WORLD SI CUBA!
Various venues, Glasgow, Fri 9-Sun 18 Nov.
Ibrahim Femr leads ‘em a merry dance
Celtic Cuba? Well, yes. Not necessarily the most often highlighted cultural connection in history granted so maybe its time for a quick lesson . . .
In there with the inﬂuences left by the indigenous Taino lndians, the imported labour from Haiti, Venezuela and even China, and the massive slave heritage of West African Yoruba culture - is the enduring legacy of Galicia. Many of Cuba’s small farmers came from Spain’s bagplpe-playlng North West corner, including Fidel Castro’s father. Indeed, Fidel himself is still nicknamed ‘El Galego’.
Cuba’s complex histories - musical, cultural, artistic and historical - play a large part of Glasgow’s upcoming ten-day Si Cuba! festival. The other part is a party.
Kicking off with a free Salsa In The Square event by members of Salsa Celtlca with vocalist Lino Rocha, Si Cubal’s organisers are determined to get Glasgow’s hips swaying as they lay on rumba and salsa sessions all over town - with free classes for kids. And after the readings, galleries, films, concerts, dances and theatre events - the Festival Club in Cuba Norte stays open through to 3am, dispensing food, drink and Latin grooves from DJs and festival guests.
Hedonistic highlights include dancing to Addys d'Mercedes’ soul, or Snowboy and the Latin Section’s unstoppable percussion. Be dazzled by young pianist/composers Omar Sosa and Alex Wilson fronting bands that bring Cuban, African and Jazz roots into the dynamic present. And, for stagecraft, energy, a gorgeous singing style and international star quality - and that’s not making allowances for his 70-odd years - there’s a quick return visit to the Royal Concert Hall (he stole the show early this summer in the full Buena Vista Social Club line-up) by Ibrahim Ferrer.
Cooler, cerebral stimulation includes a version of the celebrated cigar factory self-education process, and talks on race, economics, politics, poetry and contemporary Music. Oh, and one on ‘The Cuban Detective In Fiction’ - about which I Havana clue. (Norman Chalmers)
I For the full free programme contact 0747 287 4422 or check out the website on www.sicuba.co.ul<
Arches, Glasgow, Sun 11 Nov.
Touched by the hand of God(rich)
Zero 7's Sam Hardaker has fought his way into a grammatical tight corner. 'If we had had any expectations last year.‘ he says concentrating as hard as he can. ‘then what has happened this year would have surpassed them by a long, long way.‘ It’s a phrase which says as much about the easy-going
46 1'". LIST 1-15 Nov 2001
attitude of Zero 7 as it does about the amazing year they've had.
Some would say they’ve been astonishingly lucky. Sharing a studio with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich may have helped. ('What's he like? It's all in the name. He's God. And he's Rich') Godrich gave them an opportunity to dub- up Radiohead's 'Climbing Up The Walls’ for their first ever remix. This year though they have made their own great leap forward. Not only is their first album, Simple Things, doing rather nicely but it's being helped along by a Mercury Award nomination. They've also gone from a studio-only affair to a fully-fledged band. performing their first live date ever at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona, no less.
‘We've certainly had some very fortuitous moments in our career to date.‘ says Hardaker. ‘There's no doubt about that but we've also grafted to get there.“ They have worked in studios for almost a decade. starting as tea-boys and moving on to engineer in other
studios until they had the chance to
slave over their own work in their
own place. ‘We pissed off a lot of peOpIe by spending fucking ages over that album.’ It paid off. The beautifully warm, wrap-around soul-jazz arrangements of Simple Things are clearly the achievements that Sam. at least. takes most pride from despite having reinvented Zero 7 as a live band. 'Originally we had absolutely no desire to perform live in any way but I'm pleased we were talked into doing it. Playing with such a diverse bunch of musicians. from such different musical backgrounds has been very important. And a great laugh.’
It would be a lot for a band to contract back into a studio duo as successfully as they expanded into a ten-piece live outfit but that’s the way Hardaker is looking. ‘I feel like I've done enough talking about Simple Things and l have to admit that I’m itching to get back in the studio so I can then go and talk about again.’ Never ones to have great expectations for themselves. Zero 7 may encourage them in others by talking about ‘doing something' with The Godrich himself. (Tim Abrahams)
ERIC BOEREN 4TET Henry’s Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Sat 3 Nov; CCA, Glasgow, Sun 4 Nov.
Dutch cornet player Eric Boeren's music with this superb band directly confronts the example of Ornette Coleman's famous quartet. It would be wrong, though. to simply cast Boeren as Don Cherry and multi— reed player Michael Moore as Ornette — Boeren and his collaborators are putting their own Spin on Coleman's example.
‘When people said that my music was like Ornette’s I took it as a compliment. Ornette's music is a challenge, and his writing and playing were always a big inspiration. I think we do capture the sound of the classic Ornette quartet. but I don't think my pieces sound like his anymore. If they did. there wouldn't be much point in playing them alongside his music.’
The line-up is completed by bassist Wilbert de Joode and that most individual of percussion heroes, Han Bennink. As well as a sweaty night at Henry's. they will be the first jazz ensemble to play at the newly-refurbished CCA in Glasgow. and fall nicely into the adventurous category envisaged by CCA director Graham MacKenzie for his music programme.
Boeren began his musical adventures playing euphonium in a brass band as a kid in his home town in the south of Holland. He graduated to comet, his favoured horn, and worked his way into the fertile Dutch jazz and improvisation
Far from Boeren
scene, playing with musicians like Maarten Altena. Sean Bergin, Ab Baars and Guus Janssen. as well as leading his own bands.
The creative potential contained in this formidable line-up is enormous. and their free-ranging approach allows all of those possibilities equal chance of emerging in any given set.
'We can approach the music knowing that there are many directions we might go in at a given time, and we are all able to read the situation as it develops. Some people still seem to think collective improvising is blowing with no regard to each other or to form. I think of it as creating and analysing the music at the same time.’