American Studies and the Franklin Roosevelt Library in Paris and was instrumental in creating the first chair of the American language at the Sorbonne. As a public radio presenter from 1946 onwards he brought American music into French homes and over a 30-year period hosted no fewer than 4000 programmes including “Panorama of American jazz” and “Negro spirituals”.
“Jazz in the Valley” – organised by the Association of the “Sim Copans” Souillac Jazz Festival as part of the local cultural programme of the Valley of the Dordogne in the Lot – will feature a creation entitled:
“Sim Copans at 100 in the Valley”
Performances will take place in Souillac on 5 June, Sousceyrac on 6 June, Cressensac on 7 June, Prudhomat on 8 June and Rocamadour on 9 June.
“A disciplined extravaganza” is the catchword for this zany and virtuoso group of musicians and comedians who have combined their versatility and buffoonery in the cause of Universal Knowledge. Oozing competence and eccentricity, Les Experts address all sorts of historical and topical themes in their music, often outrageously mixing facts, controversy and ridicule, and deliberately making themselves a laughing stock in the process!
They specialise in pavement lectures. After strolling around Souillac with “Répertoire à la Monk” a few years ago, Les Experts are back again, this time to perform in the concert hall in a tribute to Sim Copans whom they describe as a “jazz benefactor”.
An epic musical lecture on the trail of our American friend Sim Copans on a journey from the Mississippi to the Dordogne via the Normandy beaches.
Lisa Cat-Berro, alto saxophone
Nicolas Brémaud, percussion and clarinet
Stéphane Hoareau, guitar
Nicolas Naudet, clarinet and harmonica
Pascal Rousseau, bass tuba
Luc Salay, trumpet, author and director