Global sounds for 2012: contemporary, jazz, folk, world and roots music at THSH January - June

JANUARYJUNE 2012 #thshfwr


A new season featuring contemporary, jazz, folk, world and roots music from artists including Sierra Maestra, Laura Marling, The Portico Quartet, Jack Bruce, The Imagined Village and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain amongst others is now on sale at Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham.

Between January and June 2012, the two world-class venues will present a programme of over 20 ticketed events and in excess of 40 free events spanning music from across the globe such as son Cubano, British trad-jazz, Irish folk, US country, Indian classical and many styles in between.

Season highlights include the Symphony Hall debut by 2011 Brit Award winner and Mercury Prize nominee Laura Marling, a return to Town Hall by legendary Cream bassist and songwriter-storyteller Jack Bruce and his Big Blues Band, a visit by inspirational folk-world experimentalists The Imagined Village and a specially commissioned work exploring the songbook of folk’s founding father Cecil Sharp from The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Town Hall and Symphony Hall will also host The Chris Barber Big Band and Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band, Martin Simpson Trio, Transatlantic Sessions, Demon Barbers: Time Gentlemen Please!, The Portico Quartet, Fairport Convention, Nanci Griffith, An Evening with Joan Baez, Caro Emerald, The Spaghetti Western Orchestra, The Dubliners, Charlie Landsborough, Roberto Fonseca + Ayanna, Kailash Kher with his band Kailasa, Don Williams and The Chieftains.

2012 sees Birmingham’s internationally acclaimed Symphony Hall begin its 21st Anniversary celebrations alongside our continuing commitment to developing Town Hall as a world-class venue for wonderful and distinctive music-making. We’re doubly thrilled, therefore, to be delivering another season of exciting concerts featuring outstanding artists both new and established, whether it’s Laura Marling and Portico Quartet at the cutting edge of cool, or legendary musicians like Joan Baez and Jack Bruce.

– Paul Keene, Director of Programming at Town Hall and Symphony Hall

In addition to ticketed events, music fans can get their fix of jazz, folk and world music for free at the weekly Rush Hour Blues and monthly Mid-day Mantra, Folk For Free and Sax in the City sessions in the Symphony Hall Cafe Bar.

Rush Hour Blues, the free early Friday evening performance programmed in conjunction with Birmingham Jazz, regularly attracts audiences of around 400 and has presented hundreds of solo artists, ensembles and orchestras to date.

Folk For Free, presented in association with Moseley Folk, showcases some of the very best in contemporary folk from around the West Midlands once a month. Similarly, Mid-day Mantra, presented in association with sampad, introduces outstanding Asian artists from the UK and the Indian subcontinent in relaxed and informal free sessions. Veteran jazzman Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes also perform free monthly Sax in the City gigs in the public space.

For ticket sales and information on all events please visit or call Town Hall and Symphony Hall Box Office on 0121 780 3333.

For artist interview, image, review ticket, photo pass requests and all other media enquiries, please contact Lyle Bignon on 0121 644 6028 or via

Season overview (in chronological order):

54 years after releasing a live recording at Town Hall, Chris Barber returns to the venue for a gig with his Big Band and the mighty Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band on 3 February.

Martin Simpson – up for Best Album and Musician of the Year in the* 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards* – performs with his trio (Andy Cutting on melodeon and Andy Seward on bass) at Town Hall on Sunday 5 February.

Featuring an all-star cast of fifteen that counts singer-songwriter Eddi Reader, Pentangle founder and bassist Danny Thompson, US vocalist and guitarist Raul Malo and musical directors Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain MBE amongst its number, BBC Four’s Transatlantic Sessions rolls in to Symphony Hall on 8 February.

Following a unique tour taking in some of Britain’s best loved Cathedrals; the 2011 Best British Female Solo Artist Brit Award winner and Mercury Prize nominee Laura Marling debuts at Symphony Hall on Friday 2 March.

Time Gentlemen Please!, the creation from Yorkshire’s folk innovators The Demon Barbers which sees B-Boys and Morris Dancers team up for extravagant performance of hip-hop and folk music and dance, visits Town Hall on Friday 2 March.

Mercury*-nominated four-piece cool jazz experimentalists *The Portico Quartet return to Birmingham for a gig on 7 March at Town Hall, performing material from their third and self-titled album, to be released on Real World Records in early 2012.

Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie, Ric Sanders, Gerry Conway – aka Fairport Convention, folk rock legends and ‘Britain’s friendliest band’ head Brum-wards for a concert on Friday 9 March at Town Hall.

The Texan folkabilly musician and Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith brings her influential political commentary and traditional music to Town Hall with an evening performance on Monday 12 March.

Hot on her heels comes Joan Baez, accomplished American folk singer with over 50 years experience of performing, a passion for social activism and 30 albums in eight different languages to her credit. An Evening with Joan Baez is on Tuesday 13 March at Symphony Hall.

Close-harmony and funk-jazz singer Caro Emerald kicks off the first night of a mini-UK tour at Symphony Hall on Thursday 15 March in support of debut album Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor, which spent a staggering 30 weeks at number one in the Dutch album charts.

Five comic maestros and over 100 instruments, the Spaghetti Western Orchestra, bring Ennio Morricone scores such as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and For A Few Dollars More to life on stage at on Friday 16 March at Town Hall.

For the third year running, one of Ireland’s best known musical exports The Dubliners choose Town Hall Birmingham to play on St Patrick’s Day night – celebrating 50 years in the business on Saturday 17 March.

Very few artists can claim to have played with Frank Zappa, Gary Moore, Lou Reed, John Mayall and Burt Bacharach amongst other giants of 20th century music. Legendary Cream bassist and songwriter-storyteller Jack Bruce is one such musician. He performs with his Big Blues Band on Thursday 29 March at Town Hall.

Singer-songwriter Charlie Landsborough, awarded Best Male in the British Country Music Awards three years in succession, heads to Town Hall for a performance backed by his five-piece band on Friday 30 March.

Roberto Fonseca, charismatic pianist, co-producer of legendary Havana vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer’s last album and former member of Buena Vista Social Club is joined by hot new cello and vocal talent Ayanna for a night of Afro-Cuban-British sounds on Sunday 1 April at Town Hall.

Kailash Kher, the celebrated Indian singer and composer, performs a selection of his big Bollywood hits such as Allah Ke Bandey, Tu Jaane Na and Chak De Phattay plus new material and favourites from the world-renowned Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on Wednesday 4 April at Symphony Hall. Part of Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary Festival.

Nicknamed ‘The Gentle Giant’ owing to his bass voice, soft tones and six foot plus stature, Texan Don Williams is the real deal when it comes to US country music, having had his songs performed by Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings amongst others. He performs on Tuesday 1 May at Symphony Hall.

Folk-world supergroup The Imagined Village, who count Simon Emmerson, Johnny Kalsi, Eliza and Martin Carthy amongst their regular numbers, and Benjamin Zephaniah, Billy Bragg and Paul Weller as collaborators return to Birmingham for a night of genre smashing music at Town Hall on Monday 21 May.

Up there with The Dubliners as some of the greatest Irish musicians of all times, The Chieftains – a six-time Grammy award winning band – also mark 50 years of bringing traditional music to the world with a concert on Tuesday 5 June at Symphony Hall.

The much-loved Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain celebrate music penned and recorded by the founding father of folk in their inimitable and hugely entertaining way on Thursday 28 June at Town Hall with the specially commissioned concert The Cecil Sharp Songbook: Waly Waly on the Ukulele.

For ticket sales and information on all events please visit or call the Town Hall and Symphony Hall Box Office on 0121 780 3333.

For artist interview, image, review ticket, photo pass requests and all other media enquiries, please contact Lyle Bignon on 0121 644 6028 or via


Notes to editor: #thshfwr

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a Registered Charity No 1053937. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and through a thriving Education and Community department, a further 12,000 young people and over 6,000 adults participate in musical activity of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).

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(£2 fee per transaction on all bookings except those made in person at the box office)

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Issue date
Wednesday 21 December2011