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Joglaresa in concert – a masterclass review

Canterbury Christ Church students were treated to a spectacular journey back in time, as world renowned group ‘Joglaresa’ delivered a repertoire of medieval and contemporary folk.

Lunchtime Concert

Image taken by William Marsh.

Resplendent in red, Joglaresa takes to the stage after a short but insightful introduction from our Director Of Music, Dr David Allinson – he recounted his very first encounter with Joglaresa, as well as how excited he was for this performance.

Joglaresa’s first number ‘Verbum Bonum/Vinum Bonum’ – which translates as ‘Good word/Good wine’ – featured two part polyphony from the soprano and alto singers, named Belinda Sykes and Angela Hicks. Intensely rhythmic accompaniment was provided by Louise Anna Duggan and Guy Schalom on instruments such as the Riq, the Darbuka, the Dulcimer and the Segat.

The main melodic accompaniment and bass line was provided by May Robertson, who, formally a classically trained violinist, in the concert showed true mastery of the fiddle (a precursor to the western classical violin).

Image taken by William Marsh.

The rest of Joglaresa’s program consists of medieval or folk tunes from countries such as Spain, Morocco, Bosnia and Turkey. Pieces such as ‘Djireneldo. Djireneldo’ amongst others, all have a certain story that they have had for 600 years. Such stories are normally about love or loss, or past memories.

Due to the versatility of this ensemble, every member of Joglaresa plays at least two instruments, something that is exceedingly more common and necessary for a musician to succeed. In this ensemble for example, the two singers also play Bagpipes and Harp, and the Fiddle player also sings. On the whole this concert seemed to have a profound effect on the audience, so much so, that many people purchased copies of the ensemble’s albums after the concert. A resounding success by all accounts.

Image taken by William Marsh.


Organised by the MPA department at Canterbury Christ Church, the masterclass allows students to gain a taste of what working as a professional musician is like. In this masterclass, the members of Joglaresa offered the participating students an insight into their lives as professional and touring musicians. An insight was also offered into the limitations and issues that arise for a professional musician – such as taking time away from their regular jobs which can potentially lose them income.

The second part of the masterclass involved short periods of coaching for two of the university’s foremost choirs, the Chamber choir and Top Voices. The Musical director of Joglaresa, Belinda Sykes, coached the ensembles in the ways of singing contemporary folk and medieval music. These two songs ‘Ave Clari Generis’ and ‘Virgen, Madre Groriosa’, would have originally been written using medieval Numes.

Image taken by William Marsh.

Overall, this masterclass and concert proved to be an eye-opening experience for the students involved, and I would definitely recommend a listen to this ensemble.

Check out Joglaresa here.

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