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Just announced: Paco Pena Requiem for the Earth, 08, 09, 10, 14 October.

Paco Peña Requiem for the Earth

08 October / 19:00 / More Info / Buy Tickets / Birmingham Town Hall
09 October / 19:00 / More Info / Buy Tickets / Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
10 October / 19:00 / More Info / Buy Tickets / Leeds Town Hall
14 October / 19:00 / More Info / Buy Tickets / Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Considered one of the world’s greatest Flamenco artists, Paco Pena brings his astonishing flamenco company to Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester for this internationally-acclaimed production.

Paco Peña’s Requiem for the Earth, commissioned for the 2004 Salisbury Festival, is a powerful musical expression of the idea that our existence on this earth is ephemeral. In due time we all pass away, and most of us live in the expectation that a new generation will take over, and that life, as we know it, will continue as if for ever. But Paco’s flamenco requiem takes us beyond the traditional Catholic liturgy, with its Lux Aeterna, its Dies Irae, Libera Me and Agnus Dei, for whereas the Requiem Mass expresses the hope that contrite souls will find their place in heaven on the Day of Judgement, and hence a faith in life everlasting, Paco’s requiem is a requiem for life on this planet.
How apt is Paco’s use of flamenco as a vehicle for a requiem for the earth: the Córdoban poet Ricardo Molina suggests that flamenco is rooted in the earth of Andalucía like a tree that draws its sustenance from the history of that soil. The flamenco singer’s voice tells us poignantly of the essential materials of life; and whereas other dance forms, including classical ballet, may take us into the ether, into a place above us, flamenco rises from the ground as an affirmation of our own origins from the Earth itself. There is passion, despair and joy in flamenco, but not spirituality or lofty purpose. Flamenco deals with the day to day, with survival in a harsh world. It speaks of our surroundings in a powerful, pragmatic language and an outburst of feeling.
In Misa Flamenca (1988), the poignant lament of the flamenco singer rasps against the more rounded, less syncopated sound of the choir. The resulting tension lends authenticity to both elements, the flamenco and the liturgical. Paco’s Requiem for the Earth is no less dramatic and adds a powerful voice to the words, whether for the Christian or indeed for those concerned with the Earth. In it, we are faced with our collective responsibility for having damaged the fabric of life to the point where our actions may well prove cataclysmic to ourselves as well as to other forms of life. Paco’s requiem expresses his grave concerns for humankind; it also encourages us to invest some hope in the future, above all in telling us that we must act now to save our planet.

Just announced: Craig Charles Funk n Soul Club feat London Afrobeat Collective live, 26th July.

Craig Charles Funk n Soul Club feat London Afrobeat Collective live

26 July / 21:00 / More Info / Tickets on sale tomorrow, 09:00

A sensational night as BBC Radio 6’s Funk & Soul Show goes live, featuring a live set by LAC, and DJ, actor and funkster-about-town Craig Charles manning the decks.
Bringing afrobeat dancing into the 21st Century, festival favourites London Afrobeat Collective blend the best of Fela Kuti’s original philosophy with a world of diverse current sounds.

An incendiary live act with bass-heavy rhythms guaranteed to make you move. 2013 saw LAC take the festival circuit by storm, building on their stunning debut when Michael Eavis personally invited them to open the West Holts (formerly the Jazz World stage) at Glastonbury. The band has staged rip-roaring performances at Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Green Man, Shambala, Standon Calling and Wilderness festivals, not to mention performing tracks with indie stars Bombay Bicycle Club at Bestival, Latitude, Reading and Glastonbury.

Mr Scruff celebrates his 15th anniversary on June 7th

Mr Scruff Keep It Unreal 15th Anniversary

07 June / 10:00 / More Info / Tickets on sale tomorrow, 09:00

Celebrating 15 years of the monthly Manchester residency!

Scruff will be at the controls for 5 hours, serving up a melting pot of jazz, soul, hip hop, funk, disco, deep house, reggae, afrobeat, latin, and plenty of goodies that don’t fit into any category.

To listen to Mr. Scruff tunes & tons of mixes, check the Scruff SoundCloud page

Just announced: Soft Machine Legacy and Keith Tippett, 20th July. Tickets on sale tomorrow, 09:00.

Soft Machine Legacy Keith Tippet

20 July / 19:00 / More Info / Tickets on sale tomorrow, 09:00

Soft Machine Legacy was launched in 2004 as a coalition of 3 long-time servers from different eras of the legendary progressive jazz band Soft Machine, along with young blood and ardent fan Theo Travis. Playing a repertoire of new originals and some vintage pieces, this incarnation of the band keeps the spirit very much alive and progresses it into the 21st century, with steaming, propulsive grooves, funky jazz-rock and infectious energy.

Keith Tippett  solo piano

John Etheridge  guitar

Theo Travis tenor saxophone

Roy Babbington bass

John Marshall drums

One of the most pioneering and distinctive of UK pianists from the last 40 years, Keith Tippett, opens the night with a solo performance. As a pianist, composer, bandleader, band member and musical educator, Tippett is at the forefront of contemporary European jazz. As an improviser, he demonstrates that spontaneous composition, with its fine balance of structure and inspiration, is a vital force in contemporary music.

A Manchester Jazz Festival Event

Just announced: Simon McBride and Federal Charm, 28th October.

Simon McBride and Federal Charm

28 October / 19:30 / More Info / Tickets on sale tomorrow, 09:00

Fast becoming the next Irish blues guitar hero in the footsteps of Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, Belfast-born guitarist Simon McBride has gained a pile of accolades.

On hearing his latest album, American magazine ‘Performer’ was prompted to say “The Holy Trinity of Belfast rock ‘ roll – Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher & Gary Moore – might just be on the verge of becoming a four-leaf clover.” And earlier this year, McBride was invited by Don Airey (Deep Purple, Gary Moore, Colloseum II), to play guitar on his latest album including a special medley of songs in tribute to the late Gary Moore.

Rewind to the early-’90s, and you didn’t have to squint to spot future greatness in the unassuming kid from Belfast, who picked up his first guitar at ten and eschewed formal lessons to bend his fingers around the music of Free, Jeff Beck and Hendrix. At 16, he turned pro, leaving education behind to wow the world as a hired gun in projects that ranged from filling Vivian Campbell’s shoes in Sweet Savage, to R&B and soul with ex-Commitments vocalist Andrew Strong.

Even by the lofty standards of Northern Ireland, where drinkers still raise a toast to the audacious talent of the late Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore, this young maestro’s name was soon starting to be dropped in the same reverential breath. He has supported such great names as Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck and and Joe Bonamassa. Now it’s his turn. Step-forward a new world-class talent.

Support comes from Federal Charm. Their unabashed style draws on 60s and 70s era Blues of the likes of Free, Freddie King, or as Blues and Soul Magazine puts it, “think Led Zeppelin meets the Black Crows and you’d be in the right ballpark”. Their self titled, debut album has been drawing rave reviews from critics and fans alike, and the onstage partnership of guitarist/singer Nick Bowden and guitarist Paul Bowe is truly electrifying live.

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