Jam Tart Open Mic Night

Photograph by Matthew Softley

Photograph by Matthew Softley

On a rainy Thursday night, what could be more appealing than to kick back in a South-American style venue to enjoy quality live music all night long and for free?

Floripa on Great Eastern Street boasts a quirky Latino vibe, bringing a little bit of Brazil to the block. The décor is an eccentric mix of carnival chic, with odd bits of furniture hanging from the walls and an excess of plants growing up to the high ceiling. At the bar you’ll find not only your classic mojitos and caipirinhas, but a variety of intricate Brazilian-themed cocktails with exotic names and zesty flavours.

On the first and third Thursday of every month Floripa plays host to Jam Tart, an open mic night which in recent years has garnered a reputation amongst musical circles to be one of the best jam nights in London. Entry is open to everyone, but these jam sessions are really aimed towards musicians of a certain calibre. As the rules state: “If you want to perform, you gotta be good – simple as that! Just ‘cause yer nan’s into what you do, doesn’t necessarily mean we will want you on stage.”

From bluesy folk to soulful jazz, throughout the night you’re likely to hear variations on old classics and funky interpretations of well-known songs, along with an array of other genres. B4 The Jam, a new addition to the evening, invites up and coming acts to take the stage at the beginning of the night, to warm up the atmosphere before the jam kicks off. The jam session itself sees a constant flow of new performers taking the stage, along with regulars who attend religiously. Singers are called up from a list to perform alongside the well-established musicians that make up Jam Tart’s house band. In addition to this, you get a number of people who simply turn up with instruments, walk through the door and get straight up on stage to join the band. Each musician is briefly introduced by the evening’s host, as they are welcomed onto the stage. Frequent artists include not only Jerome Harper of Brassroots and Jay Phelps, one of London’s top trumpet players, but also a contingent of members from Urban Voices and the London Gospel Choir.

Created by Steven Tart and Daniel Benzenou, Jam Tart was first launched in 2009, in Floripa’s former guise of Favela Chic, and is one of London’s longest running open mic nights. “We think it’s fundamental to give people, particularly young talents from around London, a platform on which to perform for free,” states Daniel, “and this is what our event does, it gives artists a space where they can express themselves, make mistakes and breakthroughs in front of an audience, and the chance to grow and play with the backing of some of Britain’s best session musicians.”

To find out more about Jam Tart: http://www.facebook.com/jamtartopenmic

This article can also be found on Made in Shoreditch.

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