PORT ISAAC’S FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS – TRANSATLANTIC SESSIONS – ACKER BILK & CHRIS BARBER BIG BANDS – URI CAINE MEETS MAHLER – THE CREOLE CHOIR OF CUBA – FAIRPORT CONVENTION – COURTNEY PINE PRESENTS EUROPA – IRON AND WINE – THE DUBLINERS – ASHA BHOSLE AND SHUJAAT KHAN – BBC BIG BAND – KATE RUSBY – THE DHOL FOUNDATION – ORQUESTA BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB – THE UNTHANKS – CHRISTY MOORE – MARIZA – TALVIN SINGH AND NILADRI KUMAR – LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO – JUDY COLLINS – RAVI SHANKAR – RUSH HOUR BLUES – MID-DAY MANTRA – FOLK FOR FREE
Highlights of the season range from an exploration of Mahler with US avant-jazz pianist Uri Caine (Saturday 5 February) to an evening with emerging world music stars the Creole Choir of Cuba (14 Feb) and powerful Portuguese fado from the million selling recording artist Mariza (10 May) to Indian classical music from the inspirational sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar (16 June).
At Town Hall, trad-jazz legends Acker Bilk and his Paramount Band join with Chris Barber’s Big Band for an evening of New Orleans inspired 50’s and 60’s jazz (Friday 4 February) while the next day, as part of the Birmingham Mahler Cycle, Uri Caine brings his modern masterpiece Gustav Mahler – Primal Light to life at Town Hall, complete with band and turntables (Saturday 5 February).
in March, pianist Zoe Rahman and violinist Omar Puente are amongst the leading UK jazz musicians accompanying award winning contemporary saxophonist Courtney Pine as he presents his latest project EUROPA (Friday 11 March). Later the same month, Town Hall Associate Artists the BBC Big Band led by charismatic conductor Jiggs Whigham will be joined by BBC Radio 2 presenter and jazz singer Clare Teal for an evening concert exploring both the Great British Songbook and biggest hits of the last 100 years (Friday 25 March).
Familiar artists from the folk world who return to Town Hall in the first half of 2011 include folk-rock originators Fairport Convention celebrating the 40th anniversary of their work Babbacombe Lee (Saturday 5 March), contemporary Yorkshire songbird Kate Rusby (Friday 18 March) and the Mercury Prize nominated Tyneside singing sisters The Unthanks (Wednesday 6 April).
For the second year running, hugely popular traditional Irish band The Dubliners are set to perform at Town Hall on St Patrick’s Day (Thursday 17 March). Christy Moore, also known as “Ireland’s Woody Guthrie” appears at Town Hall with long time musical partner Declan Sinnott (Monday 18 April), as does Grammy award winning folk singer and social activist Judy Collins (Tuesday 7 June).
In early 2011, emerging world music stars The Creole Choir of Cuba take to the stage at Town Hall for an alternative Valentine’s Day concert (Monday 14 February), followed by legendary Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle in an evening of light Indian classical music using the brilliant acoustics and intimate space of Symphony Hall, accompanied by sitarist Shujaat Khan (Friday 18 March).
Johnny Kalsi’s genre bending The Dhol Foundation bring their 21st century mix of electronica, drum and bass, bhangra, tabla and more to Town Hall (Friday 1 April) while Havana songstress Omara Portuondo joins with the fellow musicians who make up Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club for an evening of sumptuous Latin son, bolero and salsa at Symphony Hall (Tuesday 5 April). One of Portugal’s greatest fado singers, Mariza, promises an exciting and intimate concert in the majestic surroundings of Town Hall (10 May).
Town Hall welcomes another groundbreaking musical partnership to the stage – tabla maestro, composer and musical pioneer Talvin Singh alongside Indian classical sitarist Niladri Kumar (Friday 29 April) for a concert promising incredible musicianship and exploration of sound.
Male choral group Ladysmith Black Mbazo, who rose to fame after singing on the seminal Paul Simon afro-pop album Graceland perform their intricate rhythms and harmonies in a summer concert at Symphony Hall (Thursday 2 June). India’s most esteemed musical ambassador – performer, composer, teacher and writer Ravi Shankar visits Symphony Hall for a very special evening of ragas featuring sitar, tabla and flute – quite possibly one of the world music events of 2011 (16 June).
The ten shanty singers from north Cornwall’s rugged coastal village who make up Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends debut their West Country sound at Town Hall on Tuesday 25 January, while later that week at Symphony Hall (Sunday 30 January), an all Transatlantic Sessions star cast including Aly Bain, Julie Fowlis, Jerry Douglas, Paul Brady and many more will deliver an evening of superb freewheeling folk and roots music.
Americana devotee Ray Lamontagne performs Tom Waits, Joe Henry and Beck influenced material from album God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise at Symphony Hall with The Pariah Dogs (Sunday 20 February) and the tour by South Carolina’s Samuel Beam, better known as Iron and Wine, arrives at Town Hall in early spring (Thursday 10 March) in support of next album Kiss Each Other Clean.
Town Hall and Symphony Hall continues to showcase emerging artists and ensembles through partnerships with Birmingham based music promoters such as the popular weekly jazz session Rush Hour Blues with Birmingham Jazz (5.30pm – 7.00pm, every Friday), the Mid-day Mantra Saturday afternoons of music presented by sampad (1.00pm – 3.00pm, 22 January, 12 February, 12 March, 9 April) and Folk For Free Thursday evening gigs in association with Moseley Folk (20 January, 17 March, 14 April, 19 May, 16 June). All free events take place in the Level 3 Bar foyer at Symphony Hall.