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Richard King’s book The Lark Ascending is re-told through a seamless blend of music, visuals, spoken word and dance from a cross-genre group of artists.
The book follows King’s pilgrimage into rural Britain in search of its musical identity, celebrating the communal experience of gathering together under open skies. Tonight, performances from musicians featured in the book are punctuated by readings from it, with video direction by Rob St John.
Firstly, a new arrangement of Vaughan Williams’s piece which gave the book its name – a profound communion with nature – is performed by Daniel Pioro, James McVinnie, Liam Byrne, and Clare O’Connell. Elsewhere, Vashti Bunyan offers a short set of songs from across her career; Arthur Jeffes performs a selection of Penguin Café Orchestra material; Deep Throat Choir sing a selection of material from the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp Songbook, Rob St John performs solo, and Andrew Weatherall closes the evening with a specially-composed piece.
Daniel Pioro is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the most innovative young violinists of his generation.
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James McVinnie pursues a diverse career as an organist and keyboardist.
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Influential British folk singer who, despite disappearing from the music scene in the mid sixties, made a return in the early 2000's as part of the nu-folk revival, collaborating with the likes of Adem, Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective, and releasing some highly successful solo material.
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Arthur Jeffes aka Sundog
The Penguin Cafe front man, Arthur Jeffes has stepped out with his own solo project, Sundog, starting from the track of the same name on the Penguin Cafe album and spiralling into glorious slews of lyricism, romantic experiments, and a boffin-like delight in quirky musical ideas.
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Deep Throat Choir
Deep Throat Choir has been going since 2013, formed by Luisa Gerstein, we started with a simple desire to get together once a week and raise our voices together, to strip music down to just vocals and drums, and to rework the words and melodies of other artists like Sylvan Esso, Electrelane, Wildbirds and Peacedrums, MK, and Amy Winehouse into something of their own. There were five to begin with and now they are thirty. Singing together every week, usually in a circle, is still the most important thing they do.
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Rob St John
Born in Lancashire, currently residing in Oxford, Rob St John is Edinburgh's adopted “doom-wop” wunderkind, he plays drawn-out and ghostly (new? post? whatever) folk music. They creak and drone of the double bass, musical saw, cello, autoharp, glockenspiel, harmonium and baritone uke. He's just finished recording his first album (for Song, By Toad), in which kraut and prog influences can clearly be heard alongside British folk guitar and the echoes of an American troubador tradition. Rob’s full-band sets are a sight to behold, and don't occur nearly often enough.
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- Silk Street
- EC2Y 8DS
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Barbican Centre image © Morley von Sternberg