Looking Up to the example set by courageous jazz composers
PUBLISHED: 11:52 16 October 2019
A yoga centre just off Holloway Road is hosting an evening of jazz music to celebrate the legacy of composers with additional needs this Friday (October 18).
Looking Up will see the jazz trio Stanza Da Tre - that's vocalist Maddalena Ghezzi, pianist Ed Blunt and Thodoris Ziarkas on double bass - take the stage to perform tunes given to the world by people who defied their disabilities to become legends of their genre.
The choice of venue for Looking Up is very significant, too. The concert will play out at MahaDevi, Roberta Sumar Yoga Centre; the first venue of its kind in Europe dedicated to offering its Yoga for the Special Child sessions.
The venue on Eden Grove gives children with a vast array of special needs - including those with autism, Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy and wheelchair users - together with their families, the chance to practice yoga.
Staging Looking Up at the MahaDevi is "very important" to Maddalena Ghezzi, who formed Stanza Da Tre with messrs Blunt and Ziarkas in 2015.
"There is an atmosphere there that is extremely welcoming. It's very nice to have the concert there and to be involved with their work. You don't come across these things all the time - going and talking to people who help people with special needs every day. It has been very empowering, and we're very proud to be a part of it."
Friday's event will include songs performed by Stanza Da Tre at previous concerts, with the second section paying homage to those composers who overcame their physical or mental ailments, and are still revered for their talents today.
Ghezzi and her group will pay musical tribute to composers like Django Reinhardt - who lost the use of two fingers in a fire at the age of 17 - and Ray Charles, who was blind before his eighth birthday.
There will also be music from Jimmi Scott, afflicted with Kallmann syndrome, and Michel Petrucciani, who lived in almost constant pain caused by osteogenesis imperfecta. In spite of this, Petrucciani once said: "Sometimes I think someone upstairs saved me from being ordinary," a quote used to promote Looking Up on the event's poster.
Looking Up is the latest in a string of themed concerts performed by Stanza Da Tre. It follows previous gigs devoted to crossing continents, songs of resistance, and women composers - with Ghezzi explaining that "the idea is to show that there are a lot of interesting bits of music that are not often performed; that are not often highlighted."
Originally from Milan but now living in east London, Ghezzi hopes Looking Up "will be very positive, and very light."
Opening the doors one hour before the music starts will give people "the opportunity to talk to one another [and] to ask questions [about additional needs] without fear of feeling stupid."
Looking Up is at MahaDevi, Roberta Sumar Yoga Centre, 12 Eden Grove, N7 8EQ on Friday from 6.30pm. More details here.