FEATURE: Meet the Rising Stars (Final Night of GMF London Jazz Workshop/ Music Festival (Pizza Express Dean St Aug 21st)

Libor Smoldas and Stephen Keogh
Photo credit: Melody McLaren

The final night of the Global Music Foundation's London Jazz Workshop and Music Festival GMF Festival is entitled "Rising Stars - The Fresh Sounds of New Talent" and will be curated by the leading Czech guitarist Libor Smoldas(*), The concert will feature some of the gifted musicians who have spent time as students on GMF courses, and who have now embarked on their own professional careers.

In this preview they introduce themselves one by one to LondonJazz News readers, as they look forward to the course and to this concert, which will be a particularly apposite, optimistic and forward-thinking end to the GMF week in London:

Nel Begley

Nel Begley, vocalist

I am ecstatic to be learning again from the incredible tutors at GMF, especially René Marie and Guillermo Rozenthuler - who opened my eyes last year to performing openly and finding my own true and authentic voice. Their performance experience and knowledge is unending and I cannot wait to find out what I will learn about myself this year!

I graduated from LCoM last August and a year on, I have performed at a large number of festivals and venues with electro-swing band The After Hours, recorded a second EP Morning Love with 'Nel and the Elephants' and travelled to Italy and Brazil to pursue my love of circle-singing - introduced to me by Guillermo.

I am so grateful for courses such as GMF which give people such as myself the opportunity to keep learning and creating incredible music, thank you Stephen Keogh!

LINK: Nel Begley on Facebook

Eddie Hick

Eddie Hick, drums

I first attended GMF as a student and now I am working full time as a musician touring and recording for various artists. GMF is an event I always look forward to, I can't recommend it highly enough.

The Global Music Foundation workshop/festival experience is not to be missed. I have learned so much from these events over the years both as a student, teacher and performer. It provides a safe environment for musicians of all levels to be free, creative and learn whilst making new friends and connections.

LINK: Eddie Hick's website

Nick Fitch

Nick Fitch, guitar

I feel extremely fortunate to have been a scholarship student last year on the GMF course in Certaldo, Italy! Having spent a week studying with Libor Smoldas, Perico Sambeat and the rest of the amazing faculty on the GMF course last year, getting the chance to do it again this year in London is incredibly exciting! Some of the highlights for me this year will be the late night jam sessions at Pizza Express - Soho, watching the amazing tutor concerts and meeting some new young musicians from the UK & USA!

I’m a 20 year-old guitarist currently studying at Guildhall School of Music, London. I also hold the guitar chair for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO). Recent highlights include playing at the Milan Jazz Festival and Ronnie Scotts with NYJO, Pizza Express Soho with Laurence Juber and playing with members of the Jazz At Lincoln Centre at the Barbican.

LINK: Nick Fitch's website

Sam Barnett

Sam Barnett, saxophone

I am really looking forward to the GMF course this year. GMF gives me a chance to connect with new musicians around my age and be taught and meet incredible teachers from around the world. The course improves you as a musician by doing a wide range of masterclasses.  I get to play at a prestigious venue and experiment with new music. The jams and live performances enhances the experience with an opportunity to show your music to others.

I'm studying at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Jazz Academy with Gareth Lockrane. I am sponsored by Trevor James Saxophones as there first "Emerging Artist" playing their Signature Custom Raw Alto and Tenor saxes. I have played at the Love Supreme Festival and solo at Birmingham Arena, Trafalgar Square and at the Imperial Wharf Jazz Festival. I've enjoyed training at Berklee College of Music in Valencia and Boston. Later this year I will be studying with pianist, Barry Harris in Sicily and playing at the Birds Eye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland.

LINK: Sam Barnett's website

Roz MacDonald
Photo credit: Antonio Porcar Cano. All Rights Reserved

 Roz MacDonald, bass (Scotland)

My name is Roz Macdonald and I am a bass player who attended the GMF course in Certaldo last year, I was given the amazing opportunity to do so through Stephen Keogh who I met in my final year studying at Leeds College of Music. l found the course to be a truly inspiring musical experience and it was a privilege to be taught by and to play with such widely renowned international jazz artists. I am so excited to be coming back to the course at Pizza Express this year and look forward to meeting and playing music with everyone, not to mention eating the pizza.

Eleni Arapoglou

 Eleni Arapoglou, vocals (Greece) 

My name is Eleni Arapoglou, a singer from Athens, Greece. I am now based in New York City after completing studies in theatre and dance at Tufts University and vocal performance at Berklee College of Music. While singing in several different projects in the city varying from traditional Serbian music to Argentinian folk, jazz and music from my country, I am very interested in combining movement, visual and song in improvised performance.

I loved going to GMF courses over the summer because I loved all the different people involved, both students and teachers. It's always such a diverse crowd. All ages, from young teenagers excited and eager to learn from the masters, some college students coming to strengthen their studies, young professionals, parents, grandparents who starting playing much later in their lives.. everyone was there! And despite all the different levels of experience, there was a really high quality and commitment to the craft, both in the collective morning sessions and the smaller instrumental groups. The teachers consisted of a very promising and exciting team to be guided by.. And kept bringing GMF students back every time! Not to mention the most beautiful locations... (pp)

LINK:Eleni Arapoglou's website

The programme on August 21st will also feature Dutch trumpeter Daniel Clason

NOTE(*) Libor Smoldas official biography: Libor Šmoldas was born in 1982 in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, but has lived in Prague most of his life. He has been gaining recognition across Europe and USA for several years now. Playing hunderds of concerts both in clubs and festivals and releasing several albums as a leader. He ranks among the stars of the Czech jazz scene in spite of his youth, and plays, teaches and records with the international stars of the jazz world including Adam Nusbaum, Bobby Watson, Brian Charette, George Mraz, Sam Yahel and Jeff Ballard. He the won award for Best jazz composition of a year Awarded by OSA and Bohemia Jazz Fest 2014.

LINKS: Bookings for August 21st 
Interview with Rene Marie