Monday 11th November, Pizza Express in Soho saw the return of one of my favourite jazz performances. Filomena Campus’ “Theatralia Jazz Festival”, now in its 5th edition.
The Festival spread along two nights at the venue in Soho and will then reconvene in Rome next year in May.
I attended the first night of the Festival, Campus shone brightly on stage with Italian guitarist Giorgio Serci, the two artists have collaborated for a long time now and “Scaramouche” is the album originally released on Incipit Records in 2014.
Their cooperation and huge talent are resplendent on the night accompanied in equal measure by the Keld String Ensemble.
The two-sets gig gave a lot of space to Serci’s creativity and the Ensemble innovative touch. From tracks like “Primavera” to “Momentum” and the stunning “Campidano” (which is an area in the southern region of Sardinia), mellow and poetical lines intertwined to reflect Campus’ growth and utter magic. Hers was the stage, even when she stepped off it to give space to the other performers.
“Scaramouche” is an epic album that needs to be listened to attentively for the simple reason that it is, in my opinion, Campus’ best one. Why? There are such beauty and poetry within all the nuances of the tracks, there is also literature and her voice is simply magnificent.
The gig at Pizza Express was a reminder of how talented both Campus and Serci are. His new arrangements for strings were exemplary and gave the night an aura of unique chiaroscuro light. Tones of resilience and strength towards themes like Brexit, Europe, nationality were further highlighted by artist and performer Natasha Stanic Mann with her live readings which made perfect sense, but also moved to tears, another great reason to consider Filomena Campus as an innovator and not just a performer or a singer. Milanese writer, and a Londoner for a good few years now, Elena Remigi, was also present in the audience. Thanked by Campus for all her great work, Remigi, author of “InLimbo”, a book of testimonies on Brexit, gave the night a supportive and sympathetic atmosphere.
To note, The In Limbo Project is a not-for-profit, non-political initiative set up by a group of EU27 citizens in the UK to record testimonies from the five million victims of Brexit and allow their voices to be heard. Narration, music, literature, a passionate audience and beautiful string renditions, Filomena Campus and her Theatralia’s 5th edition blasted off to another start of this ingenious festival.
The understanding, the perfect mutual intentions are just some of the elements that made that particular night a total success. Theatralia Festival is yet again showing high levels of quality and promises to be even greater in Rome, the second and final stop. A date not to be missed for sure!
Filomena Campus (vocals & lyrics)
Giorgio Serci (guitar & music)
Keld Ensemble String Quintet: Jon Acton (violin), Kate Waterworth (violin), Geoff Irwin (viola), Simon Williamson (cello), Andy Waterworth (double bass)
Special guest: Natasha Stanic Mann (performer)
Senior writer: Erminia Yardley
Photo Credit: Carl Hyde – “shot exclusively for Jazz in Europe”
Last modified: November 19, 2019