International Jazz Festival Musica Sulle Bocche 2018

Henning Bolte By

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The next day at the sanctuary was dedicated to migration in a very concrete sense. It was a scenic spoken word performance by a mixed troupe of Galluran actors and African actors with a migration history. The narrative of migration and the narrative of reception and inclusion came together, became interwoven in the staging. It was created in collaboration with Teatri Peregrini Festival, a continuation of the collaboration of Musica Sulle Bocche that started last year. The performance, massively frequented by local visitors, felt very natural, sincere and engaged. It opened a door to everyday reality and connected to it in an imaginative way. It was an element that has been lost in many music festivals or his been substituted by declarations and manifestos. The event could serve as an impulse or even as a model.

Mistral is the master (maistràleor bentu maestru)

It was good luck that the opening-concert was not affected by rough weather conditions, which in the northwest of Sardinia means: taut wind. But, during the next days, the weather situation changed, the wind increased and thwarted planned outdoor concerts. Sites are not protected enough to play and listen to music, plus the rules for public events seem to be quite strict and are obeyed by the local authorities that would not take risks or be flexible. Therefore, the concert of the Danilo Perez Trio was relocated from the church square to a multi-functional hall. Atmospherically it detracted from the charms and liveliness. The same happened to the concert of the Enzo Favata Trio with Trilok Gurtu planned at the Lighthouse at Cape Testa. It was a bit of an irony that the most primary and elementary sound maker and musical inspiration was considered as untamable and interfering too strongly.

In the hall, enough was left to enjoy. Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez, longtime sideman with Wayne Shorter, bassist Ben Street double bass and drummer Nate Winn drums, later joined by alto saxophonist Patricia Zarate, his Chilean wife, and Enzo Favata, did what could be expected in a solid way. It became an animated demonstration, especially of Panamanian and other Latino-American rhythms, joyfully appreciated by the participating audience.

In the dawn -bagliore del mattina

Next morning you had to get up early to catch the six o'clock in the morning concert on Spiagga Rena Bianca beach downhill from town. Arriving at the beach a lighted grand piano and a copious audience could be noticed in a sheltered corner. A few festivals, like the Molde Festival in Norway, have this tradition of an early morning sunrise concert. It is a very attractive and at the same time challenging thing. The challenge here was not only to enliven the grand piano on the sand visually, soundwise and spiritually. The challenge for Clara Peya from Barcelona was also to affect the experience of the space, to pervade and imbue the bay. Peya is an artist of forceful gestures and a personality of transgressive practice (a great commitment with freedom: of form, style and gender"). Peya's last album Oceanes was inspired by and "dedicated to women through the water element." Considering this, she was a promising choice, also attracting a wider audience. Peya worked hard to achieve something like a spatial impact with piano playing and some electronics. Peya's gesture-rich improvising on catchy lines brought a lot of vividness but did not melt into space or confront space. It remained too static for me. So evidently I was waiting, longing for more in vain. Maybe Peya underestimated the challenge or was just satisfied with something else. What remained was a strong image of embellished catchy lines in shining scenery on a white beach, nella bagliore del mattina.

(No) music in the Lighthouse

Again the mistral! The great sound maker got in the way too of the eagerly awaited Lighthouse concert of the Enzo Favata Trio with Trilok Gurtu on Cape Testa. It was a real pity, but the resilient festival production crew of Enedina Sanna could cope with it successfully too.

The trio of Enzo Favata, guitarist Marcello Peghin and bassist/cellist Salvatore Maiore is a tight-knit stable unit that has shared many musical adventures. Trilok Gurtu, the tigerish percussionist, is an apt musical partner to set sails with. When Trilok Gurtu started to play in Europe (among others with Don Cherry, John McLaughlin, Jan Garbarek, Pat Metheny) he was the first prominently visible player to use a hybridized and personalized drum set composed of Indian and Western elements.

As if the separation from outside wind, light and smell had breathed in some extra fury, the four musicians heavily conjured up the sensations of Fire, Water, Earth and Ice, lightning and thunder and continuously gave it shape with high energy, clear focus and effervescent creativity. In that sense, it was the right combination and energy, finishing the festival with a clear exclamation mark.


Nature and mentality have a strong lasting impact on the visitor to the island, despite the far-reaching touristification of many precious sites and beautiful places. To a certain extent, festivals are part of that and have to find a good and productive balance. Musica Sulle Bocche has a strong basis that urges for solidification and further deepening development. The activities on special sites outside town in particular are unique and deserve further care and development. Another point connected with this would be a stronger emphasis on the residential character of the festival. The landscape and the sites are so evocative that it would be worthwhile for musicians staying in Santa Teresa Gallura to work on it together. This year's edition had three percussionists, Pasquale Mirra, Dudù Kouatè and Trilok Gurtu that could contribute to more than a singular concert. That c/should also lead to more exchange and congruency between south and north. Residencies could become a part of that. Musicians from "the north" would not only bring their music to the place but also could explore the environment with musicians from the south, and do the same vice versa. For instance, if vocalists from the north explore the sites on the island they will be confronted with the indigenous rich ancient vocal tradition. That could be a good trigger to present a meeting of both in the north too. As part of this year's edition there was a nice little not-so-much heeded exhibition with a broader range of ancient or 'exotic' musical instruments in the local primary school, the headquarters of the festival. That could also be a further reaching building block with a lot of possibilities. Enzo Favata, the artistic director, used his own custom-built instrument during concerts in forceful ways. Next edition I would like to see and hear seashells being played and sounding at certain sites, as well as voices from the surrounding rocks and caves.


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