Three questions for… Roufaida Aboutaleb

On 7 June, your graduation show Nina en Roufie zeggen doei was in Rotown. How was that?

“We said goodbye in a very personal manner, in Rotown. I performed that night with my band Southbound, which consists of only Codarts alumni: Joost Wesseling (drums), Max Abel (bass and producer), Silvan van der Zwaag (guitar) and Joël Dieleman (keyboards). It wasn’t some big showcase for the outside world. Many students use their graduation moment to present an album, for instance, to present themselves to the ‘big, bad world out there’ – as the saying goes here at school. But I have been doing that a lot already over the past few years, so there wasn’t that much pressure on our graduation performance. So Nina, who took care of the other half of the show with her band RAVVEL, and me could say goodbye in our own rhythm, which was very nice.”

How did Southbound come about?

“During my third year at Codarts, I also studied in Copenhagen. That’s where I got the idea for Southbound, because I played with a lot of international musicians. From Copenhagen I wrote a blog to share all my writings with the rest of the world. The first one was called Feathers. At some point I got a message from Andrea Renon, who had read my blog and happened to have made an illustration that day that went very well with my text. That was the beginning of our collaboration. We started exchanging work on a weekly basis. Andrea has studied Dance in Education at Codarts and when I came back we developed our collaboration further. By now, Southbound is a collective: Andrea dances and improvises during the show, and I sing. We also use visual elements by projecting Andrea’s illustrations and images by photographer Eli Dijkers.”

What are your plans after 7 June?

“In the long run, I’d like to make an album with Southbound but first I want to give myself and the collective time to experiment. We now experiment by making singles in various studios and with different producers. The collective is not only about music but also about poetry, dance, illustrations and photography. Therefore it would be great if our debut could have all these elements! Over the past few years I have also been discovering the other side of the industry. I work at Bird, for instance, booking bands for a new programme, called Revolution in B-minor. This comes in handy, because I get to see how this business works. For my thesis I did a network analysis of pop music programming in Rotterdam. I also work as a freelancer for Stichting Eventyr, run by Maurits Hofman and Bas van den Berg. I’m compiling a list for them of cultural organisations in Rotterdam who want to organise activity days for refugees. So I have enough interesting things to do in the foreseeable future!”


Did you miss the show on 7 June, but would you like to see Southbound live? They will be at the Hongerige Wolf Festival, from 22 to 24 July. On 9 July Southbound played at the fringe programme of Courage – a new danceperformance by Conny Janssen Danst.