Jazz, Folk, World & Roots Music at Town Hall & Symphony Hall, April - July 2011


The Congolese super-group Staff Benda Bilili, Spanish jazz-flamenco guitarist Eduardo Niebla, Nashville bluesman Gregg Allman and genre-bending crossover stars Penguin Cafe are amongst additions to the jazz, folk, world and roots music line-up at Town Hall and Symphony Hall for Spring and Summer 2011.

In April, May, June and July, Town Hall and Symphony Hall present a further choice of concerts featuring artists from around the world, alongside the popular free Rush Hour Blues, Mid-day Mantra and Folk For Free sessions which take place regularly, all featuring the very best of established and unsigned talent from the jazz, folk, world and roots communities.

Since the start of the season in January, Birmingham?s leading concert venues have hosted a number of incredible performances, including a sold out show by Port Isaac?s Fisherman?s Friends, one of only two UK concerts by avant-jazz pianist Uri Caine, a welcome return to the city for Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle and a critically acclaimed gig at Town Hall by 4AD?s Iron & Wine.


Legendary jazz and soul singer Patti Austin makes a rare visit to the UK to join the BBC Big Band for an evening of music taken from her Avant Gershwin album on Friday 13 May at Town Hall. The concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 2?s Big Band Special. The BBC Big Band return to Town Hall on 17 June for a Great Swing Battles soundclash with the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra, featuring classic scores from the great bands of Count Basie and Benny Goodman amongst others.

Eduardo Niebla recreates live flamenco-jazz blended with classical Indian instrumentation from his recent album My Gyspy Waltz at Town Hall on 22 June.

The popular Birmingham Jazz*-programmed Friday night gig slot of *Rush Hour Blues continues to move from strength to strength with the following shows all taking place in the Level 3 Bar at Symphony Hall:

Lizzy Parkes (29 April), Mark Goodchild Band (13 May), John Martin Quartet (20 May), Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra (27 May), Tim Amann X-Tet (3 June), Fret & Fiddle (10 June), Kevin Figues Quartet (17 June) and Son de la Vie (24 June).

The grand elder statesman of jazz in Birmingham, Andy Hamilton MBE, performs with his band The Bluenotes in popular Saturday afternoon sessions Sax In The City, also free in the Level 3 Bar at Symphony Hall and taking place on 21 May, 4 Jun and 23 July.

Arthur Jeffe and the young band that make up the redefined Penguin Cafe arrive at Town Hall on 8 July promising the wonderful blend of jazz, classical and world influences that mark them out as pionners amongst their peers. Soul, jazz and R&B star Al Jarreau performs on 24 July at Symphony Hall as part of his Jazz FM supported Greatest Hits tour.


Christy Moore, often described as ?the Irish Woody Guthrie?, takes up the stage with long time musical cohort Declan Sinnott at Town Hall on Monday 18 April, while the social activist and veteran US singer-songwriter Judy Collins performs at the venue on Tuesday 7 June.

Folk For Free, a monthly Thursday evening session presented in association with promoters Moseley Folk, hosts Poppy Tibbetts on 19 May and The Carrivick Sisters on 16 Jun, both in the Level 3 Bar at Symphony Hall.


Town Hall welcomes another groundbreaking partnership to the stage on 29 April as musical pioneer Talvin Singh teams up with Indian classical sitarist Niladri Kumar for a live performance of material from joint new album Together; and one of Portugal?s greatest fado singers, Mariza, promises an exciting and intimate concert in the majestic surroundings of Town Hall on 10 May.

Following the release of debut album Tres Tres Fort and recent film Benda Bilili! Congolese street musicians turned world music superstars Staff Benda Bilili conquered the UK music press and live circuit. They bring their incredible story of triumph over adversity and electrifying performance to Town Hall on 14 May with the young World Circuit artist Fatoumata Diawara in support.

Male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, 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 on 2 June. India?s most esteemed musical ambassador, performer, composer, teacher and writer Ravi Shankar visits Symphony Hall on 16 June for a very special evening of ragas featuring sitar, tabla and flute – possibly one of the world music events of 2011.

Delivered in partnership with the South Asian arts organisation Sampad, the regular free Saturday afternoon Mid-day Mantra sessions present outstanding artists from the UK and the Indian subcontinent in the Level 3 Bar at Symphony Hall including the forthcoming Indus (28 May), Rupinder Panesar (11 June) and Ravichandra Kulur (16 July).


Fresh from the release of T-Bone Burnett produced album Low Country Blues, Gregg Allman, the legendary rhythm and blues artist and ex-Allman Brothers Band member, visits Symphony Hall for one of only three UK tour performances this year on 2 July.


The internationally acclaimed female a capella group Black Voices team up with local favourites Town Hall Gospel Choir on 1 May and direct from New York, the Harlem Gospel Choir debut at the concert venue with an uplifting and memorable performance on 14 June.

Tickets for all shows can be purchased from Town Hall & Symphony Hall Box Office in person at either venue, by telephone on 0121 780 3333 and via


Notes to editor:

Media enquiries

Interviews are available with selected artists and further information and images are available. Please contact: Lyle Bignon via or on 0121 644 6028 with requests


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 a thriving Education and Community department reaches a further 10,000 people 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).

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


Christy Moore with Declan Sinnott
Town Hall, Birmingham
8.00pm, Monday 18 April

Talvin Singh and Niladri Kumar
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Friday 29 April
�12.50, �16.50, �19.50

Black Voices & Town Hall Gospel Choir
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Sunday 1 May

Mariza – Fado Tradicional
Town Hall, Birmingham
8.00pm, Tuesday 10 May

Avant Gershwin: Patti Austin & the BBC Big Band
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Friday 13 May
�12.50, �16.50, �19.50, �25.00

Staff Benda Bilili
Town Hall, Birmingham
8.00pm, Saturday 14 May

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Thursday 2 June
�24.00, �26.00 and �27.50

Judy Collins
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Tuesday 7 June

The Harlem Gospel Choir
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Tuesday 14 June
�17.50, �21.50

Great Swing Battles: The BBC Big Band Meet the Midlands Jazz Orchestra
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Friday 17 June
�12.50, �16.50, �19.50

Ravi Shankar: The 90th Birthday Tour
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Thursday 16 June
�25.00, �35.00, �45.00, �55.00, �75.00

The Eduardo Niebla Experience
Town Hall, Birmingham
7.30pm, Wednesday 22 June

Gregg Allman: The Low Country Blues Tour
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
8.00pm, Saturday 2 July
�10.00, �20.00, �25.00

An Evening with Penguin Cafe
Town Hall, Birmingham
8.00pm, Friday 8 July

Town Hall & Symphony Hall Press Office
Fiona Fraser
Press & PR Manager
T 0121 644 5008 (Direct)

Lyle Bignon
Assistant Press & PR Manager
T 0121 644 6028 (Direct)

Eleanor Chapman
Press Assistant
T 0121 644 6078 (Direct

Issue date: Thursday 13 April 2011