Thanks to Jazz Conservatory Codarts, the many jazz venues and festivals in the city and new “creative spots” being developed, there is no doubt a Rotterdam scene. But whether that is, strictly speaking, a jazz scene, remains a difficult question to answer. And whether we can actually speak of a typical Rotterdam sound, is not more certain. Looking at the diversity of styles, genres, inspirations and (cultural) backgrounds that influence the music made in Rotterdam in the field of jazz, categorizing it or even summarizing it in one sentence, is likely not to do it justice. Yet we dare to state that living and working in Rotterdam has an impact on creative minds. This city inspires like no other. But how?

Rotterdam’s musicians are the only ones who can try to answer that question. We follow a number of them in the run-up to their performances at Festival Jazz International Rotterdam: violinist Yannick Hiwat, pianist Alexander van Popta, singer Shirma Rouse, guitarist / producer Niels Nieuborg, and trombone player Efe Erdem.


“There are at least 20,000 Cape Verdeans living in Rotterdam. And a large number of them are musicians. Music is a very important aspect of Cape Verdean culture. It’s almost unthinkable that you do not do anything with it” says Rotterdam multi-instrumentalist Arp Frique.

In his bustling hometown, Arp Frique kept coming into contact with music from Cape Verde, and was also inspired by music from Suriname, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica and Brazil. He brought together a group of musicians with roots in all corners of the globe and that’s how his musical Family was born. With “Funk in various colors” and a preference for analogue retro sounds, an Arp Frique & Family performance always guarantees a steaming Rotterdam experience. We couldn’t have wished for a better festival closing on Saturday 26 October!