Roufaida Aboutaleb

Roufaida is a musician, as well as a booker and agent at Codarts, University of the Arts, Rotterdam, the institute where they train artists in the fields of music, dance and circus. MOMO and Codarts will be collaborating for the first time this year. We asked Roufaida about her favourite spots in the city. Her home base is the ever bustling Westside of Rotterdam. 

Overall favorite: BIRD
This has to be one of my favourite hangouts. I used to work here so it’s also a bit like family. It’s great because all sorts of people come here to hang out, the food’s brilliant, you can dance here and it’s also a wonderful live music venue.

Coffee: La Zia Maria
Around where I live you can find loads of hipster places. Which is great, but I’d rather go to my Italian neighbour: a proper Italian delicatessen where you can drink your espresso while standing at the counter. It isn’t fancy or really busy, but it’s as if you’re actually in Italy.

Nightlife: From pubs to Roodkapje, WORM and Stalles.
I recently visited Bonaparte for the first time. It’s this small bar where everybody’s welcome and there is just a really nice atmosphere. Here you’ll find extravagant drags, students, writers, just all sorts of interesting people.

Shops: De Slegte for secondhand books and Demonfuzz Records for vinyl.

Rotterdam is
Rotterdam is too complex to sum up in a couple of cliché’s.

Do you find inspiration in the city?
Yes, especially through the people and the energy coming from the streets. But the fact that Rotterdam has so many different nationalities living side by side, that’s what inspires me most. I can especially feel it when I walk through the corridors of Codarts. The dance studio’s, the rehearsal spaces and the big circushall at Katendrecht, they bring people from all over the world together.

Which places would you like to know more about?
Rotterdam South has so much to offer, but I’m seldom there. I would also like to drive around the port more. I used to have friends who lived there and in the summertime we would rehearse there, in between the containers. Except for a honking lorry every once in a while, there wasn’t a human being who heard or saw us. Unfortunately the building has been torn down now.

Ultimate tip:
Walk through the city, instead of taking the tram, bike or metro. If you slow down a little and stand still more often and actually take the time to look around you, you can really see the beauty – and ugliness – of Rotterdam.

Where can we find you during MOMO?
Last year I really enjoyed the projects at the Groothandelsgebouw. This year I will definitely check out Nilüfer Yanya and Rimon. And I would recommend the guided tours, a unique way to visit places in the city, with a guide, you normally wouldn’t even look at let alone visit.

Door Rotterdamse Ogen