domenica 15 settembre 2019

Rototom Sunsplash 2019 - Stand-Up For The Earth.

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
yeah we wept when we remembered Zion...
Now how shall we sing the Lord´s song in a strange land"

One month ago, after the longest road trip from Finland to Spain, we had just set up our camp in Rototom camping place and we were excitedly waiting midnight for the gates to open the first time for the pre-party of the 2019 edition of Rototom Sunsplash.
Entering the festival is like coming back home; walking the path from the campsite to the entrance has become so familiar we could do it blindfolded.

When the official opening actually happens its with great joy that we hurry to check what's different and what's the same, that we can meet again our Rototom family in the Media Area, in the Radio, at some of the usual stands.

We see kids grow year after year, and we realise our own have grown with the chance to experience, at least while at Rototom, the world as it should always be like: so many colours that colours go unnoticed, so many bodies that shame stops existing, so many differently able people that each way your limbs move or appear they are just fine, so many ages together without the imposed society segregation that toddlers and elders play naturally together.

No one is alone, no one is left out, no one is wrong.

This year's theme was Stand up for the Earth, and we sure noticed the effort:

"Stand up for Earth had great successes, like having given this edition the title plastic free. It's a firm step in the right direction in defence of the Earth that has been made possible thanks to the elimination of all plastic bottles. This has freed the planet of 11,000 kg of plastic (which is enough to fill 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools) and has prevented the emission of almost 16,500 kg of CO2.Rototom Sunsplash also stood up for Earth by way of the debates and talks that took place in the Social Forum and Ataya (African Village). Many renowned speakers have passed through, such as the indigenous leader and guardian of the Amazon; Sonia Guajajara, the Spanish representative of the student climate movement, Fridays for Future; Gemma Barricarte, as well as the human rights 
activist; Sani Ladan."

As for the musical offer, the festival hosted more than 120 concerts on the seven stages, going from Roots to Dancehall and Dub.
The busiest day was Saturday 17th August with 34,000 people that came to see a line-up headed by Busy Signal and the soundtrack show from the film Babylon, one of reggae's biggest cinematic hits, at the hands of Brinsley Forde and Dennis Bovell. 
The session on 21st August, with the unstoppable Ziggy Marley; and the day that closes the festival with a special show from Green Valley & Friends that celebrates 10 years of the festival in Spain, also had significant peaks in attendance. 

Another highlight of the festival has been always the 21 of august when at the Reggae university, after the movie " 25 years walking together ", Rototom Sunsplash has been awarded with the Africa Peace Award by the United Religions Initiative - Africa, followed by an amazing University session with Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie, grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie I, about the
Importance of Ethiopia to the Culture and Spirit Heritage of the world .

To summarize this year's edition: during the week, more than 202,000 people from 76 countries have spun to the rhythm of planet Rototom. The majority were from Spain, then followed by France, UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. Alongside these countries, there were also far-flung destinations such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Philippines, Ghana and Kenya that had a presence.From Friday 16th to Thursday 22nd August, 11,000 under-13s have passed through the concert area. In addition, 3,400 over-65s and 3,800 people with disabilities joined the Rototom Sunsplash experience.Rototom Sunsplash 2019 also maintained its commitment to solidarity and social engagement through actions like the campaign to raise funds for Greenpeace with the reusable plastic glass system, setting up a Respect Point for information about sexual aggressions or LGBTphobia, as well as the novel initiative of donating food to reduce waste.The programme of Rototom Sunsplash has also made an additional couple of stops at the prison Castellón II de Albocàsser. The spirit of the festival and the music of Koers (Monday 19th) as well as Green Valley and Macaco (Wednesday 21st) was brought to the inmates there.

After such an experience, now we really feel like we're sitting by the rivers of Babylon, weeping some tears waiting for the next chance to join our dear red, gold and green family in 2020 Rototom Sunsplash Edition.

venerdì 9 agosto 2019

Awa Fall aka Sista Awa interview - Throwback to Overjam 2018-

Hello People !

Last year we got to be at Overjam Reggae Festival, the festival happening on the banks of the Soča River in Tolmin, Slovenia. 

During last year's edition we go to interview the beautiful and talented Awa Fall, with this year's edition right behind the corner there isn't a better time to share this interview with you !

Enjoy ! 

(scroll down for English translation) 

I nostri ascoltatori non hanno ancora avuto il piacere di conoscerti, vorresti presentarti ?

Sono Sista Awa, un'artista reggae underground. Ho 21 anni e ho iniziato a fare musica quando ne avevo 14 grazie a mia zia che si esibiva in  diversi locali a Bergamo, dandomi la possibilita' di fare moltissima esperienza live, che e' una delle cose fondamentali per costruire una solida carriera. Adesso sto lavorando al mio secondo album e colgo l'occasione per ringraziare tutti i ragazzi del mio team che mi stanno supportando e aiutando tantissimo in questo periodo.

Sei molto giovane ! Come ci si sente ad essere nel mondo della musica a questa giovane eta' ?

Devo dire che e' sicuramente molto gratificante. Ho fatto veramente moltissimi live e penso che sia grazie a questo se posso gia' calcare palchi cosi importanti a livello europeo. Come ci si sente ? Sono felice !

A proposito di esperienza live, sono parecchi mesi ormai che sei in tour. Come sta andando ? Come te lo spettavi ? Il pubblico e' contento di vederti ?

E' vero sto girando molto, ma mi arrivano continue richieste, da tutto il mondo, addirittura da Senegal e Capoverde e dall'Asia ! Le cose stanno iniziando a farsi veramente serie, mi sento un po' di responsabilita' addosso; pero' lo faccio con amore dunque sono sicura che andra' bene, Ringrazio ancora tutti i miei fans che continuao a supportarmi.

Tu hai la mamma italiana e il papa' senegalese. Crescere in una famiglia multiculturale ha influenzato o comunque arricchito la persona che sei tu adesso ?

Io ho vissuto con mia madre, mia zia e mia nonna che sono tutte e tre italiane, sono cresciuta in una famiglia di sole donne. La parte senegalese e africana non ho avuto la possibilita' di conoscerla fino a 18 anni, quando ho deciso di intraprendere un viaggio da sola e di andare a trovare i miei nonni.
E' stato uno di quei viaggi meravigliosi, ha avuto un forte impatto su di me e su quello che poi sono andata a scrivere ovviamente, perche' sia prima che dopo emozioni 'a palla'  e a me piace proprio trasformare l'emozione in canzoni, quindi sicuramente questo richiamo delle mie radici ha influito parecchio.

Come ti sei avvicinata al mondo del reggae ? C'e' stato un artista in particolare che ti ha influenzato ?

E' nato tutto molto naturalmente insieme alla ricerca delle mie radici. Il Roots Reggae, l' African Reggae, l' African Roots mi hanno aiutato tantissimo perche' io ero sola quando ho intrapreso questa ricerca. Se devo nominare un'artista in particolare sicuramente Jah9, prima di quello, forse banalmente, i Marley. Inizialmente quando facevo cover erano soprattutto Nina Simone e black music in generale. Diciamo che arrivo piu' che altro dal Soul. 

All'inizio dell'anno e' uscita la tua canzone ''Be the difference''. Ti andrebbe di parlarcene un po' ?

In questi tempi di odio e confusione vedo tanti miei coetanei che non sanno che direzione prendere perche' la societa' non permette loro di realizzarsi. Il cambiamento secondo me deve partire in primis da piccole cose e atti quotidiani, anche nei confronti di se stessi. Vedo che manca tanta autostima.

Quando hai iniziato a fare musica ti saresti mai aspettata di suonare su palchi di festival importanti, di avere in un certo senso la responsabilita' di trasmettere così tanto a coloro che ti ascoltano ?

Sono arrivata a questo molto naturalmente. Sin da piccola credevo in tutto questo, avevo le idee chiare, quindi in qualche modo me lo sentivo, che mi sarei ritrovata qua. Ho lasciato la scuola e iniziato a studiare canto e pianoforto e applicandomi a 360gradi per intraprendere la carriera musicale. Non mi sarei vista in altri panni.


Hello ! This is the first time we meet. Would you like to introduce yourself to our listeners ?

Hi ! I'm Sista Awa a reggae underground artist. I started singing at 14 thanks to my aunt, who sings in many places in Bergamo area. I think live experiences are the main point to build a strong career in the music field.
Now I'm 21 and I'm working on my second album and I want to thank my whole team for supporting me and making this possible.

You're so young ! How does it feels to be in the music business at such young age?

I'm very pleased. I worked really hard with tons of live exhibitions and thanks to this now I can join such important european stages like this one. How does it feel ? I'm happy.

About your live shows, you've been on tour for a very long time now. How's going ? Like you expected it to be ? How's the audience ?

Yes I have been touring a lot and I keep having requests from all over the world ! Even Senegal, Capoverde and Asia. Things are getting really serious and I can feel some pressure, but I do all this with great passion and love so I'm sure everything will be fine. I want to thank once again all my fans for supporting me.

Your mom is italian and your dad is from Senegal. Growing up in a multicultural family has influenced and enriched the person you are now ?

I grew up with my mom, aunt and grandmother, which are all italian, an all-women family. I met the senegalese and african part of my family only when I was 18. At that time I decided to leave alone for Africa and I took a flight for Senegal to meet my grandparents. It has been a wonderful journey which had a tremendous impact on me and my music, because of course it was very emotional and what I do is just traslate feelings into songs and music. It has been a journey back to my own roots.

And what about reggae music ? There has been an artist which especially influenced you ?

Everything happened very naturally along with my quest for my origins, my roots. Roots Reggae and African Roots helped me a lot in that period, because I was alone in what I was doing, in my research. If I have to mention someone, Jah9 for sure and then the Marleys of course. At the very beginning I used to make mostly Nina Simone covers and black music in general, so that was my starting point.

At the beginning of the year was released your single ''Be the difference''. Would you like to tell us something about this ?

In these times of hatred and confusion a lot of my peers feel lost because society prevent them to pursue their dreams. The change need to begin in the small everyday things, in ourselves.

When you started making musicwould you have ever expected to play in such important festivals and in a way to have the chance, but also the responsability to speak your mind and heart to so many peapole eager to listen to you ?

I got here in a very natural way, since I was a child I only wanted this. I dropped off school, started studying music and piano and taking singing lessons. I gave all of myself to this, so I couldn't think my life any different. 


venerdì 2 agosto 2019

Montelago Celtic Festival 2019 -Day 1-

This is the only moment of the year you’re happy that time flies. After days and days on the road all the way from Finland, when finally we turn on the small dirty road that leads to the Harp in the middle of Montelago Celtic Festival plane, we feel at home. It is not only the music. Not only the lovely market. And not even the endless thematic activities hosted in the festival area. It is the friendship. The community that year after year strength up. Hugs shared with your Montelago brothers and sisters, that same people that year after year notice how much your kids have grown and are eager to share the news of their lives and listen to yours. And of course the excitement of waiting for the bands playing from the three different stages, the need to jump and dance and sing along to let out all the joy to be here once again.


giovedì 25 luglio 2019

7 nights till Montelago Celtic Festival 2019

Only 7 more nights until Montelago Celtic Festival ! This year will be our 3rd time taking part of the Celtic event of the year happening in Taverne di Serravalle di Chienti (Italy)

The 17th edition of the festival will start on the 1st of august and end on the 3rd
As every year there will be many workshops, bands, happenings and of course the Celtics weddings. 

The gig which is going to open this edition of the Montelago Celtic Festival will be the Italian folk revival Giuliano Gabriele in the Mortimer Pub, continuing with The Gamblers and closing the first night with the European Celtic Contest. 

The second day will start with workshops and conferences, weddings, the first gig will be around 15 with the winners of the European Celtic Contest and the first gig on the main stage will be with the Spanish Mägo De Oz followed by Steve "N" Seagulls and Folkamiseria and the night will be closed by the Irish Punk Folk band Lennon Kelly at the Mortimer Pub. 

The last day of the 17th edition will start with workshops, rugby tournament, conferences and weddings. At 21 there will also be the traditional bon fire in front of the main stage and to conclude this edition 4 bands one after the other on the main stage : Hevia, The Sidh, Folkstone and Lennon Kelly. 

Ci vediamo presto Montelago !!!


mercoledì 24 luglio 2019

Rototom Sunsplash through photos from 2018

Hello People !

Its less than a month to the biggest European Reggae Festival, Rototom Sunsplash in Benicassim !
We can't wait to be there for the 3rd time this year. In the meanwhile lets just try to re-live again some nice vibes though the photos and the video we made last year !

Enjoy :)

See you soon Rototom !!!

lunedì 15 luglio 2019

Rastaplas 2019 : Mellow Mood, New Kingston, Dezarie and more

For the first time this year, we got to cover Rastaplas, one of the many reggae festivals happening in the Netherlands.  The festival is two days long and situated on a beach, in the west side of the country in Zoetermeer. 

The first day of the 16th edition of Rastaplas opened its gates with the dutch band Frontliners, and closed it with the powerful roots reggae Dezarie from the Virgin Island.  When we got to the festival we were “welcomed” by the Jamaican Utan Green, followed by the New Kingston straight from the US, which in my opinion are the cutest thing ever since the band is formed by three bothers and their dad, and last but not least our favorite twins Mellow Mood from Italy

Around 19:30 people started gathering around the main stage, while Reggae Barbie (main stage host) kept the vibes alive with her awesome Dj skills while the twins were doing soundcheck, the more we got close to the actual show time the more people gathered all together under the stage, until the moment they have been announced and got into the stage driving people crazy and ready to dance and sing along.  Personally I could stay hours listening to them and would never get bored, they get me in a happy mood and people told me I have a huge smile when I see them playing. 

A fun fact about Mellow Mood: I started listening to their music around 2015, since 2017 I have been seeing them live every year in different parts of Europe, it felt nice keep the tradition going and see them at least once also in 2019  and in a different country, who knows where in 2020 we will see them perform XD. 

Some words about the festival in general, I liked it ! If you like swimming there is the lake, if you like lying in the sun there is the beach, if you want to play football there is the grass. There are many food points including a vegan/vegetarian one, the festival is very child friendly with activities for kids and not to be underestimate is quite well accessible for people on a wheel chair, so that everyone can enjoy the music and the atmosphere. 

As always the thing I like the most about festivals especially about the reggae ones is the atmosphere you can breath from the second you get close to the gate, everything is peaceful, none is there judging you, people is just there to have fun and enjoy the vibes. Definitely going to visit Rastaplas again next year ;). 

Photos and Article : Gaia Putrino