Creative directors Nigel Slee and Steve Mead (attending on behalf of Manchester Jazz Festival) took part in last weekend’s European Jazz Conference 2017 that took place at Cankarjev dom cultural/congress center in Ljubljana ended on Sunday 24 September 2017. With 280 delegates from 43 different countries the 4th European Jazz Conference, that included the 30th EJN General Assembly, has been the most attended EJN Conference so far.
During four intense days international delegates had the opportunity to listen to three great contemporary artists telling their life stories across different countries and continents: Lebanese composer and oud-player Rabih Abou-Khalil, Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré and French/Serbian, pianist and leading figure in European jazz Bojan Z.
The theme of the conference “What if…”, and its links with the need for exploring new social inclusion policies by those working in the arts and cultural sector was explored in a panel debate with national and international artists, promoters and academics, and during the special Creative Walks around the city of Ljubljana, that were introduced in the Conference for the first time, with the important examples of hip-hop artists N’toko and Naji and their work in Rog squat/cultural hub in Ljubljana, of Syrian violin player Shalan Alhamwy and the story of his violin arriving from Syria to Europe, and of Benin trumpet player Eric Yovogan and the difficulties in being accepted as a professional musician in Belgium.
Professionals from the music sector were also engaged in a number of of working groups and networking sessions to share expertise, learn from each others different ways of working in culture and develop potential collaborations. EJN activities on gender balance, jazz and young people, social inclusion through music, digital tools for audience engagement and others were also discussed in specific working groups.
The Slovenian showcase festival presented some of the most interesting and diverse projects now of the jazz/creative music scene in Slovenia: Maja Osojnik’s ZSAMM, Drago Ivanuša’s “La bĕte humaine”, Artbeaters, Bowrain, Feminized.Science.Deniers (Igor Lumpert, Eve Risser & Dré Hočevar), Kristijan Krajnčan’s “Drummingcellist”, Teo Collori & Momento Cigano. In addition, the new album on Clean Feed “To Pianos” by Eve Risser and Kaja Draksler, part of the Ljubljana Jazz Series of the Portuguese label, was officially launched during a special concert on Friday 22 September, while the Opening Gala concert on Thursday 21 September saw the performances of Rabih Abou-Khalil trio and of Bojan Z playing for the first time with Goran Bojčevski quartet.
The European Jazz Conference 2017 was co-organised by Europe Jazz Network (EJN), the main association of jazz festivals and venues in Europe, and Cankarjev dom (CD), organiser of the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, and was supported by the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, the city of Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016 and UNESCO city of Literature and by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
The next European Jazz Conference will take place between 13 and 16 September 2018 in the city of Lisbon and will be co-organised by EJN, Association Sons de Lusofonia, CCB Centro Cultural de Belem and the Municipality of Lisbon.
#europejazz2017 Programme https://issuu.com/europejazznetwork/docs/ejc2017_booklet
Learning Walk – Ericamour Yovogan at the old Sugar Factory, Ljubljana #europejazz17
What if… every networking meeting was filmed in 360? Mila Georgieva, Peter Dimitrov – A-jazZ, Sofia, Bulgaria and Saša Pastorková – Slovak Jazz Festival, Slovakia helped Nigel test the concept at #europejazz2017.