Su Jamfata at the Musicport,

“Su Jamfata” Video
Su Jamfata Video

Just listen to this my friends, the interlacing of instruments in the gentlest way possible. Watch with me the fingers of the musicians, I invite you to listen to the song till the end of it to be able to appreciate the divine beauty that bursts gently out of the music.

People ask me about Rafiki Jazz. 

What do they do? they say…

I know the question is about the music but I can’t help to think:

“They are like a well-tailored suit. They have this presence, bravado and force, challenging the statuesque and injecting some wow into the mix.”.

20th October, Musicport Festival Whitby.

It is a cozy festival at Whitby’s iconic Pavilion Theatre. The wind is strong pushing us away from the shore. I was hypnotized by the waves and followed the tide to the shore after unloading the minibus.

The weather was Wagner. Knowing I had to be back by 5 pm to arrange a location for Debbie Golt from Outerglobe to interview Mina & Sarah Yaseen, I passed the swollen sea to dart to the fish and chips shop and sat on the concrete overlooking the rough white curves. The rain chiselling my face prompted me of the time. So I ran to the Pavilion, arrived out of breath but just on time, as it always is.

Debbie Golt and OuterGlobe;

I met with Debbie, Outerglobe, at the Greenroom. We had messaged each other over the last couple of weeks about the arrangements for the interview and we went through the artist profiles in order to decide who would line up well with her show. By talking with Debbie for a while, I knew how passionate she was ..everything about radio (listening, creating, teaching), African music, and culture. 

Mina Salamah, Ney and Oud

I bet the interview is a “not to be missed” interview. Tune in to listen to the interview:

The Outerglobe goes out on Thursdays on Resonance FM 104.4FM 7 DAB London wide at 6.30-7.30pm UK time and is repeated on Tuesdays at 8 am thengoes up on Mixcloud shortly after broadcast.

As this year marks the 20 years anniversary of the Musicport festival, the three stages and various small corners of Whitby Pavilion radiate good music (the hand drums musician, could you tell me your name as you were not on the program?)

Cath Carr on the Steel Pans

I bumped into a good friend of mine, Jim. There is an unspoken rule, if Jim is at a gig, that is good sign. He and his partner travelled from Sheffield and had the whole experience of Musicport. To him, the weekend was spectacular.

Entering the Pavilion Theatre, our Rafiki Jazz venue for an hour:

With a traditional proscenium arch it has seating for up to 380, opened in 1879 and was designed by Julius Mayhew and Edward Smales. It has the atmosphere of a period theatre. The stalls has 18 seats per row, 12 rows plus 20 more seats; the balcony has 14 seats per row, 7 rows plus 20. That makes 354 headcounts. Full capacity is always a pleasure. 

The audience queuing by the closed doors raised the temperature ready for the next UpClose performance

John Ball and Guery Tibirica

So I have learned something new…

A proscenium arch creates a “window” around the scenery and performers. The advantages are that it gives everyone in the audience a good view because the performers need only focus on one direction rather than continually moving around the stage to give a good view from all sides. A proscenium theatre layout also simplifies the hiding and obscuring of objects from the audience’s view (sets, performers not currently performing, and theatre technology). Anything that is not meant to be seen is simply placed outside the “window” created by the proscenium arch, either in the wings or in the fly space above the stage.

Roman theatre were similar to modern proscenium theatre. The entire audience had a restricted range of views on the stage—all of which were from the front, rather than the sides or back. Modern halls designed mainly for orchestral music often adopt similar arrangements, as the acoustics are good. 

Rafiki Jazz UpClose

But they also perpetuate the fourth wall concept, with the “wall” facing the audience being invisible. They are not as fashionable now as they were in Victorian times.

The mood inside the theatre is contagious with the hopes and possibilities that make for unity in performance. The sense of time stopped has been a defining characteristic of Rafiki Jazz whilst working on the music of the new album Saraba Sufiyana (Mystic Utopia) and Su Jamfata the opening song is sung in Mandinka and means “Home is Far”..  Rafiki Jazz music leans towards those in search of profound stillness and offers the perfect antidote to the hectic life, to the stress and strains of a modern existence. (Su Jamfata; music by Kadialy Kouyate, words by Kadialy Kouyate, Sarah Yaseen, Avital Raz)

Meanwhile..for the next summer here’s something to remember: in association with Musicport Festival, Whitby Pavilion is running FREE Summer Sunday Concerts (“Summer Sundays Live”.)