60 second interview with: Babelfish

Each week we will be posting exclusive 60 second interviews with our 2018 Festival bands and artists. This week we are in conversation with Babelfish, to find out when Babelfish are playing mjf 2018 click here. 

Name: Brigitte Beraha
Name of the Band (if you’re in a band): Babelfish
Where are you/the band from?
I was born in Italy and raised in the South of France. My dad is Turkish and my mum half Turkish half English, they are both originally from Istanbul. I moved to London which is where I met Barry, Chris and Paul. We are all based in London.
How did you get into music?

My dad used to be the pianist of a famous Turkish pop star in the 60s. Growing up we had a piano at home that my dad played once in a while, whilst singing pop and ‘variety’ songs with his raucous voice. When he wasn’t playing I always loved to be on that piano trying to play and sing myself, until I eventually had a proper piano teacher who taught me my favourite classical pieces.

*Why did you form the band?
Barry Green and myself had already been playing together for some time but wanted to form a band where we would play music that we loved, regardless of where it came from, as well as a good vehicle to write our own music. A band where we could be playful, and play free, wacky and beautiful music. We both knew that Chris Laurence and Paul Clarvis would be the perfect musicians to make this happen, and when we found out they were happy and excited
to be on board we knew this would be special.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of being a musician?
Getting to play so much great music with amazing people and musicians as well as seeing my own music being brought to life. It’s also a great joy when I see that people who come to the gigs are moved by the music; to be able to bring a little bit of happiness
through music is an amazing thing.

What is the least enjoyable part of being a musician?
The hectic hours and not having much of a routine. But that can also be very welcome at times!

Who is your favourite band or artist?
There are many favourite artists but springing to mind just now Theo Bleckmann who is  incredible; Ches Smith’s trio with Matt Maneri and Craig Taborn are a band I am currently obsessed with; and in the UK I will always try to catch The Printmakers, Matthew Bourne or Lauren Kinsella.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m afraid it’s probably something like: ’You’re mumbling, can’t hear what you’re saying’,  by a peer musician. Couldn’t be anything less profound! Yet, a simple statement like this to help me realise how detail and conviction are everything, and will help in the delivery of the things that really matter.

What does it mean to you to play at manchester jazz festival?
This is one of my favourite jazz festivals, as the programme is always really exciting and varied; it’s also one of the first jazz festival I’ve ever played and I’ve been coming back regularly as part of different ensembles. It’s always been so much fun to play here, so it’s brilliant to be back this year with Babelfish- we haven’t played here before and we are really looking forward to it!

What advice would you give to the new generation of musicians that
would like to follow in your steps?
To be honest with their music and proactive so that their music can be heard.

What has been the most notable highlight of your career so far?
Hard to pick one, but one I know I will never forget was playing the ‘Sweet Time Suite’ with Kenny Wheeler.

Other than yourself, who are you looking forward to seeing at mjf 2018?
I sadly won’t be able to stay for the rest of the festival, but there is so much that I’d love to see from your varied and exciting programme including ‘Under The Surface’, Kim Trio, Cinder, Megan Branwen, Yazz Ahmed and Winstone/Gesing/Venier.

For the full Festival Programme click here.