Brighton Festival 2017Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

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Brighton Festival 2017 goes down a storm

The 51st Brighton Festival - with acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest as Guest Director - came to a storming conclusion last weekend. 

The three-week celebration of the arts saw events take place in more venues across the city than ever before - from the South Downs to Brighton Marina to Woodvale cemetery - drawing a ticketed audience of over 81,000, the largest ever in the Festival’s 51-year-history.

At a political and social moment that feels particularly precarious, the wide-ranging programme paid homage to what Tempest calls the ‘Everyday Epic’ - art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes.

None did this more successfully than the UK Premiere of The Gabriels, Tony-award-winning playwright Richard Nelson’s extraordinarily, intimate depiction of one American family, written and set in real time during the turbulent US election year. The plays received a series of 5* reviews and were lauded by critics as ‘deeply moving portraits of the dissolving American dream’ (The Guardian), ‘a quietly stunning theatrical achievement’ (The Stage), and ‘miraculous, almost invisible craft’ (The Arts Desk).

Kate Tempest herself featured in a plethora of performances both large and small: including an exclusive opening gig of music and spoken word, her largest full band performance to date; and a live orchestration of her recent album Let Them Eat Chaos, produced in collaboration with Oscar-nominated artist Mica Levi. All were rapturously received by sell-out audiences – with fans taking to Twitter to proclaim the likes of: “Transcendent doesn't even cover it: Kate you blew my mind. Thank you”.

Reflecting on the experience Tempest says:

“It’s felt crazy - the things that I’ve been doing have been things that I never would have had the opportunity to try out, had it not been for this particular Festival, for example getting the opportunity to play with a string and woodwind ensemble. That was an experience that I’ve dreamed of, but was completely impossible. 

To get that many players of that calibre together, and to do it in a way that felt like it was providing something new for the work. It felt like a real moment of artistic endeavour and true collaboration." 

With an audience of 15,000 over 16 evenings, one of the Festival’s biggest talking-points was For the Birds, a spectacular night-time trail of sound and light installations at a secret woodland location. The largest ticketed event ever presented at Brighton Festival, this unique event set social media abuzz throughout the month, with audiences dubbing it ‘mesmerising’, ‘fascinating’ and ‘beautiful”.

Reflecting Tempest’s belief that: ‘The arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes’, two new ventures ensured Brighton Festival 2017 did just that: The Storytelling Army, a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life popped up in unusual locations across the city to tell their ‘Everyday Epic’ stories - in turn humorous, inspiring, thought-provoking, emotional, and rousing; and new initiative Your Place, in partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, brought a diverse line-up of free performances, workshops and activities Festival artists and local residents to the Hangleton and East Brighton communities. A resounding success, 1500 people took part in Your Place across two weekends.

Brighton Festival audiences were also encouraged to join the Pay-It-Forward movement for the first time in another new initiative which offered the chance to donate £5 on top of ticket prices which was match-funded to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity. The response was phenomenal with over a thousand people choosing to pay tickets forward in the lead up to the Festival.

As Tempest herself said:

"One of my big hopes was that we could do just what we have done, which is to bring the Festival out a little bit, open it up, and have some events going on in the communities, so people who can’t make it into town for whatever reason, still get to access some of the great programming and some of that feeling of this Festival.”

Other Brighton Festival 2017 highlights included an ethereal promenade performance through Woodvale Cemetery for Circa’s Depart; Kneehigh’s acclaimed production of Emma Rice’s staging of Tristan & Yseult; a special performance from legendary folk singer Shirley Collins; a major new co-commission from sculptor Cathie Pilkington; a virtual exploration of the Australian outback with Lynette Wallworth’s thought-provoking Virtual Reality film experience Collisions; two special events to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of Monteverdi: and an inspirational sold-out book tour event from US Senator Bernie Sanders.

As ever this year’s Festival has been a triumph of partnership working, made possible through collaborations with many major organisations across the city and beyond including Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts, Lighthouse, Fabrica, University of Brighton, Onca Gallery, Theatre Royal Brighton and Without Walls amongst others.

2017 also saw the highest number of shows yet live-streamed to audiences around the world for free, thanks to the on-going partnership with Greater Brighton Metropolitan College with highlights including Kate Tempest’s collaboration with Mica Levi and Orchestrate, an extravaganza of music and performance by queer artists of colour headlined by Mykki Blanco, and playful dance theatre by Joan Clevillé Dance with Plan B for Utopia.

Sponsorship and corporate support has also been vital this year with generous contributions from new and returning sponsors and supporters including London Gatwick Airport, University of Sussex, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, GM Building, Griffith Smith Farringdon Webb, Lulu.com, Nutshell Construction, Yeomans Toyota Brighton, Selits, and ZSTa.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “Bringing Brighton Festival together is a great privilege and this year with Kate Tempest’s inspiration we’ve been thrilled to have reached new audiences and achieved some fantastic new records. But it is only possible because of the extraordinary support we have from funders, patrons, supporters, sponsors, members, partners and artists. We are also blessed with one of the most adventurous, curious and experimental audiences anywhere. I would like to thank everyone for their invaluable contributions, for making Brighton Festival what it is and for bringing this wonderful city and its wonderful festival to life.”

Star of The Gabriels actor Maryann Plunkett announced as narrator of Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait for Brighton Festival finale

Britten Sinfonia and Brighton Festival Chorus bring Brighton Festival 2017 to a resplendent close with Aaron Copland's rousing Lincoln Portrait, alongside John Adams's glittering symphony, Harmonium.

We're delighted to announce that our narrator will be actor Maryann Plunkett, who plays Mary Gabriel in Richard Nelson’s trilogy The Gabriels, which has garnered a clutch of five-star reviews since its Brighton Festival UK premiere last weekend.

In 1942, shortly after the USA entered WW2 Copland was commissioned to write a work to fortify and comfort people during the time of national distress. The resulting Lincoln Portrait is a stirring setting of extracts from great speeches made by Abraham Lincoln, including the Gettysburg Address.

Other famous narrators have included the likes of Neil Armstrong, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Katharine Hepburn, and Barack Obama.

Maryann Plunkett also played Barbara in Richard Nelson’s The Apple Family Plays (Brighton Festival 2015), while her Broadway credits include Agnes of God, Sunday in the Park with George and Me and My Girl (for which she received a Tony Award). 

Britten Sinfonia and Brighton Festival Chorus are at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Sun 28 May, 7.30pm

Young people from Brighton Youth Centre create graffiti mural inspired by the Storytelling Army

Young people from Brighton Youth Centre have created a mural responding to a piece of writing by a member of Brighton Festival’s Storytelling Army, under the guidance of local artist and muralist Sinna One.

Brighton Festival commission the Storytelling Army is produced by nabokov theatre company who are working to assemble and mobilise a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life - including those who are homeless and vulnerably housed – who will be popping up to tell their stories in unexpected locations throughout Brighton over the last weekend of this year’s Festival, 26-28 May.

The mural, which is on the wall of Coffee@33 on Trafalgar street, was inspired by a piece of writing by one member of the Storytelling Army wrote about the kindness of people who buy her coffee.

Sinna One, who runs art classes at Brighton Youth Centre, says ‘Those guys when they come into the art room at the youth centre, they don’t always get to experience what I do as a job, and out on the street as well. It’s nice because it gives them a sense of working in the community as well.’

Fashion student Finley Marshall, who took the lead painting the mural, says ‘I’ve lived here all my life and I love Brighton so much. I loved the idea of spray painting. There’s loads of graffiti work all around Brighton, and getting to be a part of it is really great. I really like the concept [of the Storytelling Army] that people are just going to start telling stories places.’

Our sponsors' top picks for Brighton Festival 2017

We asked a few of our sponsors what they were most excited about for Brighton Festival 2017. Here are their top picks.

ZSTA - Richard Zinzan – Partner

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see?

10 or more

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round? 

Yes

What are your top 3 picks of the Brighton Festival 2017 programme and why?

Chineke Orchestra

Kate Tempest with Mica Levi

This Bright Field (though not seen it yet!)

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

This is ZST architects second year supporting the Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival. As a local creative architectural and Interior design practice we are passionate about culture, arts and the city. It’s important for local businesses to support the festival to allow it to continue on with its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation. The festival really puts Brighton on the cultural map and celebrates its individual atmosphere that we are all proud to be part of.

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Gary Miller – GM Building

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see? 

This year I am attending 15 events (17 if you include the all the Gabriel Plays as separate shows). I am a patron as well as a sponsor so talking to the programmers and other Patrons usually informs my choices and also The festival director, Andrew, gives a preview of the festival to the patrons which is an invaluable insight into what to expect.

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round? 

Reasonably regular , I come to plays, Spectrum, rock and Pop concerts in the Dome and the odd comedy event.

What are your top 3 picks of the Brighton Festival 2017 programme and why?

As the festival is not over difficult to say what my top pick are. But I do think the Gabriel plays will be good. Swan lake and Kate Tempests Chaos were both stunning, and I have heard nothing but praise for the Birds, and this is the sort of event that you can only see at a festival like Brighton.

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

I came to the festival via the children’s parade and my daughter’s desire to be a contemporary dancer and a desire to understand the workings of an industry that was alien to me. But I continue to support the festival as it is difficult not to be moved by the enthusiasm, hard work and sheer skill of the performers and artists. Culture is a very important part of what makes Brighton the vibrant place it is and without the Dome and Festival it would be a lot duller.

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University of Sussex - Laura McDermott - Creative Director

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see?

I see as much as I possibly can during Brighton Festival. I love festivals, the energy they bring to a city and how they help you see your environment afresh. I'll see several events each week - obviously everything at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, where we are co-producing a programme of events including the Uk Premiere of The Public Theater's The Gabriels trilogy by Richard Nelson. I also prioritise events that are in interesting or unusual spaces - in venues like The Spire or outdoors - up on the downs or out at sea.

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round?

Yes - I love visiting Brighton Dome, especially for gigs in the opulent concert hall. Last time I went (to see Future Islands) a musician in the support band referenced the fact that the hall used to be the stables of the palace. She said "we're all like Prince Regent's horses". It seemed a good excuse to jump about dancing.

What are your top 3 picks of the Brighton Festival 2017 programme and why?

Lynnette Walworth's Collisons at Lighthouse (part of the Australia in Brighton strand of the festival) - a beautifully cinematic and political use of virtual reality, which has had a real-world impact.

For the Birds by Jony Easterby et al - a truly magical woodland adventture after-dark, sensitively installed amongst the trees in a secret location up on the South Downs.

Mykki Blanco at The Spire, presented by The Marlborough Pub & Theatre - the hottest ticket, this will be a truly iconic festival closing party.

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

University of Sussex is serious about its commitment to the local community and Brighton Festival is a brilliantly visible, celebratory way to demonstrate that commitment, alongside the work the University and its students undertakes year round in service to our community.

The University of Sussex are supporters of Brighton Festival. Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, part of the University of Sussex, are also co-producers for Brighton Festival 2017.

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Vicky King – GSFW

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see?

I always try to attend a handful of events during Brighton Festival and the launch event is the best insight into the upcoming schedule – then it’s home with a highlight to work my way through the programme!

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round?

I absolutely love the Brighton Dome as a venue and attend numerous music gigs, comedy performance and dance acts throughout the whole year.

What are your top 3 picks of the Brighton Festival 2017 programme and why?

Hot 8 Brass Band – I have heard great things about this group and they didn’t disappoint! I couldn’t stand still, such a fun and lively atmosphere! For the Birds – such an unusual but interesting event, it is nothing I have experienced before but such a great opportunity to get outdoors. Breakin Convention – I love dance and music combined and this event is perfect. Looking forward to seeing the amazing talent on display.

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

As a firm, this is our third year supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival. We feel that is it part of the Brighton community and culture and without the support of local businesses it wouldn’t be able to continue. The events that this venue and Festival allows us all to be part of is truly spectacular and we look forward to supporting for many years to come.

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Ben Copper – Nutshell Construction

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see?

What we attend, and how often, differs year on year. The past few years have been a particularly exciting time to be working in UK construction, so we always expect to learn about emerging trends whenever we network at the Festival. For us, it’s all about mixing with a variety of different specialisms, from architects and designers, to local technology companies to get a real flavour of what’s going on in the South East inside and outside our bubble!

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round?

We happen to come from a family of folk singers so the arts are an incredibly important part of who we are and what we do. That’s why we try to support the Dome and the variety of acts it hosts all year round. As well as visiting a range of events and performances, we’re also lucky enough to regularly host our very own events in this historical and beautiful venue.

What are your top 3 picks of the Brighton Festival 2017 programme and why?

With a whole month of incredible events, it’s tricky to pick just 3. One of our top highlights has to be the Your Place programme, which we’re incredibly proud to have been involved in this year. It truly brought Brighton’s communities together, which is what we think the Festival is all about.

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

As a Sussex company to the core, we truly value everything to do with the community and its culture. The Brighton Festival is a hugely important part of what makes the city and the county as a whole and we are always proud to be part of it. The festival also allows us to talk to clients old and new in a different setting from our usual building sites. 

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Lulu.com

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see?

We attended the opening day of the festival and we were stationed in the Dome throughout the day and so were delighted to see the children's carnival when we arrived and also the Kate Tempest opening gig. Throughout the afternoon in the Dome we were lucky to be able to listen to children playing music from the schools around Brighton.

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round?

This is the first year we have sponsored the festival and our first visit to the beautiful Dome.

What are your top 3 picks of the Brighton Festival 2017 programme and why?

The Children's Parade was fantastic and the carnival animals were made with such care and attention. Many of the animal creations were brought into the Dome after the carnival and it was quite something to see an 8ft+ high duck coming through the door of the Dome.

The Kate Tempest opening gig was electric and a sell out and the Dome was alive and buzzing as people arrived.

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

We are supporting the theme of Everyday Epic by running a short story writing competition in conjunction with Brighton Festival and nabokov's Storytelling Army. We are delighted to be able to bring together the most basic of human conditions, that of verbal story telling into the written form. 


The deadline for entries to Lulu.com Short Story Competition has been extended

The short story writing competition launched by Lulu.com, sponsor of Brighton Festival commission the Storytelling Army, is now open to entries until Wednesday 24 May.

The publisher invites all Sussex residents over the age of 18 to respond to Brighton Festival Guest Director Kate Tempest’s theme Everyday Epic, the observations and achievements of our daily lives which we piece together to celebrate and share our common humanity.

Four lucky competition winners will be announced during the last week of the Festival. The winning stories will be combined into an anthology, alongside stories from the Storytelling Army, and published as a paperback book. UK based marketing and PR company Authoright will also be supporting the book with a publicity campaign once it is published; ensuring the Everyday Epic stories reach as many readers as possible after the competition ends.

Brighton Festival is working with nabokov theatre company and Guest Director Kate Tempest to assemble and mobilise the Storytelling Army: a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life - including those who are homeless and vulnerably housed – who will perform in unexpected locations throughout Brighton over the last weekend of this year’s Festival.

Entry is free and stories must be no more than 4,000 words (there is no minimum word count) and must be received electronically by midnight GMT on 24 May 2017. Entries must be submitted electronically as a word or pdf document and the document must contain: your name, your address, your age, your e mail contact details, the title of your submission, the word count, your twitter handle (if relevant). Entries should be emailed to social_uk@lulu.com.

For full Terms and Conditions visit lulu-uk.blog. Alternatively email social_uk@lulu.com for the competition entry rules.

New app The Hum invites festival-goers to view Brighton in a new light

The Hum, a free app which highlights the beauty in the everyday, is now available to download.

A Brighton Festival co-commission conceived and directed by Nic Sandiland, The Hum is a reflection and meditation on our own everyday interactions with the city. Half cinema, half reality, the piece weaves together visuals with a specially composed soundtrack.

Festival-goers will be invited to follow a trail on their smartphone screen, guided by the app to 15 locations within walking distance, around the city, and on arrival a narrated soundtrack will be played.

The Hum incorporates text from four diverse artists including: international dance artist Wendy Houston, dance writer for The Times Donald Hutera, Maria Oshodi director of Extant Theatre Company of visually impaired people and live artist Pete Phillips, to a sound score by musician James Keane. These writers explore the subtle qualities of observed and experienced movement to create their own idiosyncratic narratives ranging from the poetic and humorous through to the ironic and subversive.

Director Nic Sandiland says ‘The Hum gives audiences a new perspective on the everyday happenings in Brighton. Set to an emotive musical score with thought provoking text the piece takes you on a journey through 15 often-overlooked places in the city, places that we take for granted. The Hum makes us look at the mundane acts which take place in these places and by elevating them to the status of a feature film. At times profound yet often personal it is an immersive work that reveals an alternative view of the city through the movements that take place within it.’

Click here to download The Hum on Apple and Android devices

Your Place brings diverse line-up of music, dance, theatre and spoken word events to Hangleton and East Brighton communities

As part of a new partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Brighton Festival has been working with local residents and festival artists to programme an exciting and diverse line-up of free music, dance, theatre and spoken word in the Hangleton and East Brighton communities.

Hosted by local community centres, Your Place is coming to East Brighton and Hangleton with free workshops, performances and activities for the whole family over two weekends, beginning with Hangleton 13-14 May, then East Brighton 19-21 May. Along with community steering groups in partnership with the Hangleton and Knoll Project and Due East in East Brighton, this year’s inspiring Guest Director Kate Tempest and local company Nutshell Construction to create the space, we have selected and shaped an events programme with these communities in mind.

This programme plays a critical part of Kate Tempest’s vision for this year’s Brighton Festival of enabling as many people in the city as possible to access the festival. In her words: 'The arts should be social, not elitist. They should be part of our everyday life. They should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes.'

Highlights from the Your Place Hangleton programme (13 to 14 May) include:

Acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere’s Pinhole Camera Workshop (14 May), teaching families how to build their own pinhole camera and document local history; Guest Director Kate Tempest (13 May) performing poetry from her incredible back catalogue; Culture Clash (13 May)with award winning poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons and rapper and battle MC Ceezlin, who will both also be coaching rap, poetry and comedy; a special one-off showcase from AudioActive (13 May) a music organisation working with young people at the meeting point of technology and contemporary urban culture; a singing workshop from Appalachian folk artists Anna and Elizabeth (14 May); a performance of Tighten Our Belts, a theatre show about the cost of austerity by Brighton People’s Theatre; and an array of workshops for all ages including a workshop run by Nutshell Construction to make Book Swap Boxes (13 May), as part of the City Reads city-wide project.

Highlights from the Your Place East Brighton programme (19-21 May) include:

A night of Spoken Word (20 May) as Kate Tempest performs poetry from her latest anthology, also with performances by national poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons, and Ceezlin (on tour with Rag ‘n’ Bone Man); Tales of Birbal (19 May) where Mashi Theatre’s travelling storytellers tell ancient stories from across the Indian subcontinent; Virgin Territory (20 May) workshop delivered by Vincent Dance Theatre for young people and adults to investigate the challenges that young people face in a selfie-obsessed world; Three Score Dance & Ceyda Tanc Dance (20 & 21 May), Three Score Dance a company for people aged 60+ perform a new Brighton Festival commission choreographed by Ceyda Tanc and her youth company; an oral history workshop by acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere; Help! I think I might be Fabulous! (20 May) a hilarious and heart-warming show from Alfie Ordinary; other workshops include building and decorating Book Swap Boxes (20 May) with Nutshell Construction, and Hidden Mazes (21 May) which uses art and drama to explore the experience of navigating the world with an invisible disability.

Kate Tempest, Brighton Festival 2017 Guest Director says 'I thought it was important that as well as having this very exciting, cosmopolitan festival happening in the city centre, with all this buzz and hype and all this energy that gets built up from people seeing something, spilling out on to the street, I wanted it to also represent the wider population of Brighton who maybe can’t afford to get in to the city centre. I wanted to bring a bit of what was happening in the Brighton Festival out to a bit more of Brighton. We’ve got this really cool initiative called Your Place – which is probably the thing I’m most excited about. There will be performances from Brighton Festival artists and also participatory events and workshops. Everything completely free, programmed in conjunction and consultation with people that run some of the community programmes out of those community centres.'

Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre says 'The community has been really hands on engaged from start to finish in the overall planning and management of the project. I think the arts and creativity are important to everyone, I think everyone is creative but not everyone gets the opportunity to express that creativity.'

All Your Place events are free but ticketed. To book call Brighton Festival Ticket Office on 01273709709 or download a comprehensive guide 

Belem: a lyrical melange of merriment & melancholy through interwoven folk, tango & classical traditions

Joe Fuller previews the pioneering spirit of the cello-accordion duo ahead of their Brighton Festival debut

The rhythmic momentum of Didier Laloy's accordion and Kathy Adam's cello in Belem should make for a rousing late night gig. The duo performed together in European folk band Panta Rhei, so this concert is of interest to those interested in world music, folk and tango as well as classical music fans, and the unique interplay of the two musicians should flourish in a live setting. I'll highlight some of the best moments from Belem's music below to explore the musical possibilities in this idiosyncratic fusion of poignant jollity.

The video below highlights the differences between the two musicians' styles. Kathy Adam is mostly classical focused in her recordings and performances, although she has also worked in theatre, dance and song. Adam often seems to provide the classical heart of the works, whereas Didier can come across as almost mischievous at times, the jester to Adam's bard. Personally, I like it when the two meet in a more plaintive mode, such as the ponderous playing around the three minute mark in this clip of Le puits, romaniste.


The melodic lines are closer to pop than classical in their occasional major resolutions, such as in album highlight Scampavita, the track which comes closest to traditional chamber music. The rhythms in their work are often folky however, conjuring images of storytelling, ales, jaunts, and energy to me, with a tinge of role playing video games fantasy about them too. There is also a tango lilt to proceedings that the more lithe in the audience might enjoy, and some parts even sound like sea shanties (such as parts of Le puits, romaniste) so there is certainly a wide spectrum of moods to absorb in the show. 



Belem should be praised for trying something new in the context of chamber music, which often focuses on string quartets. More attention is inevitably directed towards individual melodies and performing styles in chamber music, as opposed to the kaleidoscope of an orchestral concert, which can result in more moving, intimate concerts. One of my most memorable classical shows was Huw Wiggin's saxophone and James Sherlock's piano in a 2015 lunchtime Festival concert, when technically challenging pieces and virtuoso playing took my breath away. Belem's show therefore might be a good choice for classical fans who might want to hear different tones, moods and colours in a concert than what they might be used to.

Live reviews have been positive, noting that the audience has responded to melancholic elements, and the vocal quality of the cello playing. The terms poetic and tender have also been used, suggesting that years of playing together have ensured that Laloy and Adam know how to grab an audience's attention in a delicate, emotive way, which is an impressive achievement considering how loud the accordion can be. It's a novel proposition to explore the tender qualities of the accordion in fact, such as in the more downbeat track Valse Noire where Laloy provides a soft, mournful underpinning to Adam's pining cello, resulting in a brighter Max Richter-type drone around the 2 minute mark.

I wouldn't be surprised to find such a duo at a smaller, rowdier venue such as The Bee's Mouth or Komedia's Studio Bar, but the picturesque All Saints Church could emphasise the more poetic aspects of the duo's refreshing collaboration. The charismatic and energetic performers should find a receptive audience in the artful, bawdy eclecticism of a Brighton Festival crowd keen to hear something new.   

Belem performs on Fri 19 May at All Saints Church, Hove. Click for more info and tickets >

Brighton Festival welcomes Bernie Sanders for special Festival Extra event

Former Democratic candidate for President of the United States Bernie Sanders will speak about his new book Our Revolution at a special Brighton Festival Extra event on Thursday 1 June, with tickets on sale from Wednesday 3 May at 10am (members pre-sale Tuesday 2 May at 10am).

Bernie Sanders will join Brighton Festival’s diverse Books and Debate programme, which includes Gary Younge discussing the role of guns in Trump’s America; Tariq Ali on his portrait of Lenin, and how we might challenge capitalism today; Palestine’s leading writer Raja Shehadeh on the Israeli occupation of Palestine; celebrated novelist Hanif Kureishi looking back on a career in which he has explored identity, cultural difference, and religious fundamentalism; and Democracy Debate: What Comes Next? in which Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee chairs a panel of top thinkers and politicians to debate the future of our political system.

Bernie Sanders stormed to international headlines after running an extraordinary campaign for the Democratic primaries that saw over 13 million people turn out to vote for him, and changing the global discussion surrounding US politics. But how did a complete unknown and an avowed socialist make such waves?

In Our Revolution, Sanders provides a unique insight into the campaign that galvanized a movement, sharing experiences from the campaign trail and the techniques that shaped it. And it wasn't just his use of new media; Sanders' message resonated with millions. His supporters are young and old, dissatisfied with expanding social inequality, struggling with economic instability and who rebelled against a political elite who has long ignored them. This is a global phenomenon, driving movements from Syriza in Greece to Podemos in Spain and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

Drawing on decades of experience as activist and politician, Sanders outlines his ideas for continuing this political revolution. He shows how we can fight for a progressive economic, environmental, racial and social justice agenda that creates jobs, raises wages and protects the environment. Searing in its assessment of the current political and economic situation, but hopeful and inspiring in its vision of the future, this book contains an important message for anyone tired of 'same as usual' politics and looking for a way to change the game.

Bernie Sanders ran to be the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. He is currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. Sanders previously served as mayor of Vermont's largest city for eight years.

Bernie Sanders Our Revolution: A Future to Believe in is coming to Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Thursday 1 June. 

Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival Members pre-sale: Tuesday 2 May at 10am. Tickets go on general sale: Wednesday 3 May at 10am

An exclusive concert celebrates the luminous music of Monteverdi for voice and orchestra

Hearing a sublime singer has always been one of the most thrilling live experiences, in both popular and classical music. The concert with Les Talens Lyriques with Christophe Rousset at this year's Festival, showcasing works by Monteverdi, is a fine opportunity to hear the musical voice as pioneered by the highly influential 17th century composer.

Les Talens Lyriques will have just performed the works in Holland with the Dutch National Opera in the week preceding this concert, so a lot of thought will have gone into the action and drama of the pieces. This show is the only time to hear them perform this work in the UK this year: this is therefore an exciting gig on many levels, be it for the chance to see an in-demand conductor in Brighton, to celebrate the work of a magnificent composer in his 450th birthday year, to hear a rare combination of Monteverdi's works, or to see an internationally lauded ensemble in Brighton Dome's Concert Hall perform some stunning music.

The concert will feature a combination of singers and musicians without any operatic staging, which gives a clear musical focus to the performance and gives you the chance to hear some superb singers without the often intimidating cost of the opera hall. The bill is a selection of madrigals, which is a fascinating form in musical history. A madrigal is a secular vocal composition for a number of different voices, and Monteverdi strove to illuminate every shade of emotion in the poetic works by introducing music to the form (early madrigals were a capella).

You don't have to be a historian or musicologist to appreciate the concert however, just try any of my Spotify playlist to sample some of the beautiful music you'll get to hear. I've selected a punchy, fast-paced Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, because I love how the pace can hurtle along (like it does around the 6.50 mark) and then crawl down into mournful tones with a drone-like backing. It's irresistibly gorgeous, but the riveting twists and turns might take a few listens to unpack for anyone unfamiliar with early music.


You can then switch from the tragic tale of Tancredi mistakenly killing his lover Clorinda in Il combattimento to the more danceable, sprightly Il ballo delle Ingrate, which shimmers with a prominent harpsichord and decadent orchestration. Il ballo is beautiful in a more lustrous, languid and opulent manner to Il combattimento, and I've included a link to a sharply recorded version that handily breaks up all of the smaller movements to give you a taste of the diverse short bursts of the whole piece. The Overture alone is expansive and enveloping, and directly melodic in the bold way that early music can be: immerse yourself in it now to reap the musical rewards on the evening.

Lamento d'Arianna meanwhile sounds more aria-like than the other works, rendered all the more sparsely striking in Anne Sofie von Otter's performance on the playlist. The fragment from a lost opera is imbued with the grief of Arianna who longs for death in words non-Italian speakers might not understand, but the powerful, emotive vocal part is devastatingly moving regardless.

Musical Director Christophe Rousset is a renowned harpsichordist and conductor, who will conduct the upcoming production of early Mozart opera Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Royal Opera House in the summer. You can hear him conduct Les Talens Lyriques performing the work via this Spotify link if you want to hear if Rousset and his ensemble play to your liking!

Whether you're a classical muso or a music lover of any stripe, this concert presents a highly affordable opportunity to hear some of the earliest, most moving writing for voices ever composed, performed by some of the world's best singers and musicians. The works will have been carefully honed over six performances with the Dutch National Opera in the week before the Brighton gig, and it will be thrilling to hear the fresh interpretations that Les Talens Lyriques will bring to the Concert Hall.

Words by Joe Fuller