Our all-female group, Nérija (pronounced ‘Ne-ree-ya’) play Ray’s Jazz at Foyles this evening, Wednesday 25 September @ 6pm-7pm, accompanied by special guest, Zoe Rahman. The gig is entirely £FREE so you have no excuse not to go! Find them at 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB (
Nérija began from a Tomorrow’s Warriors initiative, which premised that many girls often start playing jazz at the same time as their male counterparts, but often do not develop at the same rate. We began separate development sessions for young women with the aim of creating a space for them in which they do not feel intimidated by counterproductive competitiveness, or feel discouraged by perceiving jazz as a uniquely masculine art form. Nérija embodies this initiative.
The band has also begun to embody something more, represented by their choice of name, taken from the Hebrew name ‘Nerijah’, which means ‘lamp (or light) of God’. The focus on the concept of a light with divine power may be the common desire that binds the group beyond the confines of the Warriors:
“It is the search for individual strength in the face of external expectations, a strength which shows itself not in competitiveness, desire for approval, or to prove that women can play well, but in the ability to discover and remain who we are, being honest with ourselves and others when to do so is incredibly hard. Our music is a reflection of this, our friendship, and the continual search for ‘Nérija’”.
Described in The Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, Zoe Rahman has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. A vibrant and highly individual pianist/composer, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste. Known for her powerful technique, wide-ranging imagination and exuberant performance, she has become a highly sought-after musician, working most recently with the likes of George Mraz, Courtney Pine and Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra.
This is going to be a very, very special gig. Be there!