2021-2022

Take a look at our TWO Trinity Term events below and make sure to tune in!

Agbeko

10th June 2022

Agbeko were born out of admiration for the enduring music of 1970s West Africa and have spent the past three years honing a singular, contemporary sound built upon its teachings. An onslaught of horns, guitars, percussion and gutsy vocals, the eleven-strong outfit deliver powerful songs packed with riffs, groove and lyrical prowess to move gig-goers, festival throngs and afro-funk afficionados alike.

Their combined political awareness and uncompromising musical commitment enables the group of Manchester-based twenty-somethings to draw from Afrobeat, psychedelic rock, funk and raucous-leaning jazz without missing the vital nuance and defiant tone that gives each its clout and power to resonate. They view our times through the lens of Generation Z, the forty-eight and the ninety-nine percent, speaking out against irresponsible leadership and humanitarian crises through their music, while promoting fairness and acceptance — just as the musicians who inspire them have. 

Theirs is music with a message, but it is also some of the most danceable and energising that you’re likely to hear from any modern-day big band. In 2018 Stutter & Twitch records’ admiration for the group saw them press their double A-side Leaders of the Free World/Submit on 7” wax before a self-release of ethio-prog brooder The Remedy to accompany their debut UK tour in February 2019. Named one of Band on the Wall’s ‘ones to watch in 2019’ and with a growing arsenal of tunes, and radioplay, Agbeko are fast gaining a reputation for inducing anthemic singalongs and mass dance offs to stages throughout Europe and beyond.  You can find out more about Agbeko on their website https://www.agbeko.co.uk

This concert was first premiered online on our YouTube channel on 10th June. You can now watch the entire concert in full again below for more feel-good afro-beat vibes from the amazing Agbeko. You can find Agbeko’s programme notes, written by Agbeko’s composer, Jamie Stockbridge, detailing each track features in the concert, below the video.

Track 1 – There Must Be Another Way: Perhaps our most explicit nod to the late great Fela Kuti, TMBAW has existed in some form since the group’s first run of festivals in 2017. A full rework of the words, melody, structure and horn parts followed in early 2020 and this is now an important part of our sets. The line ‘there is power in a union’ is a not-so-subtle nod to the group’s political leanings and a little reference to Billy Bragg, a songwriter who bears a larger influence on the group’s output than may initially come across.

Track 2 – Submit: Another heavily Afrobeat-influenced tune, perhaps leaning more towards a mixture of the Funkees and Fela’s son, Femi. The horn line never fails to make an impact in the live arena, much like the source of inspiration behind the song itself who – ground down by the constant verbal and physical abuse received as a young female student on Manchester’s Oxford Road – politely warned someone of the direct action she may be persuaded to take towards them if they didn’t stop. She then took it.

Track 3 – Amber Tongues: This song was written in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, something that should cast a dark shadow over this country for a long time to come. Musically, it explores my nerdy tendencies to investigate the traditional polyrhythms of West African tribes such as the Ewe, Asante, and Ga. The bell pattern throughout is found very commonly across a lot of these traditions but reverses every other bar to make a 2-bar 12/8 pattern.

Track 4 – Terra Firma: Terra Firma is written in the Anchihoye mode, a pentatonic scale from Ethiopia used in a great deal of Ethiojazz Music. This tune explores my love of weird math rock alongside Hailu Mergia, Multatu Astatke (for whom we were due to share a bill until the UK Visa Office intervened) and Getatchew Merkuriya. It was inspired by a visit to the broodingly beautiful Milan. Casting eyes over the cathedral I was struck by it’s inarguable grand beauty but was reminded of the far-right rally (with Marine le Pen, Geert Wilders and Matteo Salvini) in front of it’s doors just days before. This piece attempts to make sense of that juxtaposition.

Track 5 – There is a Jungle: One of the oldest songs still in the set, and named after the regrettably famous refugee camp in Calais of the same name. We initially recorded this on the day that camp was razed to the ground by the French government but, despite being penned in 2015, only grows in relevance year on year. For as long as people continue risking their lives to cross the channel for a safer existence, and being demonised for doing so, we will be play this when given the platform.

Track 6 – The Remedy: The Remedy is another Ethiojazz-influenced piece, this time using the Half-Tizit mode. I am always reluctant to specify what it’s about in the fear that, if you relate it to your own experiences, I will undermine the listener’s personal interpretation. I also grew up being a massive Muse fan boy, which has doubtless bled into the darkly bombastic rocky outtro.

Track 7 – Unite: We are an unashamedly Remain-leaning band. This is an anthem dedicated to those beliefs, but also hopefully coming from a place of empathy to some of those communities whose vote to leave was a fully understandable cry of exasperation to the powers that be. Ultimately, ‘unite in love’ is a call to reconcile after a debate that split families and friends across political, and also often generational, lines.

Track 8 – All That I’d Turn Back For: Conceptualised shortly after a band trip to see Pat Thomas (the Ghanaian highlife legend, not the equally legendary Oxford-dwelling experimental jazz pianist), ATITBF is a modern highlife love song. Much of this music’s appeal to me resides in how it straddles happiness and melancholy (perhaps akin to a Brazilian musician’s use of the word ‘saudade’), striving to attain both an emotive and rhythmic perpetuity. In this case, many of the chords are voiced between the two guitars to blur the lines between major and minor colours. Emily Burkhardt features fantastically on the flute.

Track 9 – Bukom Homage (Working Title): Our final tune is a manic instrumental written after Oscar Sulley’s ‘Bukom’. It’s manic to play and to listen to and was an intense experience to record in the studio. This is only the second time we’ve played it in a live environment, having had the first curtailed by the French Police keen to strictly enforce a festival’s curfew time and get to bed.

Nokosee Fields

3rd June 2022

Over the last few years, musician, artist, and collaborator Nokosee Fields has proven himself to be one of the most provocative, significant, and capable voices in the North American traditional music scene. As a leading fiddler and interpreter in the traditional music scene, Nokosee reconciles tradition with creativity, challenging colonialist, capitalist structures and systems with the richness of his experience and upbringing as a member of the Osage, Creek and Cherokee Nations.

The great nephew of celebrated Cherokee fiddler Sam O’Fields, Nokosee carries a longstanding Cherokee fiddling tradition into the present. He lovingly and playfully reimagines tradition with skills and sensitivity. He’s won prestigious contests in the United States and has performed and taught at flagship festivals and workshops. His recent DIY sourcerror project, released anonymously online, delivers fresh interpretations of older North American fiddle repertoire, and explores the relationships between the archive and embodied performance. Nokosee also recently obtained grant funding to record an album of rare Indigenous, Black, and white fiddle repertoire from North America with his band BOOJUM. 

Beyond his fiddling, he works as a touring musician, playing bass in the country band Western Centuries and in top-tier Old-time bands Hard Drive and the Onlies. An in-demand recording artist and performer, he has recorded and worked alongside some of the most well-known artists in the field–luminaries like Tim O’Brien and Dirk Powell. Find out more about Nokosee on his website: https://www.nokoseefieldsmusic.com

On 3rd June 2022, Nokosee joined us all the way from the Kansas leg of his current tour with Western Centuries.

You can watch the event again in full below:

Yijia Tu

17th February 2022

Yijia is a singer-songwriter from China interested in exploring her cultural identity and diverse traditions through music-making. She first appeared as a semi-finalist in the popular Chinese singer-songwriter talent show “Sing My Song” at the age of 16. After graduating from high school with a certificate in composition, Yijia released her debut album “17”. In collaboration with Chinese and international acclaimed musicians such Grammy winner Luca Bignardi, Liu Huan, and the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the album won “Media’s Choice Award” at the renowned 2015 CMA (Chinese Music Awards). After moving to London, Yijia hopes to explore her interest in ethnomusicology and express her cultural identity through the fusion of traditional Eastern elements in her music. Drawing inspirations from different music elements throughout time and history, especially from China and East Asia, Yijia hopes to bring these under-exposed and undermined sounds to people who enjoy music. As the founder of the folk fusion band project, “The Sages”, through both original musical composition and adaptation of ancient traditional sounds, Yijia hopes to keep the tradition alive and expand and diversify people’s musical taste and knowledge about fascinating cultures and traditions other than their own. Yijia holds an undergraduate degree in Music at SOAS, University of London and a Masters in Music at the University of Oxford. 

On 17th February, Yijia Tu joined us for an exciting and unique musical journey of Eastern fusion. The event was streamed on our YouTube channel.

You can catch the whole concert again in full below!

Ross Ainslie & Tim Edey

26th November 2021

Award-winning multi-instrumentalists​ Ross Ainslie and Tim Edey are two old friends – and two of the best folk musicians of their generation. Tim is a former BBC Musician of the year (BBC FOLK AWARDS 2012) and also won the ​best duo with Brendan Power. He is The Chieftains guitarist+accordionist of choice and also has a long-standing​ solo career. He is considered one of the worlds​ best guitarists and melodeon players in the Celtic​ folk scene. He has recorded & toured with everyone from Christy Moore to Altan & Natalie MacMaster. Ross has been nominated Musician of the year by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (2013, 2016 and 2018). He won ​Composer of the Year in 2015 at the Scots Trad Music Awards and best duo with Ali Hutton in 2017. He performs with bands including Treacherous Orchestra, Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean and lots more. Ross has 4 solo albums to date Wide Open in 2013, Remembering in 2015, Sanctuary in 2017 and Vana in 2020.

On 26th November, Ross and Tim joined us all the way from beautiful Perthshire in Scotland to open our 2021-2022 season. The event was streamed online on our YouTube channel.

Didn’t catch the concert the first time around? You can now watch the event again in full right here. Enjoy!