Khalab and Jazz:Re:Found, a live session with African rhythms

Khalab and Jazz:Re:Found, a live session with African rhythms

Collater.al Contributors · 2 months ago · Music

This summer we told you about Place To Be, the project signed by IMF (Italian Music Festivals) and promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to support Italian creative and cultural enterprises following the health emergency. 

One of the stages of this project was hosted by Jazz:Re:Founda boutique festival born in Vercelli and member of the IMF network – which decided to continue along this path also thanks to the collaboration with Ford.

The format includes 3 Italian artists performing in as many live shows that can be seen both on Jazz:Re:Found Facebook page and YouTube channel. The music, the undisputed protagonist, has been framed by three locations that represent all the beauty of the Italian landscape.

The first two events saw as guests Venerus who performed on the Pontile Bestoso in Alassio, between the blue of the sea and the blue of the sky, and Ze in the Clouds who played surrounded by the magic of Orta San Giulio, where the mountains plunge into the lake.

Tomorrow, Monday 23 November, will be the moment of the third and final performance with Raffaele Costantino aka Khalab. His stage name tells a lot about him and condenses the two elements that best represent him, his Calabrian origins and his sounds inspired by African rhythms.

This time, the background to Khalab’s music will be the Forte di Fenestrelle, the largest fortress in Europe and a true masterpiece of military architecture dating back to the 18th century. The peculiarity of this structure developed in three fortified complexes is represented by the path that connects them. The wall of Forte di Fenestrelle, with its 3 kilometers, is second only to the Great Wall of China, is distributed over 650 meters of difference in height and inside it runs the longest covered staircase in Europe.

This is an appointment not to be missed and to prepare ourselves in the best possible way we at Collater.al had a chat with Khalab. Don’t miss our interview below and his live show tomorrow on Facebook and YouTube!

Let me start by asking what the Jazz:Re:Found Festival is for you and what does it represent?

Jazz:Re:Found means a lot to me. It represents a community experience that starts from a central idea that is that of the artistic director Denis Longhi, who has managed to create a beautiful community, a beautiful atmosphere and for some years now has involved me personally in the whole project, in which I felt perfectly comfortable. A festival that has now become the first real point of reference in Italy if you are a fan of this kind of sound, that is a cross between black, African, Afro-American music. I’m very happy about the approach, for the team, but in general for the festival, because I see myself there a lot and it gave me the opportunity to experience a lot of things.

Are there any particular connections between Dj Khalab’s music and the festival? Can we say that your music, your mystical sounds are reflected in the festival?

Yes, without a doubt. The festival is set on research and development in the Afrocentric field of course because it is a festival that deals with rhythm, jazz, soul, black music.
As far as I am concerned, my research has been focused on the past, I have gone a bit back in time towards primordial Africa collaborating with many African musicians, but also with many second or third generation English black musicians such as Moses Boyd, Tamar Osborn, who are the musicians of the new jazz, people who represent the field, the aesthetic to which Jazz:Re:Found is addressed.

In your performance tomorrow there won’t be an audience watching you live clearly, how do you live this? I think that today those who are on the side of the console have the arduous task of entertaining those behind a computer, do you feel even more pressure?

But yes, let’s say that it might sound snobbish what I say but I’ve never really been interested in entertaining people. On the contrary, I’m very interested in getting their attention, in provoking strong, complex and contrasting reactions in them, even distressing reactions, that’s what I think art should do. I try to pose myself as an artist, pass the word, rather than as an entertainer. I also like to entertain people, but what I like to do in front of a screen, as in the case of this festival, is more the idea of making people see and listen to what the traditional media don’t make you see and listen. It is precisely our mission, of us who deal with counterculture and subculture: to give people valid alternatives so that they don’t get caught up in the traditional media offer which, especially in Italy, is very dangerous, because it risks flattening our brain, our sensations, our thirst for deeper insight.

Tell us a little more about your background? How did Raffaele Costantino turn into Dj Khalab?

Actually in my “first life from 20 to 30 years” I was always working in music between clubs, festivals and radio. Then together with some friends, I started a cultural association called “Afrodisia”, where we used to bring our music to clubs once a month, the one we were passionate about, mixing and remixing African music in real-time with electronic drums, samplers, vinyl and mixers. As time went by, the project started to catch on more and more, also having big budgets to host big international artists. So I realized that I could no longer trivially present myself as “Raffaele Costantino” in that dimension because my name was overexposed.

So I began to announce myself as Khalab, to climb into the console covered with cloths, big hats, masks so that I would never be recognized. From there I decided to lock myself in the studio and put into practice the ideas I was developing during the live evenings.

Does Khalab have a precise meaning for you? Is it a kind of alter ego or is it just a nuance of your person that translates what he hears and feels into music?

Yes, it is my alter ego, or rather it is the alter ego that allows me to breathe. Because for what I do and for the thousands of commitments I have, at the beginning I forgot to breathe, I was always in a state of breathlessness. Then when I lock myself in the studio I no longer feel that anxiety that closes my stomach, but I can breathe.
The name Khalab, on the other hand, is a cross between my sounds, which, as we have already said, focuses on African rhythms and the region where I was born, Calabria. This aspiration in the way my stage name is pronounced reminds me that I have to breathe and make music helps me a lot in this sense. I have had some difficult periods due to frantic working hours in which I started to have serious problems with the anxiety that I have solved thanks to this, that is to say, the closure inside a studio, making music and not thinking about anything else.

From your words, one can understand how Khalab is your alter ego, but does he seem to represent the brazenness part of you?

Yes, yes, absolutely! It’s absolutely true! I’ll give you an example: during a festival I had some problems with the soundcheck on stage, there were problems with the monitors, voices on headphones and so on. So I went to talk to the technicians, but we couldn’t solve the problem and in a snobbish way, they blamed me. In the middle of this little argument while I was playing, with people under the stage, I grabbed the sampler and threw it up in the air, then I picked it up again and kept banging it on the mixer (laughs). I only do these crazy things here when I “dress up” as Khalab. Even one morning I had to go to Germany to play for a big festival. But as soon as I woke up my desire to participate was zero, so I allowed myself the luxury of standing up. But the strange thing is that the next day they wrote to me to ask me for a bill. It was such a big festival that they didn’t realize I was missing. But here it is, I would never give such a hole if it had been a work engagement of “Raffaele Costantino”.

Returning to the festival, you will play on 23 November in the suggestive setting of Forte di Fenestrelle, a unique place. How are you preparing for this date and what kind of DJ set will you bring?

It will be a truly cathartic moment. First of all, Forte di Fenestrelle is a crazy place, a real wall on a mountain. A place with a very dark atmosphere, which in my opinion lends itself perfectly to my music. And then it is very high up in the mountains but you can see the sea, a bit like the place where I was born, I am originally from Sila in Calabria and we are suspended between the mountains and the sea. What I will do will be what I always do, as in all the live shows I usually improvise and try to create a remix or synthesized version of what “happens” in my records. I really like that during live sessions people listen to something different because at the end of the day you can listen to the record at home.

Then yes, there will be some samples, some things that in general will be recognized, but I hope that those places and those mountains inspire me the best.

What will happen in the near future, do you have any projects in the pipeline? Does your cheeky alter ego have other surprises in store?

Now I’m focused on two projects, one is the continuation of my latest album “Black noise”, an album in which there are a lot of collaborations, with various artists from the UK and American jazz scene, but the period we’re going through now doesn’t allow us to meet. So at the moment, I am proceeding very calmly. Then it’s coming out, hopefully between March and April, my last effort which I recorded three years ago on the border between Mali and Mauritania with local musicians. This will be my next project.

Article by Giulia Guido and Emanuele D’Angelo

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Souvenir d’un Futur, the photographic project by Laurent Kronental

Souvenir d’un Futur, the photographic project by Laurent Kronental

Giulia Guido · 10 hours ago · Photography

It was the ’50s when in order to address the housing crisis, the arrival in large urban centers of foreign immigrants and not only and respond to new needs for comfort, the so-called “Grands Ensembles” were born around Paris. These are large housing centers characterized by a modernist design that from their construction to date have gone through several phases.

At the beginning, their monumentality brought with it a dream, a symbol of recovery from the war and an unstoppable modernization. Over time, however, all the flaws of these places became evident – the distance from the city centers, the few connections, the lack of places dedicated to public life – and gradually they became semi-fatiguing places, evidence of a future that never happened.

Laurent Kronental
Lucien, 84, Les Espaces d’Abraxas, Noisy-le-Grand, 2014

A few years ago, French photographer Laurent Kronental was, to say the least, fascinated by the “Grands Ensembles” around Paris, so much so that he dedicated an entire project to them. “Souvenir d’un Futur” is the result of 4 years of exploration among these living centers, from “Les Damiers” in Courbevoie to “Les Tours Aillaud” in Nanterre, from the PavéNeuf and the Espaced’Abraxas in Noisy-le-Grand to the Cité Curial-Cambrai in the 19th arrondissement.

But the melancholy title reveals something else.

Laurent Kronental
Le Pavé Neuf, Noisy-le-Grand, 2015

In fact, the lens of his 4×5 camera, in addition to capturing the forms of the architecture, also focuses on the faces of those who live there and who, like them, have in a certain sense been abandoned: the elderly.

The link between environment and man could not be stronger and clearer: the buildings that once represented the future are now living a period of degradation, forgotten by society and, sometimes, waiting to be demolished to make room for something new. With bitterness in our mouths, we can only admit that this is exactly what happens to most elderly people, forced to live in a society that is increasingly focused on young people and that often leaves behind, forgets its oldest representatives.

In “Souvenir d’un Futur” this feeling of abandonment and oblivion is underlined by several technical and stylistic choices: Laurent Kronental decided to shoot early in the morning, with empty streets and no people around to give a greater feeling of desolation; he used a 4×5 camera that gave him the possibility to use the tilt-shift technique, perfect for photographing buildings and capturing all the monumentality of architecture; he deliberately excluded young people – although they too live in the “Grands Ensembles” – to leave room for the real protagonists of these places.

Laurent Kronental
Joseph, 88, Les Espaces d’Abraxas, Noisy-le-Grand, 2014

And so, through the shots of Laurent Kronental we follow the signs of time on the facades of these evanescent buildings, but also on the faces of the people, in their gazes, sad and proud at the same time, also symbols of a generation that was young and perhaps continues to be so.

Follow Laurent Kronental on Instagram and go to his website.

Laurent Kronental
Les Tours Aillaud, Cité Pablo Picasso, Nanterre, 2014
Laurent Kronental
Les Orgues de Flandre, 19e arrondissement Paris, 2014
Laurent Kronental
José, 89, Les Damiers, Courbevoie, 2012
Laurent Kronental
Alain, 80, Les Damiers, Courbevoie, 2013
Laurent Kronental
Denise, 81, Cité du Parc et cité Maurice-Thorez, Ivry-sur-Seine, 2015
Laurent Kronental
Jacques, 82, Le Viaduc et les Arcades du Lac, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, 2015
Souvenir d’un Futur, the photographic project by Laurent Kronental
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Jeux de Peau, Henrik Purienne’s latest project

Jeux de Peau, Henrik Purienne’s latest project

Collater.al Contributors · 8 hours ago · Photography

Henrik Purienne is a documentary photographer from a small town in South Africa. After moving to Cape Town, he discovers Kloofhill, a complex of apartments with which he falls in love and quickly becomes obsessed with it thanks to the furniture that stimulates harmony and a connection between his mind and the surrounding environment. Purienne suffers from a disease called AIS or Aesthetic Irritability Syndrome that requires him to meticulously treat his relationship between the order of space and the mental order. For this reason, he needs to be in stimulating environments to be able to perform at best.

Jeux de Peau is his latest book, published on November 9th by the IDEA publishing house.
The entire project was produced inside the house where he currently lives in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. This environment was able to provide him with the right inspiration to take shots that deal with a theme very dear to him: the power that design has, how it can transform our life experience and how photography is able to capture exemplary moments especially not only from a concrete/material point of view but also from a metaphorical/spiritual one.
The idea behind all his work has its roots in the complex of Kloofhill who helped him to develop the part of his creativity. This is an environment that Purienne defines as “defined” but that at the same time manages to convey a sense of freedom thanks to natural phenomena such as the sunlight that filters through the trees on the inner walls and the clouds of light that on sunny days almost go to rest on the mountains.
What emerges from his shots in the book is his ability to capture life, subjects, and objects within his environment and inner space – understood as a metaphor. In addition, thanks to his photographs he is able to document real things that enhance the power of art and the intangibility of emotions.

According to Henrik Purienne, the magic of design and photography lies in the strong ability to give a state of mind a more introspective and reflective nuance until it is internalized and made its own, as if it were a sort of philosophical thought.
Jeux de Peau is subtitled ‘Physical space as mental space‘. The book comes in a specially made cardboard box and can be purchased online.

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Text by Anna Cardaci

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The conceptual self-portraits of Nassia Stouraiti

The conceptual self-portraits of Nassia Stouraiti

Collater.al Contributors · 5 hours ago · Photography

Make-up, creativity, a conceptual view of things and a unique personal style, these are the four key ingredients in the self-portraits of Nassia Stouraiti, a young, self-taught photographer from Greece. 

Nassia is 22 years old, she studied law and communication at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and has always been passionate about photography. In her shots she is the protagonist of the scene, using herself as a blank canvas, immortalising her face like a painting and enriching it with different make-up and colours.

Her aesthetic vision of the world takes inspiration from cinema and from great European directors such as Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Pedro Almodóvar and Paolo Sorrentino.
Although she works and experiments extensively with photography, Nassia Stouraiti dreams of working with the seventh art. So, just like these great directors, she too, in her own way, seems to want to dig deep into her inner self and analyse existential concepts with photography. Her shots carry a profound message about identification, the image of women, the relationship with others, dreams and reality.

After all, her art is conceptual and should therefore be looked at, appreciated and interpreted personally.

– Read also: The Victorian self-portraits of Iness Rychlik

See a selection of her shots here, follow her on Instagram and visit her personal website.

Words by Federica Cimorelli

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Soft Tissue, an unexpected female sensuality

Soft Tissue, an unexpected female sensuality

Giulia Pacciardi · 13 hours ago · Photography

Soft Tissue, a project born from the collaboration between photographer Prue Stent and artist Honey Long, explores female sensuality through the eyes of those who ignore stereotypes.

In fact, always fascinated by the meaning of gender identity, the creative duo wanted to focus the lens on body portions generally not considered sensual.
Skin, hair, veins and defects become the protagonists of shot between the grotesque and the dreamlike.

Everything is focused on the detail that disturbs, on textures and details that almost resemble the beauty of unexplored landscapes.

The aim of the project is to encourage the viewer not to become a slave of a single point of view, rather than to create their own associating different ideas with shapes that have now become descriptive.

Soft Tissue, an unexpected female sensuality
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