Mira of Clarence Jazz

A different kind of jazz

Clarence Jazz Festival 2021 celebrated 25 years of concerts with sounds from the old and new. Mallika Naguran, with fine Tasmanian pinot in hand, grooved through the summer event to bring you this review.

Hobart, 1 March 2021. If you thought this year’s festival looked and sounded quite different from the last 24 years, you could probably be right.

Tasmania’s premier jazz extravaganza—the Clarence Jazz Festival—drummed up notions of jazz to the nth degree.

More than 1,600 festival goers were treated to jazz vibes and grooves at Tasmania’s Eastern Shore as they knew it, and didn’t.

Tim Kling told Gaia Discovery that this year’s festival was framed to be different to ensure there was a “diversity of culture, sounds, people and gender” while catering to different musical tastes and age groups of audiences.

Over five day from 17 to 21 February, there were jazz standards, swing, quartets, New Orleans jazz and blues, and big bands to please traditional jazz fans. These had audiences breezing through the waterfront park with Tasmanian food and drinks, tucking into their food on rugs or sitting on portable camp chairs. Dogs included.

There were also bands that reached out to listening ears with sounds not usually heard at Clarence Jazz Festival. Like Arabic tunes for a start.

Arabia, Afro…

Egyptian-born Mira Rizk sang to a sold-out late night Jazz Lounge concert on Friday at the iconic sandstone Rosny Barn. She delivered four traditional classical Arabic songs backed by a ten-piece ensemble orchestrated by Stephen McEntee.

A chance meeting at last year’s Hot August Jazz in North Hobart brought Rizk and McEntee together. The Egyptian newcomer to Australian public performance used to sing classical Arabic songs at the Cairo Opera House. But not in Australia since she moved here in March 2020 for studies. In fact, Rizk didn’t think that there was an audience for her music. “I was worried that the songs, which are highly lyrical, would be lost on the audience,” said Rizk.

This article was first published on Gaia Discovery. Read on!


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