Journalist Dieuwertje Heuvelings wrote a beautiful piece in de Volkskrant about the long lost art of the jam session and the youthful spirits that breath new life into an ancient style of music making. A quick breakdown in English of what it entails.
Jam sessions as a counter culture in times of ultra fast consumption of music: it seems a logical development. Making music as a communal activity, more than a solo effort of musicians versus an audience. And as with other developments in the jazz scene, the British groups were walking ahead.
“Bands like Ezra Collective, Kokoroko and Nubya Garcia are often [and openly] jamming together and when they come to the Netherlands they invite local artists over to join them. This brought about new jam sessions in de Randstad, led by young artists,” as our own programmer Lee-Ann Johanna has seen happening before her own eyes.
Three of those young artists are the ones playing tonight (16 nov): Bnnyhunna , ELS Di Incredible and Junya. Three Ghanaian boys, growing up in South East Amsterdam and self taught – Junya even started out on pots and pans – through talent, parents and the church. It wouldn’t be the first time that a sacred communal place like the Church teaches people the joy of making music together – of jamming.
ELS Di Incredible (Emmanuel Afriyie) explains the power of jamming: “at a jam session, you’re for once not playing in the service of a popular vocalist, but in the service of music itself.” Jams give “that feeling of of creating something bigger than yourself,” Bnnyhunna (Benjamin Ankomah) adds.
The art of jamming is connection. Therefore, the jam sessions is the direct musical corollary of community. “It’s about not only being an instrumentalist, but also a musician who feels empathy for the rest of the band,” Junya (Junior Appiah) explains. ELS even dares to take it a step further. “If you just come to show how well you can play an instrument, it’s not going to work,” he says. “It’s a team sport, but not a competition, rather a training.”
The lost art of jamming has returned. We are delighted that it made a comeback through the energy and spirit of young, talented artists, that understand the power of creativity, community and living in the here and now.
Wednesday 16 November (tonight) you can see them shine on our stages, as the three of them will lead three separate jam sessions. Come through, feel the energy, free the creativity.
Last ticket available here
Artwork by Melcher Oosterman