An exquisite musical journey exploring country traditions. Drawing influence from Cuba, Argentina, Morocco, Senegal, Spain, Brazil and Portugal, Babel fuses world music with her own jazz touch - a passionate and moving exploration of world music and its heritage.
Hey Babel thanks for talking to TNC, are you all set for Brighton Fringe?
I do! I’m ready! and everything else that goes with the word “ready” (ha!)
This is also going to be your U.K debut what does it mean for you to be bringing Las manos de mi Madre to Brighton?
It's a big opportunity to connect with an audience in a city full of arts and culture. I can imagine a lot of humans thirsty for art and culture… It is a dream!
Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?
Of course! Nerves are in the artists' luggage
Can you tell me about Las manos de mi Madre, how did the show come about?
It’s a tribute, especially, to my mother (she has a beautiful story of self-improvement), and "The mother", in general, like a source of love, life and roots, and… in this context, and with the humor sense as the best carriage, (or.. I will try). I try to make a thought about love. Love is the main concept in music around the world. But a love song in Kenia or a Latin Bolero can’t talk about love as the jazz standard does. It is not the same musical concept and is not the same social concept, not the same way to understand Love. Love songs talk about this and it is very curious and enlightening to realize.
What was the inspiration behind your show?
We all have something in common. Roots are very important, If we know who we are, we can understand each other. We can learn what love is and what is not. You know, in our occidental culture, we confuse many times love with other things.
What have been the most challenging part about bringing Las manos de mi Madre to life?
Ugf! I'm going to make you a confession: This album was published in 2016. The biggest challenge of my life has been to overcome an illness that separated me from music 3 months after that I published it and it has kept me away for almost 2 years. A challenge that has taught me a few essential things in this life. But I’m thinking… and I hope don’t seem cheeky… Maybe... That is the question of why I’m not worried about my horrible English. And maybe I should be… But I will try to get to the audience with all my effort and, of course, all my love.
Did you have any apprehensions about bringing such a personal show to the festival?
Yes. Getting to feel close to people during the show is absolutely necessary for me. Doing it in a foreign language is not going to be easy, but, I have the firm intuition that it will happen, I do not know why I have great confidence in it and I’m happy. And you know… Fear is opposed to love, it's not hated, it is fear the opposed concept. Love is life. Fear is paralysis. The fear is the worst counsellor and… music is life for me!. Music in front of an audience like the Brighton Fest, an audience as festive as intelligent... it is like a delicious candy.
"To choose the right thing in your internal, and personal vital purpose, you must know who you are."
Have you always had a passion for performing?
Yes, always! Since I was a little little girl. Very young!
What inspires your writing?
I was born in Morocco, And I had a nana named Fatima. She was a pretty 17-year-old girl and she sang me “Ni ni ya momo”. I grew up hearing the Moroccan and Spanish songs, with a bizarre family that loved jazz songs... I'm like a hybrid. Maybe, I’m searching for my roots, but at the same time, I think it’s not important who you are, the really important question is what you do. What are your decisions? Indeed, I think we are what we do, but… To choose the right thing in your internal, and personal vital purpose, you must know who you are. It's a paradox. I love paradoxes.
Do you have a favourite song you like to perform?
Yes! Maybe "Jardin Antiguo". This song was composed by my dear partner and friend in this show, Tino Van der Sman. In this case, I only wrote the lyrics. It was an assignment for a Spanish short film about a little girl growing in Palestina. It is a deep and beautiful lament, o “quejío", as it is said in Flamenco, with an exquisite Spanish guitar melody. I'm not a music critic, but, honestly, this is what I feel about this song composed by my partner. I admire him. You Know! Take note, baby! (ha!): Tino Van der Sman.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
Wow! Big question!. mmmm… My grandmother always said: “Lo que es: es y lo que no es: no es” ('what it is, is, and what it is not, it is not'). With this simple sentence, I take the reins of my life. She also taught me: life is a carriage and you hold the reins. My grandmother died almost 102 years old. She just said goodbye and she left, quietly and smiling. It’s not a film, it’s really true, for me, a lovely true.
What 3 words best describe your show?
Uffff! Brainy! mmmmm… Love, Life, Roots?
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Las manos de mi Madre?
Love, Life, Roots.