2020-2021

18th June 2021

Labdi

Labdi is a revolutionary Kenyan singer-songwriter and African single-stringed fiddle (Orutu) instrumentalist. She is a vocal powerhouse whose vision is to popularise African music culture,  sounds and instruments and to re-introduce them to the world. Labdi represents the growing population of young African artistes taking up indigenous instruments and by taking up the  Orutu, she currently stands as the only female playing the instrument, as it was reserved only  for men in the past. Labdi experiments with indigenous Kenyan sounds such as Taarab, Ohangla, Mwomboko and Benga and the music she experienced growing up in two big cities, (Nairobi and  Kisumu).

She has performed at various international and local festivals and concerts, such as Oslo Afro Arts Festival-Norway, NyegeNyege-Uganda, GMA Addis Ababa.

On 18th June 2021 at 7.30pm GMT, Labdi will join us with her trio from their home in Nairobi, Kenya!

The event will be streamed on our YouTube channel and is free and open to all.

Take a listen to Labdi performing earlier this year:

3rd June 2021

Tlen Huicani

Hailing from Jalapa in Veracruz, Mexico, Tlen Huicani are one of the most renowned interpreters of the traditional folk music of Veracruz. Founded in 1973, Tlen Huicani, meaning ‘the singers’ in the language of Nahautl, preserve and promote the musical heritage of Mexico and the Veracruz people while also forging new musics, assimilating the styles and incorporating the techniques of local artists they meet throughout their journeys and tours of Central and South America. Indeed, it has been said that a performance or recording of Tlen Huicani is like ‘taking a musical journey through Mexico and South America’ (Kennedy Center, 2021).

Tlen Huicani are led by one of the most respected musicians in Mexico, Alberto de la Rosa, who is considered among the most outstanding folk harpists in the world. Through the last 30 years, Tlen Huicani have showcased the ‘harpa jarocha’, or folk harp, making it the centrepiece of their music. They have performed in the most renowned venues throughout Mexico, as well as the major international folklore festivals around the world, including Germany, the United States, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, England, Italy, Spain, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan and Austria.

The band work closely with theatre and dance companies of the Universidad Veracruzana, and provide music for the Folkloric Ballet of the Veracruzana Universitiy, with whom they have travelled throughout America, Europe and Asia. In 2010, Tlen Huicana performed together with the Folkloric Ballet of the Veracruzana University at the closing of the Central American and Caribbean Games based in Puerto Rico.

This concert was first streamed online on 2nd June 2021, with Tlen Huicani joining us all the way from Veracruz in Mexico.

If you weren’t able to tune in (or want to enjoy it all over again!), you can catch the event in full here:

5th March 2021

Faith i Branko

Built from a foundation of ‘Serbian-Roma’ music, Faith i Branko’s original compositions draw from both of their musical heritages to communicate their intimate personal connection: ‘their music is as colourful, personal and tumultuous as their history’ [fRoots magazine, UK]. The duo met in Branko’s Serbian Roma village of Gornja Grabovica in 2009, and – with music as their only tool for communication – began a journey that would lead to the creation of their award-winning album ‘Gypsy Lover’, their marriage and their success in international touring and media. Branko taught himself the violin, which became a way out of the extreme health, social and economic problems through which he lived in Serbia; he created his own music – intuitively combining sounds of Jazz, Indian, Turkish and Classical music with his Roma traditions. Now based in London, the duo is​ currently touring with their quartet and quintet.

This concert was streamed online on 5th March 2021, with Faith i Branko joining us all the way from Serbia.

If you weren’t able to tune in or want to enjoy the event all over again, you can watch the concert in full here:

20th November 2020

Maya Youssef

Now based in the UK, Maya Youssef is hailed as ‘queen of the qanun,’ the 78-stringed Middle Eastern plucked zither. Maya’s intense and thoughtful music is rooted in the Arabic classical tradition but forges pathways into jazz, Western classical and Latin styles. It explores the emotional and healing qualities of music. For her, the act of playing music is the opposite of death and destruction; it is a life- and hope-affirming act and an antidote to what is happening, not only in Syria, but in the whole world.

This concert was streamed live online on 20th November 2020.

Weren’t able to tune in? Or want to watch again? Good news – you can now see the full concert below!