Now in its seventh year, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival returns with a fantastic programme of high calibre artists taking place across the city.
The festival has grown in size in popularity through the years with a programme designed to appeal to music lovers of all ages and tastes. Now the festival is one of the city’s biggest music events and is fondly loved by dedicated jazz and blues fans.
Asaf Sirkis is a jazz dummer originally from Israel. Having spent his formative years in multicultural town Rehovot, where he lived in his teens and twenties, his early music making drew influence particularly from Yemenite culture, music, and rhythms as well as The Beatles, Police, Yes, Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Allan Holdsworth, and Weather Report.
During the 1990s, he performed with jazz luminaries from around Isreal while beginning to hone his own writing voice, eventually moving to Tel Aviv and forming a trio to perform his own compositions. He also released his first solo record and was commissioned to create a new project ‘The Inner Noise’, featuring Adi Goldstein on Church Organ and Amir Perelman on Guitar.
In 1998 Asaf left Israel to Europe and eventually settled in London in April 1999. He started working with Adel Salameh, a Palestinian aud player/composer with whom he recorded the album ‘Nuzha’, and re-formed the Inner Noise band with Steve Lodder (Church Organ) and Mike Outram (Guitar). In 2000 Asaf met Gilad Atzmon, forming The Orient House Ensemble who have since recorded seven albums together. OHE’s album ‘Exile’ won the ‘Best CD of the Year’ category at the BBC Jazz Award 2003 and was nominated for the ‘Best Band’ category in 2004.
Asaf played or has been playing around the world with artists such as: Dave Holland, Jacob Collier, Tim Garland, Celine Bonacina, Gwilym Simcock, Larry Coryell, Nicolas Meier, Jeff Berlin, John Abercrombie, Bob Sheppard, Norman Watt-Roy (off the Blockheads), Wilco Johnson, Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Mark Egan, Mark Wingfield, Natacha Atlas, Dave Liebman, David Binney, Gary Husband, pianist John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler, Andy Sheppard, Lenny Stern, John Law, Peter King, Stan Sulzman, Barbaros Erkose (Turkey), Dwiki Dharmawan (Indonesia), Bela Szakcsi-Lokatos (Hungary), Glauco Venier (Italy), Yuri Goloubev (Russia), Klaus Gesing (Austria), Eyal Maoz (NYC), Simon Fisher Turner, Phil Robson, Mark Latimer, John Etherigde and more…
Since 2014, Asaf has been co-leading the SIrkis/Bialas IQ together with Polish composer/singer extraordinaire Sylwia Bialas (with Frank Harrison on keyboards & Kevin Glasgow on bass). Their debut album ‘Come To Me’ has been receiving some rave reviews and been selected as one of the best of 2015 by Mark Sullivan at the All About Jazz website.
In recent years Asaf has been studying Konnakol – the south Indian vocal percussion language – with master mridangamist Paramasamy Kirupakaran and has been integrating this system in his teaching, composing and rhythmic approach. Asaf has developed an easy, step-by-step method of practicing Konnakol that can help any western instrumentalist or vocalist of any musical genre and level to increase rhythmic awareness and focus. Nowadays, Sirkis is involved in a variety of educational work, bringing Konnakol as a useful tool of understanding rhythm to western music education. Notably he has given many workshops and seminars around the world on the subject and has a YouTube channel with some basic Konnakol tutorials.
Born in 1980 and raised in Poland, singer Sylwia Bialas embraces a flexible, constantly evolving timbre and her instrumental approach to improvisation produces a unique vocal style – an adaptable, interactive and unique musical instrument. Her distinctive phrasing and techniques fashion soulful sung lyrics as well as the most atmospheric vocalise, all touched by the styles of ECM and ethno-music, and strongly influenced by eastern culture:
“Music is my precious way of sharing – with the musicians I’m honoured and happy to work with, and also the audience…“
Sylwia has collaborated with many fine musicians, including:
Andrea Centazzo (IT/USA), Asaf Sirkis (ISR/UK), Peter Phippen (USA), Hans-Peter Salentin (GER), Michael Wollny (GER), Adrian Mears (AUSTRAL), Tim Garland (UK), Ivo Neame (UK) ’The Shin” (GEORGIA), Hubert Winter (GER), Frank Harrison (UK), Antonio Zambrini (IT), Russ Spiegel (USA), Roine Sangenberg (SWE), Jesper Bodilsen (DEN), Michele Salgarello (IT), Gilad Atzmon (UK), Pat Bettison (USA), Yaron Stavi(ISR), Zbigniew Lewandowski (POL) and more…
Sylwia Bialas has also been creator and member of various international music and art projects, as well as a number of diverse bands touring in Germany, Poland, Italy, Scandinavia and the UK.