Moers 50 years after the Moers Festival was founded, director Tim Isfort continues to experiment at Pentecost and opens a new outdoor venue.
The Moers Festival is now 50 years old. From 1972 to 2005 it gained a legendary reputation under the name of “International New Jazz Festival Moers”. In the anniversary year (and therefore the 51st edition), the organizers clarify: “This is not a jazz festival”. In the discussion of the same name in the program with musicians, journalists and companions, which will be repeated at Pentecost, that is from 3 to 6 June, we ask ourselves in parallel: “Is it still a jazz festival?”
The humor behind such a motto, formulated in a wild danglish, goes back to the anarchist style of Tim Isfort, who has been director of the festival since 2017. In five years and with two very creative Corona editions, it has earned such a great reputation that his contract has recently been extended until 2028. Isfort and his team can therefore continue an agenda of freedom with all the planning security: the festival wants to “experiment, be avant-garde and a place of liberation – it wants to counteract increasingly oppressive times. with the power of improvisation, of community, of solidarity. Wahre Freyheidt! ”says the program, from which we present some of the highlights.
Get off the internet After two Corona editions, which took place digital (with live viewers) and hybrid (with around a thousand outdoor viewers), the Moers Festival can finally take place normally again in front of an audience – and even organize the reseller market. . True to the spirit of Tim Isfort, this year it is called “Park-Food-Improschmuck-Ststreichel-Game-Parcours” and will probably be a little smaller than the last because “about a third of retailers did not survive the pandemic”, as the manager informs. That’s why his appeal is: “Come to Moers. Come to the park. There will really be a restart! “
Part of this fresh start is that following last year’s huge success, the nearby open-air stage “AmViehtheater am Rodelberg” will be used next to the festival hall for the main program and will sometimes even be used in parallel. If you don’t want to decide between concert offers, you can theoretically also try to have both: with “moersland” there will be a streaming offer again.
Israel A focus of this year’s music program is on the stage in Israel. After intense research, Tel Aviv-based composer and performer Maya Dunietz (piano and flute), now active around the world, has written a cycle based on Arabic poems from Palestine. Accompanied by the contemporary Meitar-Ensemble, the Essen Cathedral’s women’s choir faces the challenge of interpreting Arabic poetry. Dunietz can also be seen in the Duo Perpetum Disco with drummer Ram Gabay. His dense rhythms and ’80s keyboards surpass danceable. Another international heavyweight on the Israeli scene is saxophonist Assif Tsahar, who only discovered his instrument at the age of 17 and went to New York in his early twenties to play with the likes of Cecil Taylor and William Parker. .
Ethiopia Last year the festival looked at the Ethiopian metropolis Addis Ababa. “Addis Vibrances” is now the name of a project presented by Endris Hassen, virtuoso of the masinko, a lute with one-stringed pike. The twelve-voice ensemble Gamo Gamo brings the original musical and dance tradition of Ethiopian culture to the Lower Rhine. And Kaÿn Lab represents the jazz scene of Ethiopia and South Sudan, in a polyrhythmic and playful way.
reconciliation Just as Israeli Maya Dunietz’s project is designed for reconciliation with Palestinian poems, another also builds bridges: Russian electronic sound artist Pavel Milyakov plays alongside Ukrainian vocalist Yana Pavlova. As a staunch opponent of the war, Milyakov is currently on the run under threat of imprisonment in his home country.
To discover You could name many other names from the Moers: The Horse Lords program who come from the United States and play art rock. Britain’s Bex Burch, who otherwise plays the West African Gyil, embarks on modern successors such as the vibraphone and numerous electronic instruments with her new Flock project. In the intercultural project “The Hidden Tune”, former residency improvisers Angelika Niescier and John-Dennis Renken dare a musical dialogue with an eight-piece Malaysian percussion ensemble. And the current successor is cellist Tomeka Reid from Chicago in the city. Ultimately, however, all of these names just mean something to insiders for the moment, which is why it’s worth taking a voyage of discovery with an open mind.