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Free World Music Concerts at SOAS, University of London

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Published 1 February 2010

Come and enjoy world-class performances hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, organized by their Department of Music, the largest European centre for world music studies.

The series of concerts run through the whole academic year (from September until May), and normally one or two concerts are held each month. Sticking to its principles, SOAS hosts groups, artists from all around the globe. Japan, Niger, South & North Africa, Brazil, and Cuba have all been represented on stage with sweeping success this season, and the forthcoming concerts promise more of the same.

On the 5th of February, the kora – a traditionally 21-string West African harp-lute – will be featured with the help of Kadialy Kouyate and his band called Sound Archive. The Senegalese-born musician follows the steps of West African kora-players like Toumani Diabaté, Mamadou Diabaté, and Mory Kanté. Jalis, the traditional name for kora players, come from griot families, who are storytellers & historians who pass traditions on to their descendants, similar to the European concept of bards. They commemorate ancestors and celebrate their history through music and song, and by doing so they play significant role in heritage preservation. This concert will bring together traditional and modern tunes -inspired from the West African griot repertoire of the Mandinka tradition-, complementing the enticing voice of the kora instrument with a double bass, chello and percussion.

Another exciting upcoming performance is one by the Merlin Shepherd Quartet, bringing together Jewish Eastern Europe, Greece and Turkey, promising to offer another tantalising slice of our global musical tradition. According to Songlines magazine, they are ‘Britain’s finest Klezmer clarinetist’. It does sound like a treat indeed!

March will present two extraordinary events. Soumik Datta, while doing his Master’s degree in Music Composition at Trinity College of Music, became known in the UK for his brilliant technique, smart and fiery play on the classical Indian sarod instrument. Following his performance on the 11th, the London Bulgarian Choir are going to take us on a journey around Bulgaria on the 23rd, expressing simultaneously love and pain in their voice that is so typical of this region.

The last month of the series will include Grupo Lokito, a Latin-Congolese fusion -said to be a SOAS favourite-, and the Zimbaremabwe, a group from Zimbabwe playing the traditional, spirit-lifting Shona music that should not be missed. Arrive early to avoid disappointment; seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis!

SOAS Concert Series 2010 Listing Schedule

5th February – KK & Sound Archive
26th February – Merlin Shepherd Quartet
11th March – Soumik Datta
23rd March – London Bulgarian Choir
21st April – Grupo Lokito
29th April – Zimbaremabwe

All concerts start at 7pm

Venue: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG (Google Map)

Tickets & Booking: Free admission to concerts – booking not required and seats allocated on a first come first serve basis

Article contributed by Adrienn Gecse


  • http://sanjivphotography.com Sanyi

    Dear Adrien,

    I really like the way you wrote it,
    in simple and informative language.
    Enjoyed reading.
    Keep doing good work.

    Best regards
    Sanyi

  • Adrienn

    Thank you for the comment Sanjiv, I appreciate it. Take care!

  • http://www.lightstalkers.org/edberonc Ed BeronC

    Thanks Ad, found the information very relevant and appropriate, cultural events that should not be missed.
    S.O.A.S brings the musicians to us in these magic encounters.
    thanks again.

  • Adrienn

    Thank you for the comment, Ed.