Drum-roll please!! 12 Points 2012 Artists announced
Alot has changed since our last edition of 12 Points, and we don’t mean the crisis in the Eurozone. Au contraire, we’ve been having a lot of fun bringing 12 Points artists to cities right across Europe, from Skopje to Tallinn, from Gateshead to Munich. Our next stop is the historic city of Porto and it’s beautiful Casa da Musica - an architectural wonder that sets a new benchmark in modern building for music and creativity.
With a huge amount of applicants, it’s been no easy task to choose 12 artists to bring to Porto next February.
The final selection includes our first ever Bosnian participants Divanhana, bringing the evocative sound of sevda, a dramatic urban blues style that will be right at home among our fado loving hosts, while Poland makes an overdue return to 12 Points courtesy of the exciting Warsaw saxophonist Maciej Obara and his potent quartet.
As we’ve learnt from our previous six editions, planet Jazz has an ever-shifting relationship with its neighboring constellations, and it orbits the tribalism of pop and rock and the formalities of the classical sphere without apparent contradiction. Those polarities are writ large in those emerging artists pushing the envelope at 12 Points 2012. From Berlin, Schneeweiss und Rosenrot evoke a folk sensibility, with tender harmonies and strong songwriting, while Girls in Airports, our lo-tech groovers from Copenhagen, have embraced the world of Afro beat and Ethiopiques with gusto. Experimental pop-jazz band Machine Birds are prowling the Norwegian underground scene with their improvised electro hybrids.
Different creative agendas are at work with bands like Actuum, a knotty and noisy Parisian five piece with turn on a dime compositions that speak of obsessive devotion to the practice room, not unlike young Londoners WorldService Project, mining a similar rich seam of metric gymnastics with all out improv and an urban edge.
If there is a middle ground, it’s occupied by the lyrical leanings of Helsinki’s Big Blue and the sassy interplay of text and music from Dubliners Thought-Fox, and the fleet linear explorations of Portuguese bassist Hugo Carvalhais. Of course, 12 Points wouldn’t be complete without a thought-provoking piano trio. Taking the angular route are this year’s contenders, Ghent’s De Beren Gieren, while Italy’s Livio Minafra helps us maintain an important tradition of solo piano performance at 12 Points.
Its clear that these are testing times for creativity at the margins, but its also a time of rapid evolution, with young bands showing all of us the way to revive, renew and reconnect. Those that make their way to Porto are among the brightest hopes that Europe has to offer.