Jazz em Agosto 2019

Jazz has always had the seed of protest and change at its root, a genre of music animated by the social context surrounding it and able to focus on grievances that are often inconvenient and which the eye so frequently prefers to ignore. Music must carry greater meaning. It must be a vehicle for the most profound expression of everything that makes us humans and point to words a more meaningful existence. Jazz has understood how, at various times, to channel and harness protest and revolt in a way that is impossible to silence.

In his book 33 Revolutions per Minute, British journalist Dorian Lynskey traces the history of protest music and identifies Billie Holiday’s unforgettable Strange Fruit as quite possibly the birth of protest in the form of pop music: “[It] was not by any means the first protest song, but it was the first to shoulder an explicit political message into the arena of entertainment.” By throwing the song at a Café Society audience in March 1939, Holiday’s soulful voice left everyone hanging on her every word and made it clear that music had the power to ruffle feathers and bring about change.

In these terms, the guitarist Marc Ribot also argues that all movements that drive social change and resistance have their own soundtrack. And that is why, as a regular collaborator with such fundamental creative figures of our time as Tom Waits and John Zorn, the musician has rolled up his revolutionary sleeves and assembled a songbook he has baptised Songs of Resistance in response to the current turbulent social and political context in the United States. Marc Ribot and his rebellious project are the opening act of the 36th Jazz em Agosto, setting the tone for an event whose theme is resistance and the collective cry for a fairer world.

Joining this cry are Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Burning Ghosts, Nicole Mitchell and Ambrose Akinmusire. But the revolution proclaimed at this Jazz em Agosto also extends beyond its more political dimension in a year when afternoon concerts in Auditorium 2 will once again be added to evenings in the Open-Air Amphitheatre, reminding us just how revolutionary the musical avant-garde of Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey, Théo Ceccaldi, Julien Desprez, Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, Zeena Parkins, Han-earl Park and the Toscano, Pinheiro, Mira and Ferrandini quartet really is.


This is music to make change happen.
Music to ensure nothing stays the same.

Rui Neves
Artistic Director

José Pinto
Deputy Director – Gulbenkian Music