20 years Hospitalet Jazz Festival – the summer musical event in Narbonne

Text Jazz l'Hospitalet
Photos Jazz l'Hospitalet
The 20th anniversary of the festival will feature jazz, funk, soul and reggae rhythms - a sure promise of six memorable nights worthy of such a milestone!


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Each evening begins with a gala dinner served in the Château’s grounds: amongst natural surroundings, in the middle of the vineyards of an estate using biodynamic farming methods. Then as night falls, the concert gets under way on a large stage on the courtyard side, followed by dancing beside the vines.

“Memories … We had just moved into Château l’Hospitalet. I was wandering around the buildings on one of those evenings when dreams seem particularly real and I was struck by a kind of silence. I became aware that special something, which would allow people to really soak up the art of living. Music, to be exact. Not the harmonious melody of the wind whistling through the estate’s courtyard, but the languorous music of a “jazz bubble”.

And so, the Hospitalet Jazz Festival was born exactly 20 years ago. Celebrating such an anniversary this year is a joy that I am proud to share with all the artists who have performed here, our guests – our wonderful regulars who come back year after year and those who join us once or twice during these glorious evenings, the general public, along with the partners who have supported us from the outset.

On the occasion of our 20th anniversary, it is my wish that this be a time of great celebration for all. The artists on the list and the surprises we have planned will doubtless help me usher this into reality!”

GERARD BERTRAND 2020 Photo: Ulrich Lebeuf / M.Y.O.P

Sunday, July 16th Ibrahim Maalouf with guest The HaÏdouti Orkestar

It all begins with people moving from one place to another. It is these nomads who built the sedentary cultures to which the vast majority of us now feel we belong. Ever since our existence has been defined by where we were born and where we live, it has become very difficult to imagine living in any other way. And yet, these nomadic cultures inspire films, books, music, painting, dancing, the circus and trade etc. every day. From India to Eastern Europe, from southern Mexico to northern US states, from sub-Saharan Africa to West Africa and on to Brazil, from North Africa to Europe; people have always migrated all around the world. And future cultures are founded on this intermingling of populations. Such intermingling is not always welcomed though since strangers have always been feared. The music that is born of these encounters can be soothing, nostalgic and festive, but also a sign of revolt. Each theme, each melody, becomes a hymn; a hymn of the displaced, a hymn to time, a hymn to “moving” spaces and a hymn to men and women who need to get along despite their differences. I invite you to join us for the opening night of the 20th anniversary of the Hospitalet Jazz Festival with the Haïdouti Orkestar, comprising musicians who come from all over: Eastern Europe, North Africa, Northern Europe, Andalusia and the Middle East etc.

Bild 5 Tournée Ibrahim Maalouf invite Haïdouti Orkestar cPhoto Paul Bourdrel Nuits de Fourvière
Ibrahim Maalouf mit dem HaÏdouti Orkestar als Gast

Monday, July 17th Nile Rogers & Chic

A tireless creator of hits, Nile Rodgers has written and played for and produced the biggest stars in the world including Madonna, Daft Punk, David Bowie and, more recently, Beyoncé. Yes, Chic’s co-founder is now a music legend. His favourite guitar is a 1959 Fender. With it, Nile Rodgers has given us some good times. He makes everybody dance, writes the most lyrical stories, and makes us want to boogie. He is like a one-man vitamin boost. The reason everyone wants to work with Nile Rodgers is because the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and lover of disco, funk and soul, is a genius through and through. David Bowie fell under his spell. The result was Let’s Dance. Madonna gave him the keys to the studio. In return, we got Like A Virgin. Daft Punk batted their eyelids at him. Get Lucky was born. It’s obvious: with his tinted glasses, Nile Rodgers transforms everything he touches into a musical gem. It’s because this Greenwich Village virtuoso, brought up on the rhythms of the Beat Generation, always finds the thing that makes all the difference. Under the soft weight of his light chords, ideas burst forth at the speed of light. His recipe for success is a delicate blend of joie de vivre, an endless desire to perform, and the delight he takes in creating the most daring sounds. Yet it is all done with the same mental finesse. The riffs are subtle – always just enough, never too much. That’s the way Nile Rodgers is. He likes to hear perfection because music is what drives him.

Bild 6 Nile Rodgers Chic
Nile Rogers & Chic

Tuesday, July 18th Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Ben Harper is back in France this summer with the Innocent Criminals to perform tracks from his latest album Bloodline Maintenance. This 17th opus, both political and revealing on a personal level, is brave and intensely soulful, redefining the shape of Black Americana, a crossover of hip hop, blues and jazz. Talking about this new album, Ben Harper said: “It was like I was moving forward and venturing into places I had never been before. Taking everything, I’ve learned from every other record and kind of setting fire to it all and starting over. And I knew the sounds I was hearing in my head were so unorthodox that I had to do most of it myself.” And create it he did: on top of the guitar, bass and double bass, Ben Harper also recorded the drums on the album. The accentuated rhythms are greatly influenced by the inventiveness of hip hop and his use of age-old paradigms of soul, blues and jazz, all wrapped up together and reconfigured into a new kind of Black Americana. It’s going to be a great concert!

Bild 7 Ben Harper photo PRIMARY credit Evil Vince Photo
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Wednesday, July 19th Tower Of Power

Originally from Oakland, California in the United States, Tower of Power is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in soul, funk and R&B with their highly characteristic horn section. Born out of a chance encounter between Emilio Castillo and Stephen “Doc” Kupka, playing tenor sax and baritone sax respectively, Tower of Power is certainly one of the most successful and prolific bands in the history of R&B. They are an essential part of the history of jazz funk music. With the arrival of singer Rick Stevens, the group enjoyed a string of hits including So Very Hard To Go and What Is Hip? This was followed by extraordinary collaborations with groups such as Aerosmith, Heart, the Grateful Dead and John Lee Hooker, while the band itself is still at the top of its game. On tour this summer to the delight of their fans in Europe, Tower of Power will put in what promises to be a remarkable appearance at Château l’Hospitalet.

Bild 8 Tower Of Power
Tower Of Power

Thursday, July 20th Selah Sue

At 32, Selah Sue is one of the stalwarts of the current Belgian scene. Her third studio album, Persona, marks an artistic renaissance while retaining one constant: instantly identifiable voice, bursting with soul and interspersed with hints of blues. Its sunny tone carries with it all the characteristics of the singer, starting with her optimism and explosive energy capable of galvanising entire crowds, but equally her maturity, modesty, her private weaknesses and bewitching charm. By following Socrates’ famous motto “know thyself”, Selah Sue has found her balance and moves forward calmly and confidently towards the light. She makes her return to the stage at the Hospitalet Jazz Festival and is looking forward to reconnecting with her public.

Bild 9 Selah Sue cMathieu Zazzo
Selah Sue, photographiée à Paris le 20 septembre 2021 par Mathieu Zazzo

Friday, July 21st Big Band Brass & Guests, Robin McKelle, Cali, Yuri Buenaventura, Imany, Ben l’Oncle Soul

For its closing night, the Hospitalet Jazz Festival promises you a concert like no other! This will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime event, bringing together five artists who have made their mark on the 20-year history of the festival, along with Big Band Brass. This looks to be a really amazing gathering with the voice of Robin McKelle, the poetry of Cali always ready to go a little crazy, the Colombian warmth of Yuri Buenaventura, the charisma of Imany and the soul of Ben, all carried along by Big Band Brass lead by Dominique Rieux. Apparently, rehearsals are about to start and there will be plenty of surprises in store! No other spoilers though until the night itself which will wrap up this great 2023 session.

Bild 10 jazz festival
Big Band Brass & Guests, Robin McKelle, Cali, Yuri Buenaventura, Imany, Ben l’Oncle Soul


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