Refugees and migrant musicians from Sudan, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Israel and India have been named in the line up of a new world music ensemble that will make its debut at this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival, which is held over the August Bank Holiday weekend from Friday 25th to Monday 28th August 2017 at the West Mid Showground in Berwick Rd, Shrewsbury.
The Passerine band, led by folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow, will present fresh arrangements of new and traditional music that will explore and celebrate diverse world cultures during its premiere on the festival’s Bellstone stage on Sunday August 27.
The musicians involved in The Passerine are:
- Belinda O’Hooley (UK/Ireland) - musical director/vocals/piano/accordion
- Heidi Tidow (UK/Ireland/Germany) - musical director/vocals/foot percussion
- Sarah Yaseen (UK/Pakistan) - vocals/guitar/darbouka
- Shurooq Abu Nas (Sudan) - vocals
- Avital Raz (Israel) - vocals/guitar/tampura/glockenspiel
- Arian Sadr - (Iran) - daf/goblet drum
- Mina Salama - (Egypt) - oud/ney/vocals/nailute/kawala/duduk/kanun/mandolin/udu-drum
- Vijay Venkat - (India) - violin/flute
- Performance poet Dean Atta (UK/Jamaica/Cyprus) will join the ensemble as narrator and relate new and existing work at the performance.
The Passerine, which means songbird, is one strand of the festival’s Room for All project that will celebrate cultural diversity and highlight the plight of refugees and immigrants. Room for All came as a direct response to the racial hatred and opposition to refugees, migrants and other cultures that emerged during the Brexit campaign.
Belinda O’Hooley said: "The musicians have been handpicked by us. We all have a story about how we came to be in England and how our ethnicity has shaped our experiences and lives; whether we were born here to migrant parents or migrated here ourselves."
Heidi Tidow added: "The Passerine will include stories of flight to safer havens, away from conflict and political oppression, as well as the experience of xenophobia and racial prejudice within the UK. Above all, however, it will be a celebration of the wide-ranging and amazing culture in the UK today."
Room for All also includes a programme of education and outreach work in the rural county that has relatively little exposure to world music and dance. It is being part funded by a £95,000 investment from Arts Council England. Shropshire Council has awarded the festival a £1,000 Arts Revenue Grant.
It follows on from the festival’s successful All Together Now programme that focused on introducing a new audience to world music and dance during 2015 and 2016.
The line-up for Shrewsbury Folk Festival has acts including Andy Fairweather Low & the Low Riders featuring the Hi Riders Special Soul Review; Chris Difford; Coven (Lady Maisery, O’Hooley & Tidow, and Grace Petrie); Daphne’s Flight; Eric Bibb; Faith, Folk and Anarchy (Martyn Joseph, Steve Knightley and Tom Robinson); Jamie Smith’s Mabon; Jim Moray’s Upcetera Ensemble; Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith; John Kirkpatrick; Jon Boden; Le Vent Du Nord; Loudon Wainwright III; Maz O’Connor; Moirai; O'Hooley & Tidow and The Passerine; Oysterband; Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys; Seth Lakeman; Skipinnish; The Rheingans Sisters; The Transports - Peter Bellamy’s groundbreaking folk opera with The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Matthew Crampton, Greg Russell and Rachael McShane; The Unthanks; The Young’uns; Two Man Ting; Wood, Wire and Words. For the full list of bands please see the line-up page.
Tickets to Shrewsbury Folk Festival are priced at £130 for a full weekend ticket, and £155 with camping. A concessions ticket is priced at £125. A youth ticket (aged 12 to 17 years) is priced at £80. A child (aged 5-11 years) ticket is priced at £35. Children aged four and under go free. On-site camping is available to all weekend ticket holders with prices held at £25 per adult, or £10 for youths, free for those aged under 12. There are also day tickets on sale.
In a change to previous years, the site will open from 7am on the Friday for people with camping tickets.
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The Passerine with musicians from Sudan, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Israel and India