Five reasons not to miss BOZAR’s Jazztivism

The unmissable music festival Jazztivism is taking over Brussels’ BOZAR from Thursday 10th to Friday 11th of April, injecting plenty of passion and rhythm to this year’s programme. Renowned for its all-encompassing and innovative approach to jazz, we select five reasons why BOZAR’s festival is one to be noted.

BOZAR’s Jazztivism honours the 50-year anniversary of the May ’68 protests, reminding us that far beyond political protests lies an important cultural aspect. Jazz has always been linked to rebellion and challenging the status quo, and by politicising music it continues to inspire societal changes. The programme has been selected to reflect this as well as updating the repertoire with a contemporary activist edge.

To kick things off, BOZAR has put together an evening encircling the work of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchel. Tutu Puoane takes on the challenge of re-interpreting Mitchel’s gut-wrenchingly powerful pieces by mixing in her South African roots. The result: a socially-committed match made in heaven. Treat yourself.

Breaking through the mould are Belgian jazz giants Teun Verbruggen and Nic Thys together with Antwerp-based jazzmen from the Royal Conservatory, with a selection firmly rooted in the 1960s civil right’s movement. Particularly, their choice to re-invent We Insist!, denouncing ever-present global racism, smoothly reminds us of how far we’ve left to go. Undoubtedly, the music speaks for itself with. Don’t sleep.

Next, moving across the pond Turkish author-composer-performer Korhan Futaci focalises our attention on the continuing injustices under the current Ankara-based regime. Free jazz is always a delight for the senses, yet through his collaboration with his unique band Kara Orkestra, this should be a real treat. Expect a free-flowing ensemble of psychedelic jazz rock and Ottoman rhythms. Need we say more?

Last but not least, Manuel Hermia invites us into an all-encompassing musical journey, employing their signature style and an interplay of Indian modal. This unique political approach to composition this time tackles the lingering repercussions of right wing politics. Austerity … and what about rage? is sure to provoke an emotional reaction from the crowd, especially given his talented musicians including Swiss trombone whirlwind Samuel Blaser. Not to be missed.

Running from Thursday 10th to Friday 11th of May.