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A Coffee With Georgia Mancio

Georgia Mancio and Lianne Carroll By Dave Ohm

Georgia Mancio is a regular presence on the UK circuit and sole curator of London's jazz vocal festival 'ReVoice!'; an event held between Soho's 'Pizza Express Jazz Club' and Islington's 'Union Chapel' which brings together a diverse mix of European talent for a weeks showcase in the capital.

I caught up with Georgia for a coffee to talk about the festival, how 2012 went, and what it's like to organise one of the UK's most exciting new jazz events.

So now that the festival has well and truly passed and you've had time for the dust to settle, how do you feel it went?

I think it went incredibly well.  There's always that worry when it's not a new venture anymore (it's in its third year now) that peoples' interest might wane a bit or they'll find something else to focus on but actually I think it's definitely grown from last year. What was really encouraging was that we had a great spread of audiences - good houses every night and really fantastic feedback. Even before the event started the level of media interaction really felt as if we were building towards something special. There really wasn't one disappointing show and the audiences made for an extremely responsive room every night.

What was it like to play alongside all them great musicians?

Wonderful, inspiring, educational and very very intense! Luckily as it's my third year I knew what I was letting myself in for but nonetheless there's a lot to consider in a short amount of time so you have to hit the ground running and be mentally as well as musically focused.   I wear many different hats for ReVoice! - curating and presenting the main artists - but when it comes to performing the opening sets I have to put everything else on hold and give myself and my collaborators a proper platform for our music. 

Favourite person to duet with at Revoice (Georgia opened proceedings with a different collaboration every night)

I think that would be a bit like picking your favourite child! I'll say that the night with Lianne Carroll was very special. It had so many layers of meaning for me.  Musically it was amazing but also Lianne is someone who helped me a lot at the start of my career: having got wind of my singing ability she called me up on stage one night at Ronnie Scotts (where I was waitressing at the time).  Performing together again - with many more years' experience under my belt - and then presenting her in a night dedicated to her artistry was something I will always treasure.

Your personal favourite gig of the schedule?

I'll cheat here and give you some of my highlights! Jhelisa Anderson and Robert Mitchell at the Pizza Express were utterly mesmerising.  Jhelisa's stage craft is phenomenal even aside from her stunning voice.  Mycale (the acapella group formed by John Zorn) were so much more than I expected and communicated very complex music with such ease and warmth.  Raul Midon (at the Union Chapel) was jaw-droppingly good and I loved how he explained his talent: 'This isn't being a genius, this is hard work'.  Tuck & Patti on the last night were particularly emotional: witnessing people still genuinely making music so fresh and heartfelt after 34 years together is a truly inspiring.

Where do you hope to get with Revoice / what do you hope to get out of it

ReVoice! is still young so has room to grow - I'm on a steep learning curve each year and have been very lucky to have had the support of Ross Dines at the Pizza Express Jazz Club from the start.  This year we also had the respected promoters, ESIP, on board and I'm definitely looking for more funding/sponsorship for the future.  Eventually I'd love to take it around the UK and into Europe and definitely expand my own pool of collaborators to include not solely London based artists.  As for what I hope to get out of ReVoice! this remains  fundamentally the same: to showcase great artists - whether known or unknown; vocalists or musicians; headlining or supporting.  It's about creating opportunities, forging bonds, presenting an event with integrity, authenticity and a personal touch and above all it's about creative development.


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