From Jungle to John Surman, we've got some epic gigs to go to this May. We shine a light on just a few of the many amazing contemporary music events at this year’s Festival.
Jungle were one of 2014's most explosive newcomers, with their joyous funk pop seducing crowds across the globe. After releasing their massive break-out single Busy Earning, London-based soul/funk outfit Jungle flew right onto the radar in 2014 with this instant classic. Their joyous menagerie of past and future styles immediately put these hardworking musicians on ‘band to watch’ lists worldwide and sent their debut self-titled album into charts worldwide (eventually going Gold in the UK). Formed in 2013 by childhood friends J and T, they have expanded to a powerhouse seven-piece band to perform the music live, creating a spectacular on-stage effect.
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Mon 7 May, 7.00pm. Book now on the event page.
Chris Jones, reviewing for the BBC, has called John Surman “one of the foremost innovators when it comes to defining the saxophone's place in modern music” and The Times said of him: “In his ability to blend some of the methods and textures of modern jazz with a wholly English sensibility, Surman is a true original.”
John Douglas Surman is an English jazz saxophone, bass clarinet, and synthesizer player, and composer of free jazz and modal jazz, often using themes from folk music. He has composed and performed music for dance performances and film soundtracks, and worked with a huge variety of musicians.
St George's Church, Thu 10 May, 8.00pm. Book now on the event page.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the global music stage, Nakhane is an LGBTQ trailblazer with a powerful voice. One of South Africa’s most exciting talents as an award-winning singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, he is a truly unique voice in modern pop. Listen to his beautiful rendition of You Will Not Die from his album of the same name above.
St George's Church, Sat 19 May, 2.30pm. Book now on the event page.
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
Between two world class virtuosos, comes a meeting of harp and kora. Leading classical harpist Catrin Finch and inspired kora player Seckou Keita combine forces to explore the traditions of Wales and Senegal. Both nations share a centuries old bardic-griot tradition of intricate oral history expressed through music, song and verse. The harp and the kora, instruments from the same family, occupy a vital place in these rich cultures. Catrin and Seckou dig deep into Manding and Celtic roots whilst adding a fresh sound of their own. They will be performing music from their long-awaited second album Soar, inspired by the migration of the osprey.
St George's Church, Sat 26 May, 2.30pm. Book now on the event page.
Les Amazones d’Afrique
West Africa's first all-female super group has formed in the fight against violence towards women. This incredible collective of female stars are singing out against gender inequality over a soundtrack of funk, blues and dub. Inspired by the formidable warriors of Dahomey, Les Amazones d’Afrique elegantly combine the Mandingo tradition with the power of today’s African megacities. The women of Les Amazones d'Afrique have decided to use music as their weapon in an attempt to address the mentalities that continue to perpetuate disempowerment.
This collective features some of the greatest Malian musicians of the moment: Mamani Keita, Rokia Koné, Mariam Doumbia, Awa Singho and Mariam Koné. Between them they have years of charitable work supporting other women, alongside personal struggles of illness and disability that have been overcome.
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Thu 24 May, 7.30pm. Book now on the event page. For more information on the many other amazing performances including Amanda Palmer, Xylouris White and Lankum, see the full Contemporary Music Programme. You can discover more about the great gigs coming up this May in the second part of our Brighton Festival Music blog.