Audio: NNF11 music preview playlist
PUBLISHED: 09:11 06 May 2011 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2011
The Norfolk and Norwich Festival features performances from a diverse line-up of internationally recognised jazz, world, folk and classical musicians, from the Portico Quartet to the African sounds Staff Benda Bilili. Here is our special Spotify preview playlist.
Kyle Eastwood – Song For You
Norwich Playhouse, May 9
Growing up listening to the record collection of his dad (some bloke called Clint, who you may have heard of) obviously did young Kyle no harm as he’s gone on to carve a respected niche for himself as a jazz performer and, inevitably, a film composer. His work blends swing, groove and funk, but this is a one of his more minimal pieces from his 2009 album Metropolitain.
Ólöf Arnalds - Englar Og Dárar
Norwich Playhouse, May 10
Icelandic songstress Ólöf Arnalds specialises in the kind of delicate freaky-folk songs that seem to flow like glacier water on the volcanic island. That she’s already worked with Bjork will come as no surprise to anyone. Her latest album is Innundir Skinni, this track, however, is from 2009’s Vid Og Vio.
Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea
Festival Spiegeltent, May 11
Taking inspiration from the likes of Steve Reich and Philip Glass as well as Radiohead, EST and the Cinematic Orchestra, this hugely acclaimed outfit offer a very 21st century take on jazz improv. Dark, atmospheric but also hook laden. This is the title track to their most recent album and features the distinctive sound of the hang, a new percussion instrument not dissimilar to a mini steel drum.
Charlie Haden - A Love Like This
St Peter Mancroft Church, May 19
Bassist Charlie Haden was a member of the pioneering Ornette Coleman Quartet in the 1960s. To mark the 25th anniversary of his own Haden Quartet West - also featuring Alan Broadbent, Ernie Watts and Rodney Green - they’ll be performing tracks from their new album Sophisticated Ladies, a nod to 1940s and 50s Hollywood. Sultry vocals on this track are provided by Renée Fleming.
Mariza - Promete, Jura (Fado Sérgi)
Norwich Theatre Royal, May 15
The leading Portuguese fado singer of her generation, Mariza has become a global diva. She is sure to deliver to the Theatre Royal audience is type of heart-wrenching performance that has won her several Latin Grammy nominations and legions of fans. Her new album, Fado Tradicional - from which this track is taken - takes her back to her roots, stripping away the flamenco and jazz settings of her last album to pitch her intensely dramatic voice solely against a pared down guitar trio.
Sierra Maestra - Pal’ Monte
Norwich Playhouse, May 6
Think the Cuban revival started with the Buena Vista Social Club? Think again. This nine-piece ensemble had already been bringing the sounds of Havana to western audiences for years and they continue to deliver evocative and infectious acoustic sounds. Their name, incidentally, refers to a range of mountains in eastern Cuba.
Penguin Cafe - Dirt
Norwich Theatre Royal, May 16
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra formed nearly 40 years ago by Simon Jeffes and Helen Liebmann. They made a gently surreal and playful form of neo-classical music that drew on various world folk traditions, minimalism, pop and avant garde and did so until Simon’s untimely death in 1997. More recently his son, Arthur Jeffes, has founded his own orchestra called simply Penguin Cafe to carry on playing his music. Their latest album is A Matter Of Life…. This glorious track though comes from 1987’s Signs of Life, Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s last studio album proper.
Trevor Pinnock - Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D Major
St Peter Mancroft Church, May 13
Trevor Pinnock is a world renowned harpsichordist who has pioneered performance on historical instruments with his own orchestra, The English Concert. His NNF11 appearance will see him joined by numerous friends including soprano Lucy Crowe for a programme that includes Purcell, Handel and Bach, including this piece.
Jan Garbarek - Rites (Film Edit)
St John Cathedral, May 21
Having entranced audiences at the 2005 festival with their groundbreaking Officium project, the inspired partnership of Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and vocal group the Hilliard Ensemble return this year with Officium Novum, with influences drawn from Armenia, Greece and Estonia. We have no music from that project, however here’s a Garbarek piece (adapted for the Michael Mann film The Insider) that we always enjoy.
Staff Benda Bilili - Je t’Aime
Norwich Theatre Royal, May 18
Anyone who saw this year’s inspirational rags-to-riches rockumentary that followed Staff Benda Bilili, a ragtag gang of Kinshasa street children and middle-aged wheelchair users who have over the past decade coalesced into one of central Africa’s most highly regarded bands, will be excited by this Theatre Royal date. They’ll have the place jumping. And any track that features a solo on a piece of wire strung over an old tin can is OK by us!
Noriko Ogawa - From Yellow To Yellow
St Peter Mancroft Church, May 18
Renowned recitalist and chamber musician, Noriko Ogawa rose to prominence after winning the Leeds International Piano Competition and has gone on to work with numerous leading orchestras. At NNF11, she will be performing works by Mozart and Liszt as well as Japanese composer Yoshihiro Kanno. This piece is from Circuit, a collaboration from last year with minimalist composer Graham Fitkin.
Eliza Carthy - Lavenders
Festival Spiegeltent, May 12
Eliza Carthy (the daughter of music legends Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson) is folk royalty and a hugely acclaimed Mercury-nominated performer in her own right. This NNF11 appearance in the Spiegeltent truly promises to be something special. She’s just released her latest album, Neptune, but this track is from 2008’s Dreams of Breathing Underwater, and is north Africa meets northern England (with added birdsong). Fantastic.
Syriana - Checkpoint Charlie
Norwich Arts Centre, May 8
If John Barry had been born in Damascus he’d have made music like this. Hugely cinematic its like the score to a middle eastern thriller that hasn’t yet been made, but which we’d like to see. Syriana are the latest project of guitarist and bass-player Nick “Dubulah” Page, best known for his fusion work with Ethiopian musicians in Dub Colossus. Shame the publicity makes them look like oh-so-worthy world music, rather than emphasising just how cool they are. How cool? Very cool.
Kronos Quartet - Kara Kemir
Norwich Theatre Royal, May 17
The groundbreaking Kronos Quartet, who’ve been fearlessly exploring musical boundaries for 30 years, make their festival debut this year with a diverse programme that includes works by Steve Reich, Michael Gordon, Laurie Anderson and a piece by Damon Albarn. Also featured will be ‘…hold me, neighbour in this storm’ by Aleksandra Vrebalov, which was specially commissioned for the quartet and appeared on their 2009 album Floodplain. That’s 21 minutes long, so here’s a shorter piece from the same album.
Navarra Quartet - Haydn: Introduzione (Maestoso ed Adagio)
St Peter Mancroft Church, May 10
Formed in 2002 at the Royal Northern College of Music, in 2008 the Navarra Quartet won the Outstanding Young Artist Award at the Classique Awards in Cannes. Over the last two years the quartet has increasingly developed their international profile, appearing at major festivals and venues throughout Europe. This NNF11 appearance will see them performing works by Brahms, Shostakovich and Haydn.
Orkestra del Sol - Delhi Soul
Festival Spiegeltent, May 9
Though they have the swagger of a Balkans wedding bad, the ska, polka, klezmer and funk sounds of the Orkestra del Sol is actually distilled in Scotland. In the suitably cabaret setting of the Spiegeltent they’ll be playing from new album Lung Capacity, whose title references the on-stage duels between band members to see who has the biggest lung capacity.
Gretchen Parlato - In A Dream
Norwich Playhouse, May 20
A big hit at last year’s London Jazz Festival, big things are being predicted of Gretchen Parlato who makes her first major appearance outside the capital at NNF11. Blurring the lines between singer and instrumentalist, her album In A Dream featured classic material by the likes of Duke Ellington and Herbie Hancock. This title track is perfect to watch the summer sun go down.
Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra - Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite (Dance of the Reeds)
Yarmouth Hippodrome, May 11
One of the great European orchestras, the Bolshoi will be performing three Russian masterpieces at the Hippodrome, works by Rachmaninov and Rimsky-Korsakov, as well as this Tchaikovsky favourite (make sure you’ve got the right chocolate bar for the interval!).