(4 August, 2017)
Mediterraneo is a concert series hosted by Nothing Ever Happens Here, a live music night based in Summerhall’s Dissection Room. The Summerhall complex boasts several beautiful spaces for everything from drinks and dancing to art and live theatre, and the Dissection Room is no exception. It’s an intimate venue and sparsely decorated, which means your attention is directed at the most interesting thing in the room: the stage. Last night the space above the stage was decked out with an amazing set of lights that were almost sculptural—way more fun than the usual floor-mounted spotlights, and gave the whole show a funky, colorful vibe that really shouted SUMMER!
The lineup featured Rise Kagona (of Bhundu Boys fame) and his Jit Jive band, Italian musical collective The Badwills, and ‘psychegaelic’ ceilidh band AWRY. So while the evening wasn’t as strictly Mediterranean as might have been expected, it was undeniably lively and eclectic enough to keep the attention of a crowd fizzing for the start of the festival season.
The highlight of the evening for me was the Badwills, who stole the show with their aggressive, tambourine-powered beats and virtuosic vocals by frontpeople Elena Zini and Simone Caffari. The tarantella—one of the folk traditions influencing the Badwills—began its history as a southern Italian healing ritual, and indeed the infectious enthusiasm of the musicians and spontaneous dancing of the crowd at times felt like a kind of ancient ritual.
Both the quality of the music and the energy of the crowd at this event bode extremely well for the near future of Mediterraneo and NEHH. It was the first Fringe event I’ve been to this year, and the perfect way to kick off the Edinburgh summer—as rainy and un-Mediterranean as it might be.