Future jazz trends at Muse Festival

Last year’s agenda had included, among others, bass player Dave Holland, a respected figure on the avant-garde jazz circuit. Now back for a third consecutive year, the Muse Festival, an event specializing in the jazz and ethnic music domains, begins this Friday at the Ianos venue in Athens (24 Stadiou), and runs until December 12. The festival’s objective is to present new trends in jazz music – imported and domestic. Both interesting and encouraging, the average age of participating artists for this year’s event is under 25. Organizers have aptly titled this year’s edition «Jazz of the Future and the Future of Jazz.» One of the visiting acts that has already begun garnering considerable attention is Deodato Siquir, a 32-year-old artist from Mozambique who performs on Saturday. In comments to Kathimerini, Siquir said he would be performing original material which he described as «a lyrical mix of Portuguese, English and Ronga [an African dialect] to Marrabenta, Muthimba and Muganda rhythms.» In recent years, Siquir has been based in Sweden, widely regarded as the focal point of European jazz. «[In Sweden] I have collaborated with musicians from various parts of the world, including Swedish and Danish jazz musicians,» said Siquir, who fronts a trio that includes Dane Preben Carlsen on acoustic guitar and a Polish bassist, Andrzej Krejniuk. «Both of them [Carlsen and Krejniuk] studied music at a Danish conservatory that is very interested in African music,» noted Siquir, who grew up listening to jazz artists such as Chick Corea, a variety of other styles, including rock, funk, reggae, fados, as well as traditional music from Mozambique and Brazil, which was played by members of his musically inclined family. «The rhythm of jazz music has African roots, and its musical scales are from the West. African music was fused with music from the West. I’m interested in trying to extract things from this blend today,» explained Siquir. «It wasn’t easy for me in the beginning. Living conditions in Africa are not good. I worked two jobs to get by,» he continued. This year’s Muse Festival also includes a performance by veteran Greek singer-songwriter Dionysis Savvopoulos with his backing band Pyrina on opening night. On Saturday afternoon, music academic Thanassis Zervas will offer a master class and concert titled «Contemporary Music Analysis and Interpretation.» Saturday’s last show will feature Demos Dimitriadis, a worthy saxophonist, composer and instructor. Students from a state-run music-oriented high school in Pallini, northern Athens, will perform at the festival on Sunday afternoon. Later on in the day, Earth Voices, a nine-member polyphonic vocal ensemble from Greece, will perform a set of traditional Greek, Bulgarian, and Turkish material, as well as gospel and blues.