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contemporary

Clare O'Connell

Clare O'Connell

Cellist Clare O'Connell is passionate about and specialises in playing chamber music. She is a founder member of acclaimed contemporary chamber ensemble CHROMA, and collaborates with The Storytellers Ensemble, The Harborough Collective, Lontano, Aurora, Marais Ensemble and Propellor Ensemble.

She set up and curates CHROMA’s series of chamber music concerts in Berkhamsted, experimenting with varying instrumental line-ups, and interweaving music, poetry, and storytelling to add another dimension to the concert going experience, and for which she has commissioned new works from Leonardo Margutti and Luke Bedford as well as a piece of music and words from Patrick Sherwen and Dominic Shovelton. 

She programmed and produced CHROMA’s first own label album ‘Folk Tales’, conceived and recorded with CHROMA artists David Le Page and Ian Watson and has recently started working on an album of new material with  David Le Page.

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Piers Faccini

Piers Faccini

Crossing and blurring musical boundaries is an art form for Piers Faccini. Treading the frontiers which delineate one country from another, Faccini finds his inspiration in the cultural ambiguity of borderlands. If his songs were maps, they’d stretch from the English moors to the Saharan dunes via the plains of the Mediterranean.

Over seven acclaimed albums, Faccini has toured his music worldwide, recording and collaborating with numerous musicians and singers including Ballake Sissoko, Vincent Segal, Ben Harper, Rokia Traore, Patrick Watson and Ibrahim Maalouf amongst others.

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Cosmo Sheldrake

Cosmo Sheldrake

Multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer Cosmo performs on banjo, loop station, keyboards, double bass, drums, penny whistle, sousaphone, accordion and many more. He is an inspirational singer and improviser, and much of his work is concerned with play, nonsense and the sonorous environment.

“He perceives the daily world around him… definitely with a child-like curiosity and wonder but also with a fair measure of genius.” – The Guardian

Cosmo composes music for film and theatre and tours internationally, performing solo and with several bands including Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit and the Gentle Mystics. He ran a community choir until 2013, teaches in schools and privately and has facilitated music workshops and youth empowerment and nature awareness camps across Europe and North America.

He performed at a TEDx event in 2013 and spent time in New York, where he studied vocal improvisation with the legendary Bobby Mcferrin. 2013 also saw Cosmo compose music for a series of Beckett plays for the Young Vic in London as well as curating music for children’s hospitals and hospices.

In 2014, Cosmo released his debut single ‘The Moss’ on Transgressive Records which picked up support from the likes of Radio 1, NME and The Guardian as well as reaching #1 on the Hype Machine chart.

“If his past is anything to go by, Sheldrake’s future is set to be unique.” – The Telegraph

2015 began with a short sold out UK and European tour followed swiftly by his debut EP ‘Pelicans We’ which featured his second single ‘Rich’. Already a well-known Sheldrake number, ‘Rich’ features collaborator Anndreyah Vargas and is mixed by Mark Ronson’s right hand man and 2013 recording engineer of the year – alalal (aka Al O’Connell). Following further touring (including shows in Japan and the US) Cosmo is now working on his debut record which is expected this year.

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Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne divides his time between playing very old and very new music on the viol. He has been praised in The Times for his “nuanced and expressive, stylish virtuosity” and by The Guardian for his “glittering performance”. With the firm belief that baroque music can be vibrant and expressive on its own terms, Liam’s solo work regularly explores lesser-known corners of 16th and 17th century repertoire. He has recently had new works written for him by Donnacha Dennehy, David Lang, Edmund Finnis, Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurðsson and others.

As a chamber musician, Liam has performed and recorded with many leading Early Music ensembles. For several years he was a member of the renowned viol consort Fretwork, with whom he toured internationally and played an active role in commissioning new works.

Beyond the realm of early music, Liam has worked with a wide variety of artists including Damon Albarn, Nils Frahm, Matthew Herbert, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Bryce Dessner (The National), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Martin Parker, and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). He has contributed to the creation of several large-scale operatic works: Damon Albarn’s Dr Dee (2011-12), Shara Worden’s You Us We All (2013), and Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Wide Slumber (2014).

In April 2015, Liam became the first musician to be awarded a 6-month Artist Residency at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, in connection with the opening of their new Europe 1600-1815 galleries. Currently, Liam is professor of viola da gamba at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he also teaches Medieval and Renaissance Performance Practice and leads a viol consort.

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Nessi Gomes

Nessi Gomes

Born on the tiny Island of Guernsey to a Portuguese family, British singer- songwriter Nessi Gomes channels influences from both sides of her ethnicity, blending the essence of the traditional, emotional and ‘larger than life’ Fado folk music with British contemporary inspiration.
 
Though spending most of her life in the Channel Islands, the turning point in Nessi’s musical expression took place six years ago when she lived in Central America. The years she spent away from her home shook her world and reshaped her writing. She shifted from the more obvious themes of love, loss and broken hearts to ruthlessly exploring her inner geography, insecurities, beauty and light that she found there. Her quirky and emotive voice began to reflect a brutally honest portrait of an inner world where shadows and hope, sanity and insanity dance magically together; where mysteries are unveiled.
 
In October 2013, Nessi returned to the west with her deeply personal raw material and with a vision to record her songs onto an album. The task to slow cook the project was given to the Grammy nominee producer and film maker Duncan Bridgeman (1 Giant Leap, Hecho En Mexico).  
Since then, over the last one and a half years, inside a rusty little blue boat on London’s Regents Canal, Nessi and Duncan recorded her debut album – Diamonds & Demons.  
Both of them locked themselves in the boat while giving the songs the time to ripen. Duncan worked with great patience; Slowly opening a creative tunnel into Nessi’s inner world and peeling back layers of doubts and resistance. He took her sweat, tears and raw talent and transformed them into a complete album.
  
The album reveals an authentic and heartfelt search for light, depth, hope and truth. It is a quest of art, love and trust.  A series of intricately detailed, hauntingly atmospheric and lushly textured avant-ballads.  It fulfils Nessi’s wish to deeply touch and shake the audience, to stir and shift something within them, to speak of the uncomfortable so that it may pass, and to expose and sing the human experience to its fullest expression.

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Helen Chadwick

Helen Chadwick

A singer, songwriter, composer, performance creator and voice coach, with a background in theatre, Helen writes unaccompanied songs for voices and creates solo and group performances with Helen Chadwick Song Theatre.

Helen Chadwick has been commissioned to create song theatre performances for the Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera, Greenwich and Salisbury festivals, and has composed for the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, where she is composing the songs for Light Shining In Buckinghamshire which opens in April.

She has recorded ten albums, including her latest House of Light. Helen is the founder with Thames Festival of the mass choir charity project Sing for Water. Helen Chadwick Song Theatre’s productions include:

War Correspondents - based on interviews with journalists working in conflict zones

White Suit - an outdoor show based on the testimony of a Colombian land mine survivor.

Helen also creates concerts and site-specific work and is touring a trio version of Dalston Songs, which was commissioned by the Royal Opera House. She has collaborated extensively with storytellers, including a performance on Aphrodite and the Gods of Love commissioned by the Getty Villa in Los Angeles. Her solo song theatre performances have toured in Europe and South America.

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Abraham Brody

Abraham Brody

‘..a fine musician […] vibrant colours with plenty of virtuosity [..]An unexpected and arresting experience.’- Michael Church, Review, the Independent, February 2015

Abraham Brody is an artist using music, performance, and video.

He is interested in pushing boundaries between performer and public, as well as the limits of our everyday awareness and consciousness into what he calls ‘spiritual consciousness.’
In order to bring this ‘spiritual consciousness’ into his works he often researches cultures which are still connected to their ancient roots such as Buryat Mongol Shamanism and the pagan traditions of Eastern Europe.

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Rituals and their potential to raise consciousness and deepen self identity are themes of great importance in his works. He often uses long in his performances to create a deeper connection between himself and his audience, allowing them to achieve a new level of focus and consciousness.

He also performs internationally as a violinist and singer, creating compositions based on folk music of his Lithuanian and Ukrainian roots. As a musician he has performed recently at Joe’s Pub at the public theatre in New York with Czech artist Iva Bittová, at Sziget Festival Budapest, Barbican Hall London, Ronnie Scotts Jazz club London, Royal Festival Hall London, Underdogs Gallery Lisbon, Kristupo Festival Vilnius, Boston Symphony Hall, and Prague Smetana Hall, among others.

Oli Langford

Oli Langford

Whether sharing the stage with Arthur Jeffes in Penguin Café Orchestra and the other half of Sundog, or backing artists as diverse as Depeche Mode and Diana Krall, Oli is a virtuosic violinist with a wealth of studio and live experience.

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Laura Moody

Laura Moody

Laura Moody is a wildly alternative cellist, vocalist and avant-singer-songwriter. Fascinated not only with words and songwriting but also with sounds, noises and textures, she eschews laptops and loop pedals to explore what is possible using only solo cello and voice. She creates emotive songs that reveal a multitude of influences and inhabit a unique space between the contemporary avant garde, classical music, experimental pop and singer-songwriter tradition.

Having achieved much international acclaim as a long-standing member of innovative string quartet the Elysian Quartet, she has also toured world-wide as a member of physical theatre string ensemble The Gogmagogs and the Meredith Monk Ensemble and performed extensively in theatre and contemporary dance productions. She has toured, collaborated and recorded with leading musicians from a hugely diverse number of genres from folk to hip hop. All these elements are brought together in Laura’s solo work, as The Arts Desk noted,"it seemed almost as if she had taken every musical influence that had come her way and put them in a blender...certainly extraordinary and sometimes disturbing. But what surprised me most ...was just how often it became mesmerising."

Laura releases music on her own Surbiton Lagoon label, named after an exotically monikered but long defunct swimming pool in the famously beige London suburb where she grew up. An EP was released in 2009  and following a highly successful crowdfunding campaign her highly personal and long awaited debut album 'Acrobats' was released in November 2014. 

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Kerry Andrew

Kerry Andrew

Kerry Andrew is a London-based composer, performer, writer and educator. She has a PhD in Composition from the University of York and has won three British Composer Awards. As a composer, she specialises in experimental vocal and choral music, music-theatre and community music. Her debut novel will be published by Jonathan Cape in January 2018.

She was Handel House Composer In Residence 2010-12 and was Visiting Professor at Leeds College of Music 2015-16. Her works have included large-scale pieces for 600 young people in the Royal Albert Hall’s Schools Prom, a vocal/body percussion work for the massed National Youth Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall, a concept drawing and vocal EP for Art on the Underground, a chamber community opera for Wigmore Hall, a wild swimming opera for the Tete a Tete Festival, a work simultaneously performed by 25 community ensembles around the UK for the Landmark Trust, a piece for the London Sinfonietta to fight for the NHS (including the recorded voices of 60 members of the public) and a work for the national commemoration service one year on from commemorate the 7/7/05 London bombings.

She performs with the award-winning experimental post-a cappella trio juice vocal ensemble, who have released two albums on the Nonclassical label. She also performs as alt-folk soloist Metamorphic and is a multi-instrumentalist with DOLLYman. She has written for the Guardian, writes libretti and made her short story debut on BBC Radio 4 in 2014. Her debut novel Swansong will be published by Jonathan Cape in January 2018.

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Gwyneth Herbert

Gwyneth Herbert

Gwyneth Herbert is an award-winning composer and lyricist, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and strikingly original performer. She has released 6 critically-acclaimed albums (including on Universal, Naim Edge and the first UK Blue Note release in 30 years), toured across the world and shared stages with Boy George, Amy Winehouse and John Cooper Clarke.

Drawing on influences from the worlds of folk, jazz, art pop, contemporary classical, avant-garde music and storytelling, she performs with a variety of instruments and a “casually commanding voice – whether softly nuanced as confiding speech or at full soaring-contralto stretch” (The Guardian).

She has also made numerous appearances on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4; co-created three musicals and a feature-length art film; performed her own film score at the British Film Institute; and had her arrangement of a Swahili folk-song performed by 100,000 children at once.

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Gabby Young

Gabby Young

“Gabby is a special talent with an enchanting voice.” - BBC Radio 2

Gabby was on track to become an opera singer until Jeff Buckley and the jazz greats inspired her to switch teams. Gabby’s unique perspective of the world around her is inspired as much by imagination as real events, but when thyroid cancer threatened to take her classically trained voice at the age of 22, she got serious about recording her stories. Using her recovery time to pen her melodies, Gabby took in global influences to fuel her heartfelt emotion, which shines through her beautifully haunting songs. ‘I feel blessed rather than afflicted,’ she says simply.

Clearly not a case of style over substance, but, like many a performer before her, Gabby loves to play dress up – and since her double page spread in edgy style bible Artrocker magazine, titled “How to dress like Gabby Young” will attest, there are plenty of women out there who find her charismatic looks as inspiring as her music.

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Clara Sanabras

Clara Sanabras

Clara Sanabras is vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer based in London. Born in France, raised in Barcelona, her musical explorations are as varied as her background. With her unmistakable sound, striking stage presence and songwriting talent, she’s gained formidable repute worldwide in the fields of folk, classical, and contemporary music. Her enigmatic voice and multi-instrumentalism feature in top Hollywood soundtracks
such as The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and The Huntsman.

In an impressive back catalogue of recordings, theatre and screen credits, Clara has appeared at many international festivals & venues, from Glastonbury to Sydney Opera House, National and Globe Theatres, and collaborated with artists from all disciplines Natacha Atlas, Jarvis CockerRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra, and John Rutter amongst many.

With five albums of original songs under her belt, her latest project, a folk opera based on Shakespeare’s the Tempest, was released in 2016 and premièred at The Barbican, to mark the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Clara is also a researcher in neuro-plasticity of the brain, a subject that will be central in her forthcoming musical project “Fugue to the Floating World”.

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Eugenia Georgieva

Eugenia Georgieva

With a voice to unlock the soul, Eugenia Georgieva is a singer of a deep, abounding grace. With a love of music past and present, she’s woven a vocal tapestry through folk music all the way to rock and electronica. Born in Bulgaria and now living in London, her talent has brought rapturous comments for the purity and range of her music.

Eugenia's many projects include the a capella exploration of her homeland in trio Perunika, a groundbreaking mix of Bulgarian, Indian and English Renaissance vocal music in YANTRA, and leading the Veda Slovena Bulgarian Choir in performing secular and sacred music from Bulgaria and beyond at University College London.

In demand in her own right, Eugenia's collaborations include Transglobal Underground, Jim Moray, Martin Furey, and legendary Bulgarian singer Yanka Rupkina.

Eugenia is a veteran of many sessions, including The Virgin Queen, which won an Ivor Novello Award for the Best TV Soundtrack, the soundtrack to Skeletons as well as numerous ads and studio work.

In May – June 2016 Eugenia toured the UK with Melanie Wilson’s Opera for the Unknown Woman, a bold re-imagining of the operatic form (co-composed with Polish composer Katarina Glowicka and produced by Fuel Theatre) in a brilliant cast featuring, among others, Patricia Rozario OBE and Adey Grummet.

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Bird Radio

Bird Radio

‘…folk-horror of the darkest hue…his voice soaring like Scott Walker… Bird Radio fulfils his early promise as a musical storyteller of rare power.’ - Steve Hunt, fRoots

Bird Radio is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist and composer Mikey Kirkpatrick. A vibrant solo performer, he uses voice, flutes, suitcase bass drum and loop pedals to create his dense, experimental brand of alt-folk.

‘…a flute-toting, bass drum-beating sensation…’ – Rick Pearson, Evening Standard

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