John Russell 9 Guitarist

I have always organised concerts as a necessary part of my involvement with improvised music and in 1991 I began Mopomoso, enlisting the help of fellow musician Chris Burn. At the time a so called Jazz ‘revival’ , the birth of Post Modernism – ‘History is dead’ – and the prevailing politics – ‘No such thing as society’ – coupled with the re-releasing of music onto CDs made it feel that the vibrant improvised music scene was being completely ignored.

I noticed, from reading architectural reports, that the term ‘Po-Mo’ was being used as a shorthand for Post Modernism so reasoned that Modernism could similarly be shortened to   ‘Mo’. Mopomoso therefore stands for ‘MOdernisn – POst MOdernism – SO what?’ and was coined to indicate dissatisfaction with the perceived way critical debates at the time were more concerned with what went before and a rehashing of that rather than with what was really happening at the time.

From the outset I wanted a musical policy that showed a broad engagement with all aspects of improvised music and worked on a local, regional, national and international basis and gave a platform to newer players alongside more established ones. I also wanted somewhere to play myself!

I am very pleased to say that with the help of some very dedicated and wonderful people, all of whom work on a voluntary basis, we have become the UK’s longest running concert series, providing playing opportunities for hundreds of musicians whose generous support has also been vital to the project.
You can visit the Mopomoso website at

Originally used as a name for a weekly club for improvised music, the first actual Quaqua groups performed in the early 1980’s under the heading ‘Fête Quaqua’ at the now defunct London Musicians’ Collective building in Camden Town. The basic idea then, and behind most Quaqua projects now, is to extend existing collaborations / relationships between musicans in juxtaposition with new ones and thus provide a fertile ground for free improvisation.

This was an extension of the way a number of us had been working at the Little Theatre Club and the London Musicians’ Co-Op concerts at the Unity Theatre from around 1973 onwards, where personnel changed from concert to concert from a pool of musicians with different approaches, who shared a love of free improvisation. ( One notable exception to this modus operandi was the group ‘News from the Shed’ which initially was named ‘Quaqua’ for a UK tour. )

‘Quaquaversality’ means to point in all directions and the name ‘Quaqua’ is Latin for ‘whithersoever’.

Fe?te Quaqua programme cover 1982

Videos of previous Quaqua concerts can be viewed here

Fete Quaqua 2009 Photographer Helen Petts

Fete Quaqua 2009