Interview with: Discovia Artists Colectiva

Time to read: 8 minutes

Today we introduce you to COLECTIVA, a unique UK all-female collective exploring the boundaries between the Afro-Latin music and Jazz worlds. Their creative process and song-making are typically done over a series of collaborative sessions where all collective members work together to craft the vibrant sounds the band is known for. Founded as a creative experiment by trombonist Viva Msimang, COLECTIVA makes space for female and non-binary identifying musicians to come together and collaborate in a new dynamic, an alternative to traditional hierarchical structures, free from the Male Gaze.

We cannot wait to dance to their high-spirited rhythms at Discovia, iDiscover Summit 2022!

Describe what you do in your own words? What is unique about the way you do it that makes you stand out?

We are COLECTIVA, a feminist collective who create music exploring the boundaries between Afro-Latin styles and Jazz together. We call it jazz tropicaliente which means hot tropical jazz in Spanish. It’s percussive, experimental, explorative jazz with undeniable Afro-Latinx roots. We came together bit by bit after meeting in other projects, on sessions, at jams, and through mutual friends. I was keen to have found a self-sustaining project with collectivism, feminism, and creative experimentation at its centre. It’s not easy to find female and non-binary musicians versed both in Afro-Latin styles and Jazz, so it feels like a real blessing that the core band has come together so robustly at this moment.

Because of the fluid membership we’ve explored, it’s as if a new constellation of female and nb musicians has been connected, and that has really helped address gender balance issues on the scene – virtually creating a new scene where we are very much leading our own projects and booking each other for gigs without needing to push to do so. We all know so many more female and nb instrumentalists than before the project began, so we can help populate other bands and sessions with our sisters!

What inspired you to go and do it? How did it all start?

The inspiration came from the lack of female instrumentalists represented in the Latin jazz scene in London at the time without a free and safe space to develop a different sound. Originally founded as a creative experiment by trombonist Viva Msimang, COLECTIVA makes space for female and non-binary identifying musicians to come together and collaborate in a new dynamic, an alternative to traditional hierarchical structures, free from the Male Gaze.

Describe a moment of huge inspiring breakthrough in your personal-professional evolution.

The reception of the people since our first gig was a key moment for the commitment to what was coming ahead. Last year after luckily having the opportunity to participate in important festivals around the UK, we had the honor to play along Balimaya Project at the Barbican Centre in October -a sold-out show- that definitely inspired us to step up our compositions and shows. We are now almost ready to release our 2nd single and looking ahead to recording our first album by the end of the year.

What is your current Mount Everest? What are you in the process of creating in the world? Your ultimate vision and dream?

The ultimate vision is to create a movement around the world that uplift and empower women’s work in the industry; to have a full team of producers, videographers, sound engineers, stylist, and crew in general that open the doors for new generations, inspiring through their music fresh sounds with liberty and freedom from the traditional hierarchical structures.

What do iDiscover and its community mean to you?

The opportunity to take our music to France definitely is a highlight of this year. We can’t wait to play and enjoy the french & world vibes and find out what awaits us there.

What is your daily/weekly/monthly ritual or performance hack that really works for you?

Meditation is a key ritual for us, to take time to have a break from our busy agendas and get together to share a meal and the simple life things that we usually don’t have much time to do.

Best travel tip or secret location to share with us?

As a band, I think we would all agree that going to SXSW festival this year was an incredible experience. The opportunity to take our music to USA alongside amazing artists and projects from the UK jazz scene was definitely a highlight- and all this thanks to Jazz Refreshed.
The guilty pleasure of the trip: The infinite amount of tacos we ate was not close to being enough – SO GOOD.

What is your favourite quote or a question you want to leave us with?

Our wish is to inspire female and non-binary creatives to believe in themselves and their dreams, get out there and fight to make it happen. We are the change!

Get dazzled by the groundbreaking music of COLECTIVA