BASIS presents: The Open Stages
The fact that the South Tyrolean (and especially the Vinschgau valley’s) music scene has some hidden treasures to offer is widely known, but there are always efforts to further promote networking and exchange among each other. Since the beginning of October, a series of ambitious projects on this very topic has been taking place on our (initially small) stage. Musicians from near and far meet informally in our BASIS-Salotto (and soon other places as well, more on that in a moment) to promote the strengthening and expansion of a local community of musicians in the Vinschgau valley and South Tyrol, to show their skills and improve them in mutual exchange and to learn from each other, and of course to have a lot of fun with music and playing together. The vision behind this is music without borders; national and regional, linguistic, but also personal borders that we set ourselves. There should be no borders within the music either; everybody is welcome, every instrument, every style of music, whether digital, analogue or somewhere in between. Music is cultivated and strengthened from (and in) the middle of the community, always promoting togetherness. As mentioned, Wednesday evenings at BASIS-Salotto, next time on 01.11.23 and on 15.11.23 from 8:00 pm; but the Open Stages are now also going on a big trip through the valley! 08.11.23 at Jack&King, 22.11.23 at Bar Loki and 29.11.23 at the FinKa.
Jack of all stages
So much for the Open Stages themselves. But who is the man who brought them to life and actively oversees the project? Regular visitors of BASIS have certainly already noticed him. A young man of medium stature and dark complexion, his thick beard, worthy of an ancient Greek philosopher, always parted by a broad grin. Depending on the day of the week and the time of day, either concentrating on his laptop, laughing out loud as he discusses abstruse and interesting theories with community members, or quietly humming while stirring gallons of hummus in the communal kitchen. This is Dolev Nahoom Sanbira, the latest addition to the BASIS team. And those who don’t see him will hear him, either expressing approval with (already perfectly locally coloured) „Jo, genau!“, sighing about the fundamental discrepancy between enjoyment of delicious Speck and religious dietary requirements, or punctuating the musical invitation to the community lunch with cheerful piano tinkling.
But his talents lie not only in the social enrichment of our structure, for he also has quite a bit of musical experience to show. Dolev is a 28-year-old Portuguese citizen who until recently lived and worked in Israel, alongside being an active musician in the local scene and performing all over the country. His main focus is on organising events, artist residencies, music productions and other initiatives to develop and accompany music communities. These days, he particularly seeks to cross creative boundaries by blending mainstream and art genres and collaborating with like-minded artists.
In 2015, he began his music studies at the Rimon School of Music’s Jazz Institute, where he studied until 2017, then transferred to Berklee College of Music, graduating with honours in 2018. He eventually completed a Bachelor of Education in Music at Washington Hill College of Education from 2018 to 2021. As a musician, he has worked on various projects including Sanbira, a new project where he composed, arranged and produced three singles in 2022. In the same year, he arranged and produced six singles by selected singers for the Kivunim label and created a remix for the Israeli band American Igal in 2019. In 2020 he composed a piece for a sound installation played through seven speakers hanging in a stairwell. He also played and assisted in the production of the album „Awantot“ by Awa Du È.
Throughout his career, he has received several awards and highly funded grants, including Berklee’s Bill Pierce Award for outstanding musicianship in 2018, a composition grant for two pieces of music he composed in 2017, and a grant from the Independent Creator Foundation of the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sports to produce a musical event in 2022. He has also organised several events, including the Ba-Bama festival in 2015 and 2016 and the Garage Festival in 2019 and 2021. In 2020, he rented an apartment space that served as a residence for musicians during the Covid 19 pandemic. During this period, two live sessions were recorded and an intimate performance was produced with an audience of about 40. By the way, he financed the room rental entirely himself.
Besides his work as a musician and producer, he also has experience in teaching music. From 2021 to 2023, for example, he taught music theory at the Kivunim Youth Centre to give young musicians the necessary foundations for further education. From 2019, he also taught classical saxophone at the Giva’taim Conservatory, one of the leading music institutions in Israel.
So he definitely knows what he is talking about. He will now be in South Tyrol for (probably) four months, bringing his experience in all kinds of music-related ventures, event organisation, music production and community development wherever he can. He was able to put his skills to the test just one week after his arrival in the valley, together with the Bürgerkapelle (citizen band) Schlanders. And his ideas don’t stop there, because after the Open Stages, a series of Tiny Desk Concerts (i.e. acoustic, intimate concerts in a small circle) is already planned, which will also be made available on Youtube and other platforms. Thanks to the great response to these announced events, more are already being planned for December. Stay tuned!
Lastly, we took the liberty of giving him a few personal words instead of the usual conclusion of our articles. He could talk for hours if we let him, but in order not to overstretch the scope of this article, we asked him a few questions, which he gladly answered with his characteristic liveliness:
(NB: Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.)
Dolev Sanbira – Das Exklusiv-Interview:
Hello Dolev, thank you for your time. How are you? You sound a bit hoarse, is that from all the singing?
(laughs) Haha no, I guess from the stress building up to the Open Stages, my voice broke. Not even ten minutes before the first one I lost my voice. It’s getting better again though.
A question that is surely on the minds of many of our readers: How did you come to BASIS? How does a renowned music teacher and musician from the Middle East end up in our Vinschgau valley?
Sometime during last March, I felt a sense of urgency to leave Israel and start anew somewhere. Look, the situation in Israel in general is bad in more than one way. The cost of living is not rational; Tel Aviv is one of the most expensive cities on earth. Israel is in constant war with its neighboring countries, and recently Israel received one of the biggest blows it ever knew. In addition, since the last election, things seem to be taking an even worse turn. So, I was searching for a chance to allow me to relocate my life to Europe. After a few months of sending motivation letters, CVs, portfolios and what not to who knows how many people. I got a few responses back. One of them was Hannes Götsch. We had a good talk, and the rest is history.
The first few Open Stages have already taken place with great success, what is your assessment? Did the number of participants and the variety of instruments and musical styles meet or even exceed your expectations?
Definitely exceeded… You know, I tried my best to get in touch with as many musicians as I could. Even went and played with the Bürgerkapelle Schlanders! But I never had an estimation of how many people might come to our Open Stage. We had such a variety of instruments, we had a trombone player, a trumpet, and even a violin. I mean… it was over the top. Currently our goal is to make it so that everyone in the Vinschgau valley knows about the Open Stages. Hopefully we’ll reach 80 people (musicians and audience) in every session – and it’s looking good.
How do you go about finding participants? The Open Stages are of course open to all, but we also understood that you have contacted many musicians throughout the valley and beyond on your own.
It’s pretty simple: You ask one person to give you all the contacts of musicians they know. Then you ask each of the contacts you received to give you all the contacts of musicians that they know. This way, by the end of the September, I had an excel file filled with over 150 contacts of local musicians. Of course, not everyone will want to take part in our projects, but each of the contacts has its own potential to be of assistance to us later on.
And I bribe people with homemade cookies. That’s an integral part of the concept!
What are the future plans for the Open Stages, and later parts of the project?
In November, our open stages will travel around the valley. Loki, Jack&King and the FinKa are hosting an open stage each, the rest stays at BASIS. As always, Wednesdays at 8 pm. Apart from that, we launched an open call for live sessions in BASIS. We are searching for South Tyrolean bands and singer songwriters who would want to shoot a live session in our venues in Schlanders, Naturns or Mals. We want to showcase our different venues in Vinschgau and actively collaborate with musicians. The live sessions are hitting two birds with one stone – promotion for BASIS and a professionally filmed and recorded live set for the local musicians.
Did you yourself participate in the first Open Stage with your saxophone, or do you see yourself in more of an administrative role for once?
Both… There’s a specific feeling I want to convey in our Open Stages. If I feel that things aren’t going like they should, then in most cases I take the saxophone or the piano and liven it up a bit. If I feel that everything goes alright and the musicians are managing well by themselves, then I take the administrative role. I check in the audience to see if anyone wants to play and coordinate the timing of who goes on the stage so that everyone can have a chance to perform. It’s going pretty well.
Thanks for your answers, and good luck for your future work!
The Open Stages are open to everyone! Those interested in participating (or organising similar Open Stages and projects) are welcome to contact at any time at: +39 342 322 8442 (phone), +97 252 328 2614 (Whatsapp) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By the way: The association BASIS Vinschgau Venosta is always happy to welcome new members, whether interested private individuals, artists, crafts(wo)men or companies. BASIS and its mission thrive on the diverse community that surrounds us, and anyone who wants to get involved in one way or another, even without membership, is always welcome! Come by or let us hear from you at email@example.com!