Following the outstanding success of the 2017 edition, Gibraltar is proud to be hosting the 2018 BrightMed and Gibraltar World Music Festival (GWMF) from 19th to 21st June. This three-day festival will welcome a diverse international group of musicians, artists and thinkers to the Rock, brought together by a theme as exciting as it is controversial: Borders.
Given the uncertainties raised by the Brexit decision the theme of Borders is of course hugely relevant to the denizens of Gibraltar, being a British overseas territory located at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. Just as it is for an uncertain world at large, where notions of migration are a constant in public discourse; and where Borders – political, physical, digital – may rise or be reinforced by war, politics, bureaucracy and technology.
Dedicated to actions for peace, to bridging souls and lands, this seventh edition of BrightMed and GWMF embraces music, film and visual art, along with workshops and seminars. The inaugural BrightMed Jazz strand features major artists from the UK, among them Orphy Robinson and the Voicestra Polyphonic Collective – a 17-strong group commissioned by GWMF to highlight the legacy and vitality of black British music and the diversity of influences within and on the British Isles. An iconic vibraphonist and multi-instrumentalist, Robinson – this year’s GWMF Artistic Director – has created a unique production that features such respected names as Carleen Anderson, the multi-award- winning American-born soul and jazz singer; and Cleveland Watkiss MBE, a vocalist memorably described by the London Evening Standard as ‘the best jazz singer in Britain’. With them are the best British- based jazz musicians, cherry-picked for the occasion: guitarist Tony Remy. Flautist Rowland Sutherland. Cuba-born violinist Omar Puente, Italian-born percussionist Cosimo Cadore, academy trained harmonica player Philip Achille and many more. From Ireland comes vocalist and composer Christine Tobin, lauded as much for her ability to improvise as for her eleven acclaimed albums, Scottish-born singer Mae McKenna and Welsh-born singer Llio Millward.
The BrightMed Art Exhibition will showcase work by young local artists on the theme of borders, organised in conjunction with Kitchen Studios Association and hosted at Space 92, one of several GWMF venues. A day of jazz workshops and masterclasses will be staged at Ince’s Hall and hosted by Orphy Robinson, Cleveland Watkiss, Mae McKenna, Tony Remy and Rowland Sutherland. More than 250 students have confirmed their attendance. The BrightMed Film Festival will screen four documentaries under the aegis of borders: Stranger in Paradise (2016, Guido Hendrikx), Wallay (2017, Berni Goldblat) and the short films Tête a Tête and Poles Apart, which won a BAFTA for British Short Animation and is set to music by Gibraltarian composer Hollie Buhagiar. Q&A sessions will take place after the screenings. Also at Ince’s Hall, the BrightMed Talks will feature inspirational speakers from around the world, each of them discussing their success and the borders they needed to knock down to achieve it. This year the famous GWMF Street Party will take place on Castle Street – Calle Comedia – one of the most historic streets in the territory, with the stage located at the top of the steps, as was the practice in the 18 th century. The line-up will include bands, choirs and dance academies – and some site-specific surprises. Curated by the organisation Peacebeam and its founder, Jane Murray – a lawyer passionate about using technology to build a world that works for everyone – the BrightMed International Seminar will welcome the Sages of the Med: eminent speakers who will present their take on the impact of new technologies, on our Borders and on our future.
A highlight of the BrightMed and Gibraltar World Music Festival are the concerts in the famed subterranean auditorium that is St. Michael’s Cave, which this year host to multi-cultural roots ensemble Quarter to Africa, whose fusion of Arabic scales, African rhythms and all-stops- out jazz and funk grooves, moves and leaps Borders.