Global Sounds For Summer And Autumn 2010

BIRMINGHAM, UK: A summer and autumn of performances by internationally renowned artists from across the musical spheres of jazz, folk, world and roots has been announced by leading UK concert venues Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham.

The Grade I listed Town Hall and acoustically acclaimed Symphony Hall will play host to concerts spanning afro-pop, folk-rock, be-bop and much more with a line-up of musicians, singer-songwriters and composers originating from India, Argentina US, Mali, Australia, Italy, Cuba, Spain and the UK amongst others.

Highlights include a performance from the supremely talented sitarist Anoushka Shankar, a rare UK appearance from Malian singer and ‘Golden voice of Africa’ Salif Keita, a concert from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Pulitzer Prize winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and a welcome return to Birmingham by NYC’s finest alt-folk songstress Suzanne Vega.

Paul Keene, Director of Programming and Projects at Town Hall and Symphony Hall:

“There’s an extraordinary range of national and international talent at Town Hall and Symphony Hall this summer. The world comes to play in this global city, and we give it a warm welcome in our two superb venues.”

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In detail


Leading jazz and classical trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra, visits Symphony Hall on 25 June following a landmark London residency at the Barbican Centre earlier in the month.

Just a day later, audiences can revisit the swinging jazz of the 1940s with the UK’s most renowned big band – The Glenn Miller Orchestra – on 26 Jun in Symphony Hall.

Town Hall Associate Artists the BBC Big Band will be joined by singer Anita Wardell and Australian trumpet virtuoso James Morrison on 21 July to recreate the great jazz partnership of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald – classic songs including Sleepy Time Down South, All of Me and Struttin’ with some Barbecue will be recorded for BBC Radio 2’s Big Band Special.

Popular free jazz session Rush Hour Blues will continue to run every Friday evening throughout May, June and July, from 5.30pm to 7.00pm in the Level 3 bar of Symphony Hall, before moving outdoors to the canalside setting of Brindleyplace in August.

Sax and the City offers audiences a chance to relax with three hours of free calypso tinged jazz from Birmingham sax legend Andy Hamilton and his band The Blue Notes, starting at 12.30pm on 29 May and 3 July in the Level 3 bar of Symphony Hall.


Grace & Danger: The Songs of John Martyn will see legend of the folk and jazz worlds Danny Thompson and a stellar cast of artists celebrate the life and work of musical powerhouse John Martyn on Friday 14 May, opening the third annual English Originals contemporary folk weekend at Town Hall & Symphony Hall, which runs until Sunday 16 May.

The line-up for this very special concert includes Beverley Martyn, John’s ex-wife and musical partner throughout the 1960s, Wolverhampton born singer songwriter and Ivor Novello award winner Scott Matthews, pop-folker extraordinaire Eddi Reader, young Kansas City singer Krystle Warren, Mercury Prize winning artist Badly Drawn Boy and star of last year’s Way To Blue concert Beth Orton.

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon performs his acclaimed 2009 album The Spinning Top live with the Acoustic Power Ensemble, including Robyn Hitchcock and Martin Carthy, at Town Hall on 15 May followed by rousing big band Bellowhead and rising folk star Jackie Oates in concert at Town Hall on Sunday 16 May. Free stage sessions from West Midlands artists also feature in the English Originals programme.

New York singer songwriter Suzanne Vega returns to Town Hall on Saturday 19 June following an incredible concert at the venue in 2009. Widely regarded as one of the most brilliant songwriters of her generation, Suzanne helped lead the folk-music revival of the early 1980s with the release of her self-titled, critically acclaimed 1985 debut album.

Folk4Free, a new free weekly session presented in association with nationally acclaimed gig and festival promoters Moseley Folk launches on 12 September, as part of Artsfest, showcasing the best in emerging acoustic talent.

Earlier this month, Jim Moray, the 27 year old brother of Jackie Oates, singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire pre-released his new album exclusively through the June issue of Songlines magazine. He brings his startlingly contemporary take on England’s traditional songs to Town Hall on 28 September.

November at Town Hall heralds four fantastic folk music experiences, starting with an appearance by ‘Streets of London’ writer and folk hero Ralph McTell on 1 November, followed closely by incredible mother-daughter duo of Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy the very next day at the Grade I listed concert hall.

A rescheduled performance from perennial US folk legend Tom Paxton takes place at Town Hall on 14 November and Scotland’s award winning group, Blazin’ Fiddles perform in the same venue on 19 November. Catriona Macdonald, Bruce Macgregor, Allan Henderson and Iain Macfarlane take up their fiddles and will be accompanied by Anna Massie on guitar/fiddle and Andy Thorburn on keyboard.


Anoushka Shankar’s Sudakshini [loosely translated as ‘A Beautiful Journey Southward] tour arrives at at Town Hall on 17 May offering a collection of newly composed ragas interspersed with traditional South Indian music performed by the supremely talented sitarist and daughter of legendary sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.

Cuban pianist and former member of Buena Vista Social Club Roberto Fonseca storms into Birmingham for a concert at the 175 year old Town Hall on Wednesday 2 June. One of the most extraordinary and charismatic musicians to explode out of Havana in recent times, 35 year old Roberto succeeded Ruben Gonzalez as pianist for the world famous Buena Vista Social Club in 2001 and co-produced legendary Cuban vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer’s last album.

A new show by legendary flamenco guitarist, producer Edinburgh International Festival partner Paco Pena, entitled Flamenco Sin Fronteras, visits the majestic surroundings of Town Hall on Wednesday 23 June with four dancers from Paco’s own company, a guest dancer from Venezuela and 12 virtuoso musicians and singers performing live on stage.

Saharan desert bluesmen Tinariwen return to Birmingham this summer, with their incredible Assouf guitar poetry in tow, appearing at Town Hall on Wednesday 28 July. Tinariwen’s latest album Imidiwan was awarded album of 2009 by UNCUT magazine and the Tuareg [nomadic people of North Africa] band have earned two BBC World Music Award nominations, countless accolades and citations, and the attention of high-profile fans such as Robert Plant, Santana, Edge and Thom Yorke to date.

Prior to their July appearance in Birmingham, Tinariwen will perform in the June opening ceremony of the World Cup, to a global audience of 1 billion.

Giant of the flamenco tradition Juan Martin, voted one of the top three guitarists in the world by US magazine Guitar Player, returns to set Town Hall alight on Thursday 14 October with his Flamenco Ensemble – dancers Salvador Moreno ‘El Tigre’ and Raquel de Luna, singer and guitarist Manuel, Paul Fawcus on woodwind instruments and Chris Karan on percussion.

Salif Keita – ‘golden voice of Africa’, direct descendant of Mali’s founding father and hugely prolific afro-pop singer-songwriter brings his inimitable blend of rock, funk and jazz to Town Hall for a very rare performance in the West Midlands on 25 October.

Announced as a headline act at this year’s WOMAD festival, 2009 saw Salif win Best World Album at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique ceremony in 2010 – following the release La Difference, which was recorded between Bamako, Beirut, Paris, and Los Angeles.

Two decades after the Broadway success of Tango Argentino, comes Tango Pasión Sexteto – 12 of Buenos Aires finest Tango dancers, directed by Juan Carlos Zunini, seamlessly choreographed by Hector Zaraspe – former tutor to Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn – and accompanied by the salient sounds of the live six-piece orchestra. Town Hall on 27 October.

A gift to ethnomusicologists and a global broadcast hit following its creation in the early fifties, Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares marry multi-choral folk songs and avante garde dissonant harmonies for an amazing and other-wordly aural experience. Now signed to hip record label 4AD the group perform at Town Hall on 4 November.

Recently launched at the Mother India weekend, Mid-Day Mantra is a new free monthly series of informal sessions in Symphony Hall’s Level 3 Bar featuring Asian artists from the UK and the Indian subcontinent. Artists set to take part in future Mid-day Mantras include Indo-Irish band Milun on 12 June and Soumik Datta on 17 July.


Town Hall presents soulful and gospel-infused folk-blues from Eric Bibb at Town Hall on 27 May to mark the release of his latest album, Booker’s Guitar, inspired by the discovery of a 1930s steel-body guitar that had belonged to Delta blues legend Booker White, an older cousin to B.B. King. Eric recorded the title track in England using White’s guitar, celebrating the connection between early 20th century blues and 21st century music live on stage.

A long awaited performance at Symphony Hall by American country star, producer and actor Kenny Rogers takes place on Sunday 13 June, with the Texan born entertainer, who has delivered memorable songs spanning rock, pop, soul and country, reprising classic hits including Lady, The Gambler, Islands in the Stream, We’ve Got Tonight and Buy Me A Rose.

Now celebrating more than 50 years of music, Kenny is set to release a new album in 2010 with long-time friend Dolly Parton.

Good-time, uptown, low-down bluesman Robert Cray returns to Symphony Hall, Birmingham on Monday 12 July following the release of new album In Time. Cray has won 5 Grammys, has been nominated for 11 more and has collaborated with such luminaries as Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Bonnie Raitt.

Wednesday 10 November will see respected Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel play on the historic stage at Town Hall Birmingham as part of a UK tour. Self taught from the age of 4, the Two-time Grammy nominee and ‘Thumbpicker of the Year’ has performed his unique and captivating finger style guitarmanship for almost five decades, demonstrating a deep passion for country and bluegrass music as well as embracing pop, jazz, blues, gospel, even classical, flamenco and aboriginal styles

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