Representing Mexican women through high-quality music and performance really makes me proud.

[cover photograph by Stuart TL]

Mexico’s ‘Woman of the Year’ for arts and culture Migdalia Van Der Hoven is set to perform for a second year in a row at the EFG London Jazz Festival.

The award-winning drummer presents her dynamic quartet ‘The Migdalia Van Der Hoven Quartet’, set to perform a combination of contemporary and original tunes, drawn mainly from the jazz fusion style.

I was keen to have a chat with her prior to her performance, to get an insight into her musical repertoire, her career highlights, and her relationship with Women in Jazz Media…

 How does it feel to be playing at the London Jazz Festival and alongside Women in Jazz Media?

Really honoured and grateful to be part of the festival for 2 consecutive years and to represent female players through women in jazz media, which is an organization that has supported me on so many levels.

 What kind of repertoire can we expect to hear at the festival, from the ‘Migdalia Van Der Hoven Quartet’?

A mixture of original and contemporary tunes as part of our new album Point of Departure recorded live at Abbey Road Studios. Hard swinging originals with a heavy groove in the jazz fusion tradition.

How did you go about selecting the musicians to be part of your quartet? How long have you been playing together?

We have been playing together for almost two years in this quartet, but for longer in other bands. The sax player is my husband, so there was not a lot of a process in choosing him and the rest I’ve known them for years and really trust their playing.

Your list of achievements is incredible to see. What has it been like to tour with SIX The Musical and how does it differ from the events you do within the jazz scene?

Well, it’s a very different dynamic – in musical theatre, everything is written out for you and in jazz, there is the freedom to improvise. It has been quite an adjustment for me going into musical theatre as I must stick to my part as is, but I absolutely love both sides of this in my career.

How would you define your individual musical style?

It is very unique; I feel that coming from Latin America and being exposed to so many different styles has given me lots of versatility to adapt and be sensitive to multiple genres. I am currently playing in orchestral, theatre, jazz, and function settings and even the one-off percussion event, so all of that has provided me with lots of musical vocabulary that I can adapt to different styles.

What has been the highlight (or the multiple highlights) of your musical career to date?

Winning the women of the year for arts and culture in Mexico and being the first Mexican female musician to do what I am doing here in the UK and Europe (West end shows, Top level jazz clubs, Festivals etc.)

Representing Mexican women through high-quality music and performance really makes me proud and has been a highlight.

I can see you do a lot of work with women in jazz-based organizations. What does the work done by organizations such as Women in Jazz Media represent for you?

It inspires more girls to pick up instruments and express themselves through music. It also offers more platforms for more women to perform and be respected. It is all about opportunity and equality in the industry. I do lots of work with ‘HIT LIKE A GIRL CONTEST’, which is a global annual contest.

I am currently their UK ambassador and I try to be a great role model for young female musicians as one of my main motivations are my two daughters (who happen to play the drums too!).

Women in jazz media have been a lifeline for my career and I feel grateful for all their support and for all the change they have brought to the industry.

Which other fellow musicians at the festival are you keen on going to see?

Ron Carter Quartet, The Bad Plus, Diana Reeves, Yolanda Charles, and Fiona Ross.