JAZZ – from the Coral Riviera of Alghero, Sardinia to the West End of London.

Written by | Festivals, Lifestyle, News

Jazz improvisation, poetry and stunning landscapes all linked into one.

This preview is a mixture of a link and a platform for all the readers of Jazz in Europe who not only love jazz, but also art, poetry and Italy. To appreciate its music, its art and its history.

Furthermore, it is important and relevant here to specify that the island of Sardinia where the first part of our journey will take place at the end of this month is a very apt place to perform for jazz vocalist and lyricist Filomena Campus.

Filomena Campus’ Theatralia Jazz Festival returns in fact to PizzaExpress Jazz Club in London with a “Sardinian Extravaganza” scheduled as follows:

27th September, Poco Loco Jazz Club, Alghero, Sardinia
13th & 14th November, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, Soho, London

Line-ups will include: Orphy Robinson, Pat Thomas, Marcello Peghin, Salvatore Maltana, Jackie Walduck, Marta Capponi, Steve Lodder, Rod Youngs, Davide Mantovani and Cleveland Watkiss

In my previous writings, I have often talked about one of the main ingredients of jazz. Let’s think of it as a “special potion”, a concoction where vocals, styles, and improvised tones all merge.

When we talk about Filomena Campus then, it is de rigueur to remember that she is such things. With her Theatralia Jazz Festival and her “Sardinian Extravaganza” this year, split between the beautiful coral town of Alghero and Soho in London, we are eager to listen and watch all the amazing participating artists and their works. A crucial exchange of music, poetry and visual arts.

As previously announced, some of the crème de la crème of both Sardinian and UK musicians will feature in both locations. The Sardinian duo of guitarist Marcello Peghin and Salvatore Maltana on double bass, accompanying the brilliance of award-winning vocal wizard Cleveland Watkiss. From the Italian side, we will have über talented vocalist Marta Capponi with whom Watkiss will create live compositions and a unique orchestral blending of voices. I can guarantee jaws will drop when audiences will listen to Capponi’s vocal ranges matched with inventive passion.

In London, for example, during the second night of the Theatralia Jazz Festival, Filomena Campus will reconnect with her Sardinian roots on the path of improvisation with vibraphonist Jackie Walduck for a riff on the poem ‘A Bolu Pasidu’ (a low flight) by one of Sardinia’s most celebrated poets, Raimondo Piras, born in Sassari and self-taught, he is, in my opinion, the quintessence of improvisation. They will be joined by Campus’ long-term collaboration partner pianist Steve Lodder, drummer Rod Youngs and Davide Mantovani on double bass.

Paralleling the events at the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, vibraphonist Orphy Robinson and pianist Pat Thomas aka Black Top will be performing at the Poco Loco Jazz Club in the historic town of Alghero as part of JazzAlguer. Alghero is well renowned for the incredible monthly series of jazz performances, under the artistic leadership of world-famous trumpeter Paolo Fresu. The events take place at various locations in and around the city of Alghero and its coral coastline. Black Top will perform with duo Peghin and Maltana on 27 September, when the town’s Patron, St Michael, will also be celebrated and Alghero will turn into one big street festival!

Driving force behind the initiative of bridging the two festivals in search for cultural exchange is the London-based Sardinian vocalist and lyricist Filomena Campus, whose annual Theatralia Jazz Festival has always brought together jazz artists from the UK and Italy. After the success of the last edition in 2015, she is delighted to reinvigorate the festival this year with the theme “Sardinian Extravaganza”. She says:

“Years ago I left my island, Sardinia, for another island. Great Britain welcomed me and helped me make many dreams come true. At a moment when walls are being raised, I want instead to build a bridge between our two countries. One that is made of notes, sand, myrtle wine and poetry.”

Formerly called `My Jazz Islands’, the Theatralia Jazz Festival first started in 2013 and previous line-ups have included performances by Paolo Fresu, Antonello Salis, Gavino Murgia, Giorgio Serci, Oren Marshall, Jean Toussaint, Tori Handsley and Robert Mitchell.

Full listings for this year are:

27 September, 9 pm – Jazz Alguer – Poco Loco Jazz Club, Alghero, Sardinia
Black Top meets Duo Peghin & Maltana
Orphy Robinson (vibes)- Pat Thomas (keyboard) – Marcello Peghin (guitar with 10 strings)
Salvatore Maltana (double bass)

13 November, 8 pm – Theatralia Jazz Festival – PizzaExpress Jazz Club – Soho, London
Cleveland Watkiss & Italian friends
Cleveland Watkiss (vocals) – Marta Capponi (vocals) – Marcello Peghin (guitar)
Salvatore Maltana (double bass)

14 November, 8 pm – Theatralia Jazz Festival – PizzaExpress Jazz Club – Soho, London
Filomena Campus Quartet & Jackie Walduck
Filomena Campus (vocals) – Steve Lodder (piano) – Dudley Philips (double bass) – Rodney Young (drums)
Jackie Walduck (vibes)

I am excited to announce this writer has been invited to cover the Festival in both Alghero and London together with photographer Carl Hyde this year. It is going to be a compendium like “a study in passion, colours and tones” surrounded by the magical landscape of Alghero, “the island within the island”. 44,000 inhabitants, 5th largest city of Sardinia, Alghero is the island’s main harbour town, with its port’s bastions, the red roofs that touch the sky and the gorgeous natural bay that flows into the emerald sea. A shoreline of 90 km long known as the Coral Riviera, home to a major colony of the finest coral. An international city, one of the most prestigious Faculties of Architecture in Italy, a Regional Natural Park, a Marine Protected Area, one of Europe’s largest winery, Sella & Mosca, whose vineyards extend for over 600 hectares. It is a city rich in culture, strongly linked to its Catalan origins and identity, with archaeological areas and an integrated museum system of the highest value. With a setting like this, the music and the words performed there will make the bridging between the two European locations an even more relevant one!

The 2018 Theatralia Jazz Festival has been generously supported by various companies like Fondazione Alguer, the City of Alghero, EasyJet Italia, Alghero’s own Mayor, Mario Bruno, endorses the initiative fully, understanding the importance of keeping the two islands alive in their uniqueness, hand in hand and keeping any type of wall well and truly down.

I shall leave you, for the time being, with an extract from Piras’ poem (the Sardinian poet mentioned earlier) in Sardinian, Italian and English. His words are pure magic and deserve to be linked to this amazing Festival.

“A Bolu pàsidu”

S’improvisare no faghet istórïa,

faghet dillirïare unu mamentu

calch’apassïonadu de talentu

chi in parte nde tramandat a memórïa

pro retzitare in allegra baldórïa

ma su mezus che ’olat cun su ’entu.

L’improvvisazione non fa storia

entusiasma per un momento

qualche appassionato di talento

che in parte ne tramanda la memoria

da recitare in allegra baldoria

ma i versi migliori volano via con il vento.

Improvising does not make history

It exalts, for a moment, some gifted passionate people

who pass on the memory, playing in good company,

but the best verses fly away with the wind…

Senior writer: Erminia Yardley

Photo credits: All the landscapes of Sardinia and Alghero © Fondazione Alghero – Filomena Campus © Kristin Perers – B&W of Pat Thomas & Orphy Robinson © Alex Bonney – Salvatore Maltana ©Antonio Bergamino – and Marcello Peghin © Donatella Falchi – Theatralia Jazz Festival Artwork © Gina Tondo



Last modified: September 21, 2018