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ESKA

ESKA

EVENTS WITH ESKA

The Zimbabwean born, SE-London raised performance artist, composer and producer is a creative force to be reckoned with. Across her two-decade genre-hopping career, ESKA’s titan reputation as a live performer and songwriter brought invitations to collaborate with a host of internationally renowned artists; a list that is as bravely diverse as her music itself; Grace Jones, Zero 7, UNKLE, Tony Allen and fashion designer Rick Owens, to name a few! As a choir director, she has lead a variety of vocal ensembles, including a 150-voice ‘improvising’ choir for Bobby McFerrin.

With credits on over 150 released titles, including contributions to 3 Mercury-nominated albums, her eponymous debut was subsequently nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2015. This year, ESKA releases her 2nd solo album and commences her first opera with a development commission from the Royal Opera House.

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Lisa Knapp

Lisa Knapp

EVENTS WITH LISA

It’s been 12 years since her remarkable debut album Wild And Undaunted marked Lisa Knapp as one of the brightest and most innovative stars of a newly invigorated British folk movement. A child of the 90s rave scene, Lisa found herself drawn to the honesty of the ballads she heard at South London folk clubs and the dexterous Irish fiddle tunes she began joining in with at pub sessions. From there she immersed herself in library manuscripts, pored over second-hand records from the 70s and sought out the masters of traditional music to learn from. Working with partner and producer Gerry Diver, she forged a new path through these old songs that is uniquely and spellbindingly hers.

“A unique voice” - Uncut

Over the years, she’s worked with some of the finest musicians in folk music and beyond: Robert Plant, Eliza Carthy, Graham Coxon, Sam Lee, Olivia Chaney, Leafcutter John, Stick In The Wheel - the list goes on.

“Knapp isn’t just a great folk artist, she’s a great artist full stop.” - Morning Star

While it’s true that Lisa Knapp’s music is steeped in old weird England and its mysterious customs, it’s not a nostalgia for idyllic yesteryears. These are records made amidst the reality of a Britain which is anything but merry. You can hear it in her use of sampled street sounds; the cut-up vocals; the very modern manipulation of sound – a tension between then and now where Lisa’s music sparks. These reminders of where we came from also ask us who we are now.

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Blood Moon Project

Blood Moon Project

EVENTS WITH BLOOD MOON PROJECT

Blood Moon Project is Heloise Tunstall BehrensTanya Auclair, & Luisa Gerstein - three singers, musicians, composers, and producers living and working in London. They also perform together in Deep Throat Choir, and the contemporary opera, “The Swarm”, where vocal experimentation and interplay takes centre stage. 

Heloise is currently studying composition at Trinity Laban, Tanya is working on a new LP, and Luisa is scoring music for the Vaudeville production of Emilia.  They will be sharing some of their vocal exploration in this first collaborative performance as a trio: Blood Moon Project.  

Christo Squier

Christo Squier

EVENTS WITH CHRISTO

Christo Squier is a multidisciplinary artist who primarily works with sound and live performance; a multi-instrumentalist (guitars, voice, flute, piccolo, tenor saxophone), composer, performer and producer.

He is artistic director of progressive brass band Perhaps Contraption, who have toured internationally and relentlessly explored unusual musical terrain since 2004.

Christo released his first solo album as Squier Squier in 2016, which explored a tender, personal songwriting approach; weaving finger-picked acoustic guitar with intricate, electronically processed layers of brass, woodwind and drums.

As an actor/musician/sound designer, Christo has worked with a range of groundbreaking companies including Les Enfants Terribles, Factory, Punchdrunk, Secret Cinema and Shunt. Christo is currently artist-in-residence at Snape Maltings, creating a new theatrical performance for Perhaps Contraption.

Aside from all the musical stuff, Christo is a contact juggler and used to be a professional sand sculptor. He wishes he was better at cooking.

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Kadialy Kouyate

Kadialy Kouyate

“Senegalese kora virtuoso/singer Kadialy Kouyaté showcases his fleet-fingered skills on this mesmerizing instrument, complementing it with his hauntingly, darkly beautiful voice.” -Time Out London.

Kadialy Kouyate is a musician, a singer songwriter inspired by the West African Griot repertoire. Born into the great line of Kouyate Griot in Southern Senegal, Kadialy’s mesmerising kora playing and singing style have been appreciated in many prestigious venues as both a soloist and in different ensembles.

Since his arrival in the UK Kadialy has played a significant part in enriching the London musical scene with his griot legacy. He has been teaching the Kora at Soas university of London for the last decade and he has also been involved in countless musical projects both as a collaborator and a session musician.

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Georgia Ruth

Georgia Ruth

Georgia Ruth is a Cardiff-based musician and songwriter from Aberystwyth in West Wales. Her debut album Week of Pines won the Welsh Music Prize in 2013, and she released her second (Fossil Scale) in 2016. She appeared as a guest vocalist on the Manic Street Preachers' Futurology album, and has toured extensively in India: both as a member of Ghazalaw (whose debut record was released on Cerys Matthews' Marvels of the Universe label) and as part of the British Council's Folk Nations project. 

Georgia presents a weekly music show on BBC Radio Cymru, and has also presented 'World on 3' for BBC Radio 3. 

Press for Fossil Scale :
“Georgia is finding her own distinct voice” **** Q Magazine
“Slow-burner of a record that rewards repeated listening” **** The Evening Standard
“a wealth of sonic detail” The Independent
“A deeply intelligent return”  Clash Magazine

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Ayanna Witter-Johnson

Ayanna Witter-Johnson

EVENTS WITH AYANNA

Singer, songwriter, cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative r&b music cannot successfully coexist.

Graduating with a first from both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna was a participant in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and become an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. She was a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors and became the only non-American to win Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC.

As a composer, she has scored original music for various productions and as an arranger and orchestrator Ayanna has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra (Hugh Masekela), and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Urban Classic).

Since releasing her EP’s Truthfully and Black Panther Ayanna has extensively toured the UK and several countries in Europe, whilst gaining a MOBO award nomination and getting airplay on BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra. A performer of extraordinary versatility her live shows are intimate journeys that chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century.

Because of her musical prowess, mesmerising vocals, non-compromising lyrics and ability to deftly reinterpret songs on the cello Ayanna is able to straddle both the classical and urban worlds effortlessly.

She is the definition of eclectic soul.

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Chartwell Dutiro

Chartwell Dutiro

EVENTS WITH CHARTWELL

Chartwell Dutiro is a musician, singer, song-writer, composer, author and teacher. He grew up in rural Zimbabwe and started playing the mbira when he was four. The mbira is an ancient instrument, consisting of at least 22 metal keys mounted on a wooden soundboard. Chartwell and his brother would often play mbira all night, calling the ancestral spirits for guidance, as had been done in Zimbabwe over centuries.

As a teenager Chartwell joined the Salvation Army band, and when he moved to the capital he played in a military marching band. From 1986 to 1994 he toured the world with the legendary “Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited.” Since 1994, Chartwell has been based in Britain, performing, recording, teaching and building bridges through his music.

Chartwell has played the Shona mbira virtually his entire life. From his village childhood in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) when he played at ceremonies with a local spirit medium, to his years performing and recording with Zimbabwe’s iconic Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited, to his more recent career as a teacher, solo artist, and bandleader in the UK, Chartwell has cut a remarkable path through African music.

Chartwell is a superb instrumentalist and a soulful singer. His arrangements of Shona traditional music are both innovative and inspirational. He is also a gifted storyteller with a deep sense of history and a wry sense of humor. An evening in his presence is an unforgettable experience.

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Alice Zawadzki

Alice Zawadzki

Alice Zawadzki is an award-winning vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer based in London. Her work as a performer, collaborator, composer and speaker, has seen her gain considerable repute as a distinctive and individual presence on the creative European music scene.

Anglo-Polish Alice’s rich musical background and “whimsical hyper-creativity” (MOJO Magazine) converge into artistry which draws upon her early exposure to New Orleans jazz and gospel with the legendary Lillian Boutté, and extensive classical training as a violinist, and a continuous exploration of improvisation, poetry, and folk music from diverse traditions.

“She is a genuine original– John Fordham, The Guardian

“something of a phenomenon” – MOJO Magazine

“Uncategorisable, beautiful – a real force to be reckoned with” – Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2

She performs extensively as both a soloist and as a collaborator, with headline performances at most of the major UK alternative and jazz venues and festivals. She also performs and collaborates at underground venues in the London scene and on unexpected platforms, with a keenness to nourish music at its roots.

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John Baily & Veronica Doubleday

John Baily & Veronica Doubleday

EVENTS WITH JOHN & VERONICA

Husband and wife team John and Veronica are renowned ethnomusicologists whose work has been invaluable in bringing the music of Afghanistan to the wider world.  Over 3 decades they have produced a steady stream of CDs, books, and articles, tracking the lives of musicians first within Afghan borders, then further afield when making music in that war-torn land became a seriously dangerous thing to do.

Moreover, they have immersed themselves deeply enough in Afghan music to win shauqi status as respected amateur performers: she as a singer, he as a player of the dutar and the boat-shaped rubab lute, with its guttural-ethereal sound-palette.

Lucy Farrell

Lucy Farrell

EVENTS WITH LUCY

As one fourth of The Furrow Collective, Lucy is the current recipient of the BBC Folk Award for Best Group following the release of their widely acclaimed Wild Hog LP, earned during an immensely busy and creative time in which she contributed to the raved about return to form that was the Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band’s Big Machine album and tour, and also saw her final shows with the Emily Portman Trio with whom she’d sung, sawed and played viola for many years.

An inveterate collaborator, the news that Lucy is to take centre stage in her own right comes as a welcome surprise to all those who’ve been entranced by her haunting and quintessentially English voice, subtle and instinctive musicianship and her ability to connect emotionally with an audience while adhering to the great Shirley Collins’ adage that in folk music the singer should never get in the way of the song.

Lucy Farrell first enchanted fans of traditional music when she began performing as a duo with fellow Newcastle Folk Degree graduate Jonny Kearney. Invited to become the regular opening act for The Unthanks, Lucy & Jonny’s blend of wry and lovelorn tales with exquisite interpretations of English, Scottish and American ballads saw them frequently outselling the headline act at the CD stall.

As well as Lucy’s fruitful partnership with singer and songwriter Emily Portman and the award winning harpist and singer Rachel Newton, she has also written, performed and recorded with numerous bands and projects including Dark Northumbrian, Gluepot, a star-studded live tribute to Norma Waterson, and also formed her own group Ogres. Although she’s rejected the conventional career path, Lucy has become one of the most in demand musicians and vocalists on the young folk scene.

Signed to the impressively visionary Hudson Records, Lucy Farrell has returned to the traditional folk songs that have remained at the heart of everything she’s done. These are the ballads that inspire her own compositions, but in their own handed-down beauty and strangeness tell fantastical stories beyond our imaginations. And in her voice they bewitch anew.

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