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News: Blaze Festival June - July 2010

Artsline, 17 May 2010, 16:34

 
Blaze returns in June 2010 with a sizzling series of the best jazz, roots, rock, reggae, Latin and genre-bending contemporary music from across the globe.  Major international artists, commissions and new works, open-air concerts, free events and promotions in new venues – including a series that reopens the historic Hackney Empire for music - mark this second Blaze series.  More information and updates at barbican.org.uk/blaze
 
The events of Blaze are part of CREATE10, a unique arts festival that celebrates the wealth of homegrown artistic talent, cultural institutions and iconic arts venues in East London from the five Olympic host boroughs from 19 June – 1 August. More at createlondon.org
 
 
Saturday 19 June  7.30pm
Big Band Britannia:  Inspirations and Collaborations
Barbican Hall
Tickets £10 - 25
Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious
 
Eight decades of British big band music are celebrated by a specially-assembled big band led by renowned composer, arranger and trumpeter Guy Barker.  This unique programme, linked to the JLCO International Residency, digs into a wonderful heritage of Anglo-American musical exchanges, from the days when Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter galvanised the big band of Jack Hylton and the BBC Dance Orchestra, tracing the story through the music of Ted Heath, to Kenny Baker, Tubby Hayes, Stan Tracey and Kenny Wheeler, through to the Brotherhood of Breath and up to the present day. The evening will also feature a special tribute to the pre-eminent figure in British big band jazz, the late Sir John Dankworth.  A stellar range of special guests from successive generations will include Stan Tracey, Peter King, Bobby Wellins, Soweto Kinch and Jason Yarde. The evening climaxes with a late set from mighty ska-jazz big band Jazz Jamaica on the Barbican Clubstage.
 
 
Thursday 24 June 7.30pm
Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro + The Bamboos
Barbican Hall
Tickets £12.50/15/25
Produced by the Barbican
The latest project from Will ‘Quantic’ Holland, the Combo Bárbaro is an exceptional group of multi-cultural musicians who create a sonic snapshot of the ever-evolving musical landscape of the Americas. Rediscovering the psychedelic and experimental strands inside Latin music, they mix them with deep funk and soul – and of course the flavours of Cali, where the band recorded Tradition in Transition (Tru Thoughts).
Since settling in Cali in 2007, Holland has set up an analogue studio and put together a core group of pianist Alfredo Linares, who wowed the sell-out crowds with his virtuoso performances on The Quantic Soul Orchestra’s 2008 tour; Freddy Colorado, a cornerstone of the Cali music circuit, on congas; Fernando Silva on bass; Holland himself on electric guitar; and London-based drummer and long time Quantic collaborator Malcolm Catto, also well known for his own band The Heliocentrics. The result is a rich multi-cultural stew, bathed but not exclusively rooted in Colombian musical culture, embracing the musical range of all the American continent – honoring and utilising its contributors’ to create a unique brand of contemporary music that is a joy to listen to, and a live experience that defies comparison.
Later on the ClubStage: Systema Solar fuse traditional Afro-Colombian rhythms with piko (sound-system culture), hip hop and breakbeat. With turntablism and live video at the heart of their performances, Systema Solar spin invention and electric energy into cumbia, bullerengue, porro and champeta.
Thursday 24 June  7.30pm
Alarm Will Sound
Wilton’s Music Hall
Tickets £12.50/15
Wilton’s, Graces Alley, off Ensign Street, London E1 8JB
Produced by the Barbican
 
Recognized by the New York Times as ‘one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene,’ Alarm Will Sound makes its London debut at this historic venue with a genre-bending programme.  The ensemble performs its groundbreaking arrangements of music not originally intended for human performance - electronica by Aphex Twin and Autechre, and the Beatles' iconic experimental tape work, Revolution 9 - alongside the epic expressionism of John Orfe's Chamber Symphony. Unafraid of crossing conventional boundaries, Alarm Will Sound embodies the unexpected and exuberant mix of today's music.
 

Friday 25 June  8pm
Dirty Projectors & Alarm Will Sound: The Getty Address
Barbican Hall
£15/20/22.50/25
Produced by the Barbican
European premiere
 
Sometimes described as a new generation David Byrne, David Longstreth’s experimental rock project Dirty Projectors is an umbrella term for a revolving cast of collaborators who have released five full length albums, a compilation of cassettes, and three EPs.  Album five, Bitte Orca (Domino), with its more settled line-up, has been acclaimed as the most complete effort to date, the Dirty Projectors at their most seductive and elusive. The band reference hip-hop and heavy rock, pop and pure imagination. Longstreth's falsetto is unmistakable; a sign of the breath of the Projectors’ appeal is that their Stillness Is the Move - a slice of this avant-pop - was covered by Solange Knowles, bringing this gem to a whole new audience.
 
‘Utterly listenable … this is art-pop in which the words on either side of the hyphen are equally balanced’ – Sunday Times

For the first half of this concert, the Dirty Projectors are joined by Alarm Will Sound, a 20-member chamber group who have established a reputation for performing some of the most demanding contemporary music with energy and skill. Their performances have been described as ‘equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity’ by the Financial Times. Together, they will perform The Getty Address, which has been described as ‘a glitch opera’ The story it tells - roughly about a guy named Don Henley who falls in love with a girl named Sacagawea - plays out over orchestral arrangements that sound as if they've been salvaged from a lost vault of American music. In its European premiere, it will be conducted by Alan Pierson. The second half of the concert will be a more orthodox set featuring songs from Bitte Orca and elsewhere.
 
Freestage 6.30pm - 7.30pm: Gyratory System
Gyratory System is a live electronica project started by Andrew Blick (production, trumpet, sound treatments). Featuring a range of musicians including Blick (reeds, brass) and James Weaver (bass, synthetiser), Gyratory System released critically acclaimed album 'The Sound-Board Breathes' in 2009 on Angular Recording Corporation.
 
’Mind-bogglingly brilliant bonkers electronica‘ - HUW STEPHENS, RADIO 1
 
’one of last year’s most essential records‘ – Dazed & Confused 
 
Saturday 26 June 7.45pm
The Necks
Barbican Theatre
Tickets £15
Produced by Bite; part of Food Court
 
A Barbican debut from this cult Australian trio who occupy a haunting space between rock, jazz and minimalism. Consisting of Chris Abrahams (piano), Tony Buck (drums), and Lloyd Swanton (bass) they create together an utterly individual musical chemistry, typically featuring lengthy pieces which slowly unravel in a mesmerising fashion, frequently underpinned by an insistent deep groove. Their film work has included the soundtrack for The Boys, nominated for the Australian Recording Industry Association Best Soundtrack Album and Best Musical Score. Their fifteen albums, mostly on the Fish of Milk / Shock label, only grow with repeat listenings.
‘The Necks are among the world’s most consistently great exponents of improvised music’
- BBC.com
 
Friday 2 July  7.30pm
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba + Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Ségal
Barbican Hall
£12.50/15/18/22.50
Produced by the Barbican
 
Bassekou Kouyate returns after his acclaimed Barbican concerts, which have helped establish him as one of the most exciting contemporary African acts – and to many confirmed Taj Mahal’s description - ‘a genius’. Living proof that one of the sources of the blues is his region of Segu in Mali, Kouyate has championed the ngoni - an ancestor of the banjo. Unlike the kora, whose history goes back only a few hundred years, the ngoni is believed to have been the main instrument for accompanying griot stories as far back as the reign of Soundiata Keita in the 12th Century .  Segu Blue, the debut album by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba won the Album of the Year Critics Award, part of the annual BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music, in 2007.  Their most recent album, I Speak Fula was described by Uncut magazine as ‘A contender for African album of the year’ -  Uncut (4 stars).
 
‘They moved together like a Malian version of the Shadows. Their initial slow lope picked up into a pace which would have broken a camel’s legs, let alone its back‘ - The Guardian.
 
Ballaké Sissoko, who has established a reputation as one of the best kora players of the new generation, collaborates with French cellist Vincent Ségal, known for his work with the band Bumcello. They’ll be playing songs from new album, Chamber Music, out in June.
 
Chamber Music was recorded in one bare room in Salif Keita’s Moffou studio in Mali, in three recording-sessions without overdubs. Sheltered from the rest of the world, Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal eschewed all consideration of genre and style, concentrating only on the essence of the music. Their complicity is such that the kora and the cello seem to express themselves here with a single voice.
 
 
Friday 2 – Saturday 17 July 7.30pm
I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky
Music composed by John Adams, libretto & lyrics by June Jordan.
Tickets £10-28
Theatre Royal Stratford East in a co-production with Barbican
 
Set in Los Angeles, I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky (a quote from a survivor of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake) focuses on the lives of seven twenty-somethings as they become intertwined on their journey towards love and self-discovery. When a catastrophic earthquake occurs, the characters are forced to confront unavoidable truths and their lives become irrevocably changed.
 
Following a casting process to find the most authentic voices for the characters and their situations the cast is formed from young rising stars, including RnB, pop, gospel and music theatre singers. Rich in the sound and rhythms of American urban life, the songs of John Adams' music theatre show makes a rippling counterpoint of several love stories against a background of misunderstanding, violence, idealism and ingenuity.
Directed by: Kerry Michael and Matthew Xia  
 
 
Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre Square, London E15 1BN
 
 
Saturday 3 July 7.30pm
Caetano Veloso
Barbican Hall
Tickets £10 / 25 / 35 / 45
Produced by Serious
 
One of the world's great songwriters, and a thrilling live performer, Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso's music radiates warmth. His seductive, melodic voice and bossa-nova style guitar push Brazilian traditions into exciting new realms. On this visit, he'll be playing material from his wonderful album on Wrasse, Zii e Zie, described by Songlines as 'a kind of Radiohead-tinged samba - glorious, satisfying stuff, consolidating Veloso’s return to his grandiose best.'
 
The concert will be followed by a special edition of Barbican LATES, including appearances by the Asphalt Orchestra and Tokyo-chutei-iki plus surreal performance art from Mike Chavez-Dawson and experiments in audiovisual hypnosis from Area 10.
See barbican.org.uk/lates for more information
 
 
Saturday 3 July, Sunday 4 July 12pm
Dance Nations Dalston
Gillett Square , Dalston,London N16 8JN
Admission free
Produced by the Barbican
 
A jam-packed weekend of live music, dance workshops and stunning dance and music performances.  The Barbican's theatre and music teams invite you to participate in a lively programme designed for all ages and abilities in Dalston's hippest square. Put your glad rags on, grab your dancing shoes and join us for the whole weekend, as international bands and dance groups perform alongside East London's finest talent.
 
Over the weekend New York City’s Asphalt Orchestra will wind their way through the audience – a modern marching band like no other. London’s coolest experimental jazz band, Polar Bear, will take to the stage with music from new album Peepers. The wonderfully eccentric 12 piece baritone saxophone ensemble, Tokyo-chutei-iki, will perform. London-based Congolese band Zong Zing All Stars are guaranteed to get everyone moving. Jazz, hip-hop, funk and even a bit of spoken word are expertly woven together by London five piece, Benin City - BBC 6 Music’s Craig Charles’s ‘one to watch’. And Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui join the party with their hyptonic, joyful sound, which captures shades of Fela Kuti’s grooves and krautrock’s rhythms.     Check the website for updates.
 
 
Monday 5 July 7.30pm
Jazz meets Flamenco
Dave Holland and Pepe Habichuela Flamenco Quintet
+ Chano Dominguez Flamenco Quartet
Barbican Hall
£18/22.50/27.50
Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious
 
An audacious jazz-meets-flamenco project from three great virtuosi. UK-born bassist and bandleader Holland has been performing and recording for five decades, and has lived in the United States for 40 years after famously being discovered by Miles Davis while performing at Ronnie Scott’s. His works range from pieces for solo performance to big band scores. Holland also runs his own independent record label, Dare2, which he launched in 2005.  That same year he won Downbeat's Critics Poll for Musician of the Year, Big Band of the Year, and Acoustic Bassist of the Year. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Miles Davis Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival. The label has released the acclaimed recordings Critical Mass (2006) and Pass It On (2008). Pathways, the debut recording of Holland’s octet, will be released on March 23, 2010.
 
Flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela belongs to one of the great flamenco dynasties, the Habichuelas, and to the generation of Paco de Lucía, Camarón de la Isla, Enrique Morente and Manolo Sanlúcar. His work with Enrique Morente in the 1970s saw Habichuela discover a new world of harmonies that found expression in two historic albums, Despegando and Homenaje a D. Antonio Chacón. His adventurous spirit also saw him play with free jazz legend Don Cherry; he has also experimented with fusing flamenco and classical Indian music, a development that was born from a project with Nitin Sawhney and which has taken shape in Yerba Güena, a record that was made between Bangalore (India), Barcelona and Madrid, with the participation of the Indian orchestra The Bollywood Strings.
Born in Cádiz in 1960, Chano Domínguez is a self-taught guitarist (by ear, through his father’s collection of flamenco on vinyl). The unique way Dominguez integrates the rhythms and languages of jazz and flamenco, makes him one of the most in-demand artists in Spain, in any musical genre. As a pianist and guitarist he has worked with renowned artists such as Pepe de Lucía, Enrique & Estrella Morente, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ana Belén, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette and Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to name a few. He has performed the greatest jazz festivals, and received many awards in all categories. He recently published an album for the collection Jazz en España (Jazz in Spain), for Radio Televisión Española and toured Europe with a brand new repertoire called New Flamenco Sound, which has received great public success.
Tuesday 6 July 7.30pm
Gilles Peterson & Roberto Fonseca present Havana Cultura Live: New Cuba Sound
Barbican Hall
Tickets £10/15/20
Produced by Serious and the Barbican
 
To coincide with the latest release from globetrotting DJ Gilles Peterson, the Barbican hosts an evening of Cuba’s freshest musical talent - from Latin, afro jazz and fusion to hip hop, funk, reggaeton and R&B. Powered by Roberto Fonseca's acclaimed band, the night features Cuban star Danay (described by Gilles Peterson as ‘Cuba’s Jill Scott’) .  Roberto Fonseca has shared the stage with Cuban legends such as Rubén González, Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo. For The Havana Cultura Band, he is joined onstage by an all-star group featuring old school master reedsman Javier Zalba (Irakere), the most versatile bass player in Cuba Omar Gonzalez, drummer Ramses Rodriguez (Chucho Valdes), Joel Hierrezuelo on congas, producer/percussionist Vincen and DJ Gilles Peterson, the mastermind behind Havana Cultura Remixed
 
 
 
Thursday 15 – Friday 23 July
Blaze at Hackney Empire
 
The centrepiece of the Blaze off-site music programme is one of London’s best-loved venues, the historic and atmospheric Hackney Empire, built in 1901 by the peerless music hall designer Frank Matcham.  The Barbican’s Blaze programme celebrates the Hackney Empire’s re-opening with some of the finest Contemporary Music acts in the world today.
 
Thursday 15 July 8pm
Céu + Bomba Estéreo
Tickets £10/15
Hackney Empire
Produced by the Barbican
 
Brazil’s Céu is a hugely talented young singer-songwriter whose pure voice nestles in cool and contemporary productions of samba-funk, reggae and bossa.  Pulling together strands from Brazil’s rich musical heritage, along with the sounds of Jamaica and New York (a city where she lived for some years) she spins together a unique sound which owes much to the electro flavours of her native Sao Paulo. Her most recent CD, Vagarosa, is on Six Degrees Records.
 
‘Céu has put Brazilian music back on the map’ – Sunday Times
 
Bomba Estéreo, from Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, make psychedelic cumbia. This musical project, formed by Simón Mejía and singer Liliana Saumet in 2005, is forging a new tropical sound which merges folk styles from the Colombian Caribbean coast - like cumbia, bullerengue and champeta - with electronica, reggae and hip-hop. The result is an explosive dance sound.  Their latest release is Estalla (Polen/Nacional Records).
 
Friday 16 July 8pm
Willie Colon
Tickets £15/20/25
Hackney Empire
Produced by the Barbican in association with Como No!
 
Known in his youth as El Malo - the bad boy - Willie Colon, Bronx-born with Puerto Rican grandparents, has sold more than any other single Latin artist (over 30 million sales worldwide) during a career spanning more than 40 years. A trombonist, singer, composer and one of the original Fania All-Stars, his collaboration with Ruben Blades, Siembra, is the biggest-selling Salsa album of all time. Later on, his collaboration with Hector LaVoe was the milestone that spread this joyous fusion of tropical/urban music throughout Latin America. His forthcoming albums are Pregunta Por Ahi (Pcm Digital) and Metiendo Mano with Ruben Blades (out in May on Fania).
 
 
Hackney Empire, Mare Street, London E8 1EJ
Box Office: 0845 120 7550      www.barbican.org.uk
 
 
Thursday 15 July 8.30pm
Django Drom: featuring Didier Lockwood and Birelli Lagrene
Barbican Hall
Tickets £10/15/25
Produced by the Barbican
 
Legendary gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt would have turned 100 in January 2010; Django Drom is a stunning multi-media work created by film director Tony Gatlif to celebrate his centenary. The show, featuring violinist Didier Lockwood and guitarist Birelli Lagrene, explores the gypsy roots of Django’s genius as well as his dazzling achievements in jazz.  Born in Algiers, Tony Gatlif arrived in France following the Algerian War of Independence. He struggled for years to break into the film industry, playing in several theatrical productions. Since his 1981 feature Corre, Gitano, Gatlif's work has been focused on the Roma people of Europe, from whom he partially traces his descent. Exils (2004), won the Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival where Transylvania was premiered in 2006.
 
‘This misrepresented and fantastic creature, at once so captivating and so divorced from the contentions of his age’ – Charles Delauney on Django Reinhardt
 
Freestage 7-8pm: Trio Manouche are a world-class gypsy swing ensemble performing the works of Django Reinhardt and their own up-beat quirky original compositions in the style of Hot Club de France, bringing a uniquely contemporary take on the repertoire. In 2010 they have set themselves the challenge of performing 100 gigs to mark the centenary of Django Reinhardt's birth including performances at Royal Festival Hall, The Mostly Jazz Festival, Secret Garden Party and Glastonbury Festival.
 
 
Friday 16 July 7.30pm
Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer
+ Julian Lage Group
Barbican Hall
£10/15/20/30
Produced by Serious
 
Multi-Grammy Award winning banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, with his group the Flecktones, almost single-handedly created the startling crossover of jazz and bluegrass.  For this special Barbican performance he is joined by two more great musical mavericks, Zakir Hussain on tabla and bassist Edgar Meyer.  Hussain is one the world’s great tabla players, whose music is rooted in the playing of his father, tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha – but who has come to transcend genres and styles. He founded the legendary Indo-jazz band Shakti with John McLaughlin and has collaborated extensively with Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead, as well as touring with Charles Lloyd in the group Sangam.  Edgar Meyer moves with an almost unique freedom between the worlds of classical music, jazz and folk. Described by the New Yorker as ‘the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument.’  He is, with Hussain and Fleck, responsible for a triple concerto for double bass, banjo, and tabla which, performed with his co-composers, opened the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville in 2006. The combination of these great individualists promises some of the most original music of the summer.
 
Julian Lage is at the forefront of performers of his generation. Described by Béla Fleck as ‘one of the special ones’, Lage has developed a unique style, melding blues, classical, folk and jazz influences.  He is performing with the Julian Lage Group, featuring Dan Blake (saxophone), Aristides Rivas (cello), Jorge Roeder (bass) and Tupac Mantilla (percussion). 
 
 
Saturday 17, Sunday 18 July: Roots of Reggae Weekend
 
Saturday 17 July 7.30pm
Toots and the Maytals + Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Max Romeo + friends
Barbican Hall
£15/20/25
Produced by the Barbican

Curating Saturday’s concert is one of the original legends of ska and reggae, singer and composer Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert - perhaps the last of the pioneers of the music still working with his original power and inspiration. Toots and the Maytals’ late 1960s collaborations with Chinese-Jamaican producer Leslie Kong produced three classic albums and a string of hits throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s – including Do the Reggay (a 1968 single widely credited with coining the word reggae), Pressure Drop, 54-46 Was My Number and many more. The group also featured in one of reggae's greatest breakthroughs – the 1972 film classic The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff. Toots and the Maytals were rediscovered during the late 1970s reggae-punk and ska revival period in the UK, when their songs were covered by The Specials and The Clash. The band has continued to tour and record, winning a Grammy in 2005 and in 2006 recording an unforgettable version of Radiohead's Let Down for the tribute album, Radiodread, by the Easy Star All-Stars.
 
 
Sunday 18 July 7.30pm
Youssou N'Dour: From Dakar to Kingston. With special guests Inna De Yard
Barbican Hall
£20/25/30
Produced by the Barbican
 
On Sunday, Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour brings his new project De Dakar A Kingston to the Barbican. The show explores and celebrates the relationship between Reggae and the Motherland, underlining their intertwined music history while delivering an exhilarating live experience.
 
Over a lengthy career which includes literally hundreds of legendary recordings, guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith has earned a place as one of the central figures in the evolution of Reggae.  His latest project, Inna De Yard, is a journey back to the authentic roots of Jamaican music – performing classic songs in the simplest of settings, with acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies, and celebrating the influence of Africa with Nyabinghi percussion. It is the sound of the streets, the yards and the homes that Smith grew up in – here presented for the first time in the UK.
 
 
Sunday 18 July 3pm
Caribbean Weekend at the Shoreditch Festival: Gilzene & The Blue Light Mento Band + The Viceroys + Bomba Estéreo
Admission free
Shoreditch Park, London N1 6TA
Produced by the Barbican
 
Alongside events at the Barbican, we present three wonderful Caribbean groups in the friendly atmosphere of this community open space in the heart of hip Hoxton. Gilzene & The Blue Light Mento Band are the finest exponents of mento, the infectious, irreverent folksong that was one of the crucial influences on the evolution of Ska and Reggae in the early 1960s. The Viceroys are a classic roots reggae vocal trio, who occupy a place in the pantheon alongside that of the Mighty Diamonds and whose Consider Yourself LP occupies an enduring place in the history of conscious Jamaican music. And Bomba Estéreoforge a new tropical sound which merges folk styles from the Colombian Caribbean coast - like cumbia, bullerengue and champeta - with electronica, reggae and hip-hop.
 
 
 
Tuesday 20 – Friday 23 July
Blaze at Hackney Empire
 
Tuesday 20 July 8pm
Staff Benda Bilili + special guests
£15/20
Hackney Empire
Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious
One of the hottest African acts on the scene right now, their name translates as ‘look beyond appearances’. The mesmerising rumba-rooted grooves, overlaid with vibrant vocals, are sometimes reminiscent of Cuban swing, at other times of the Godfather of Soul himself. The band’s core members are disabled street-musicians, who drive custom-built motorised tricycles, and live in the grounds of Kinshasa Zoo in the Congo. Staff Benda Bilili have a strong following on YouTube and have performed alongside Massive Attack and Damon Albarn. Their acclaimed debut album was Très Très Fort (Crammed).
 
‘One measure of how exceptional Staff Benda Bilili are is that their first London show packed the Barbican with and audience that, six months ago, had never heard of them’ (5 stars) – Financial Times
 
 
Wednesday 21 July 8pm
Taraf De Haïdouks + Boban Markovic
£15/20
Hackney Empire
Produced by the Barbican
 
Taraf de Haidouks – literally ‘band of outlaws’ - were the first Balkan Gypsy band to clamber over the fresh ruins of the Berlin Wall and win a Western audience.  Discovered in their village of Clejani in south western Romania by Belgian impresario Stephane Karo in 1989, this troup of then-unemployed musicians soon received a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music – presented by their admirer Johnny Depp.  Appearances in films (Latcho Drom, The Man Who Couldn’t Cry) and praise from Yehudi Menuhin and Depp helped consolidate the Taraf’s reputation. Their last album Maskarada (2007- Crammed Discs) features a reinterpretation of the Transylvanian Gypsy music that inspired Bartok and Liszt to push central European classical composition forward.
 
‘The energy and panache of the group was amazing - opening their arms to us, grinning both to each other and the audience, they really invited us to enjoy ourselves‘- The Independent
 
The Boban Markovic Orkestar is widely held to be the greatest of the Balkan gypsy brass bands, and is famed for its contribution to the soundtrack of Emir Kusturica’s Underground. Drawing inspiration from Klezmer, jazz and Latin styles, the Boban Markovic Orkestar also push their music into the future with an infusion of funk – all interpreted  with their stunning mixture of exuberance and virtuosity. Their latest opus, Devla: Blown Away to Dancefloor Heaven is on Piranha.
                  
‘It’s like being injected intravenously with a life-giving drug’ - Songlines
 
 
Thursday 22 July 8pm
Dracula, The Music and Film featuring Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet
£15/20
Hackney Empire
Produced by the Barbican
 
Philip Glass gives new life to Universal Pictures’ 1931 classic Dracula with a new score which underlines the romanticism of the story and the haunting power of Bela Lugosi’s gaze.  Glass’s minimalist tendencies lend themselves well to the suspense and shifting moods of silent cinema, but in Dracula he also maintains an engagingly listenable and timeless chamber-music feel.  Accompanying the projection of this Tod Browning-directed period masterpiece is the Kronos Quartet, consisting of David Harrington and John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello) who will be joined by Glass on stage; the work will be conducted by keyboardist Michael Riesman and promises a hypnotic and exhilarating audio-visual experience.
 
‘A provocative sound track … film purists may call it a trick, but it is really a treat’ - Los Angeles Daily News
 
Hackney Empire, Mare Street, London E8 1EJ
Box Office: 0845 120 7550      www.barbican.org.uk
 
 
Thursday 22 July 7.30pm
In Their Own Worlds, Giant Sand featuring Kristin Hersh and more guests tbc
Barbican Hall
Tickets £15/18/20
Produced by the Barbican
 
2010 is the 25th anniversary of the first Giant Sand album, Valley of Rain, and to mark the occasion, Howe Gelb and his band host a very special evening of brand new collaborations and performances.  After 25 years this could be a time for retrospect, but with a new album scheduled for October, this is instead a celebration, a milestone in the life of the profoundly talented alt-troubador, Howe Gelb. And this one-off performance sees Howe and his legendary band Giant Sand celebrating with very special guest Kristin Hersh, guitarist and founder of seminal art-rock band, Throwing Muses.
 
In June this year Hersh releases her new album Crooked. No ordinary release, Crooked is being published as a book containing photos, lyrics and essays – and offering access codes which unlock an online treasure trove loaded with music and interactive content. This year also sees the publication of Hersh's memoir, Paradoxical Undressing.  In Their Own Worlds is an exclusive invitation to see Giant Sand performing songs old and new, a solo set from Hersh, and Giant Sand providing a unique score as Hersh reads from Paradoxical Undressing.
 
‘I'll jump at any chance to be on stage with the wild and wacky, kooky and cozy Howe. With Howe, I never know exactly what will happen, but it's always great to be a part of it’ - Kristin Hersh
 
 
Friday 23 July 7.30pm
Jakob Dylan & Three Legs
Tickets £16 - £20
Promoted by Mean Fiddler
 
In the late 1960s, Bob Dylan evolved musically from a folk singer playing simple, but lyrically-loaded tunes to a plugged-in rock star. Just about 40 years later, his son did the opposite. Appearing at the Barbican in support of his recently released and highly acclaimed album Women & Country, produced by T Bone Burnett, Jakob brings the similar hushed intimacy and gorgeous vocal interplay of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Grammy-winning album Raising Sand, but with Neko Case and Kelly Hogan taking over Dylan's higher register harmonies.
 
 
Saturday 24 July 3-4pm
The Drummers of Burundi
Barbican Hall
Tickets £7/3.50 for children
Produced by the Barbican
 
Considered one of the best percussion ensembles on the planet, The Drummers of Burundi’s performance is as much about the spectacle as it is about the music; their vibrant power and precision on twenty drums originally accompanied royal ceremonies in the central African nation. The ensemble is multigenerational, with fathers teaching their sons the art of drumming and dance, and the drummers rotate during the performance, playing different instruments and taking rest breaks to create a continuous stream of music.
 
‘The Drummers of Burundi are the ultimate African drum experience, a catharsis of

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