Hidden Orchestra playing at Hackney Church, London. 13/11/15, supported by Clarinet Factory - a perky quartet of clarinet.
The next day: Basel Rajoub.
Joe Acheson, composer and musician, Poppy Ackroyd, electric violin, piano, Tim Lane, drums. Guest appearances from Tomas Dvorak, clarinet, and Phil Cardwell, trumpet. Visuals by Tom Lumen.
When Hidden Orchestra started to play, projections began moving across the church, accentuating details in the architecture, lighting up windows as though lightening was crossing the sky and coating the walls in stained glass madalas, bricks, candles, raindrops, dense red, and geometric patterns. It was the biggest gig Hidden Orchestra had played to date, and part of a substantial winter tour. They seemed to enjoy it, naturally filling the space and captivating their audience.
The music had a dreamy feel to it, lively at times, tempting the crowd to dance, whilst creating space for individual reflection and interpretation.
When fire licked up the side of the church, or it was saturated in red, my mind moved to Beirut. The previous day there had been severe bombings, which I was reading about on my way to this concert. I remembered how much people made music there, and in Palestinian territories, people I met danced as a way of coping with trauma. Music can supportively accompany grief, and enable the feelings to be made sense of - or ignored, and temporary relief gleaned from distraction.
Swaying along to the music, I pondered how people in this concert hall were far removed from such violence, as they enjoyed a concert unrelated to religion, in a church. My assumptions promptly shone back at me, with awareness that I did not know who I was experiencing the music and the projections with, I had no idea of their background or life experience.
On the journey home, I used my phone to find out more about the recent bombing in Beirut, and was stunned that whilst I relaxed in the centre of this gig, at a concert hall across the channel in Paris, people were being killed by Isis. I looked around the train carriage at faces that appeared to be reading the same news.
The next day I had a ticket for more jazz festival at Richmix, East London with Basel Rajoub. I was glad this had been booked.
Basel Rajoub a saxophonist and composer from Syria, played with Feras Charleston, qanun, Andrea Piccioni, percussion, and Lynn Adib, singing.
It was a packed hall, lots of ears keen for the soothing and nourishing melodies. Andrea’s drumming was incredible, I was with three others and none of us knew fingers could do that. Witnessing Lynn sing, was seeing music is life, she appeared a decade younger when singing her soulful arabic lyrics, whilst the saxophone shared understanding, with soft strength, and a timeless sense of collective emotion across borders.