Our weekly festival, every Tuesday at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden through the summertime, with Stuart McCallum & Ríoghnach Connolly's phenomenal project The Breath, violinist and storyteller Alice Zawadzki and folk innovators Lunatraktors.
The Breath is guitarist Stuart McCallum and singer Ríoghnach (pron. Ray-nuh) Connolly. Based in Manchester their unique take on alt-folk journeys from lush, beguiling storytelling to uplifting, punch-the-air anthems. At its heart is Rioghnach’ s deeply soulful, utterly engaging, stop-you-in-your-tracks voice, set alongside Stuart’s understated brilliance and their exquisitely crafted, personal songs. The duo share a remarkable connection on stage which make The Breath’s live performances utterly compelling.
For the Breath, it’s all about the song. Connolly writes the only way she knows how; a stream of poetic consciousness giving rise to honest, personal, heartfelt songs as likely to touch on childhood summers and first love as cultural dislocation, post-colonial injustices and grief. But it’s her deeply soulful, utterly engaging, stop-you-in-your-tracks voice – whether delicate and hushed or powerful and gutsy - coupled with Stuart's understated brilliance and their exquisitely crafted songs, that give The Breath such emotional depth.
Vocalist, violinist, and composer, Alice Zawadzki, is a distinctive presence on the European creative scene. Her rich musical background and “whimsical hyper-creativity” (MOJO Magazine) draw upon her early exposure to New Orleans jazz and gospel after years on the road as a teenager with the legendary Lillian Boutte, an extensive classical training as a violinist, and a continuous exploration of improvisation, poetry, and folk music from diverse traditions, “all propelled in a voice of velvet suppleness and gutsy emotional power” (The Arts Desk). She performs extensively as a soloist and a collaborator internationally, having played in Canada, the States, Brazil, Europe and the Far East. Her debut album China Lane was made Album of the Week by BBC Radio 3, had numerous radio and live appearances, was described by The Guardian as “a genuine original” and led to her being nominated for vocalist of the year by both Jazz FM and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. As an interpreter of new and unusual works, she has premiered several large-scale works both in the UK and abroad. She trained in Jazz voice and composition at the Royal Academy of Music and in violin at the Royal Northern College of Music, with scholarships from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and the Hilda Collens Prize.
Alice brings a stripped back and intimate performance to Woodburner, weaving ancient, modern, and invented folklore into a set of delicious pieces to share.
What's left when everything is taken away from us – our tools, technology and libraries, even our homes, communities and citizenship? What's left is what we have learned by heart and we can do with our bodies: our voices, hands and feet. Using techniques from body percussion, tap dance, overtone singing and physical theatre, performance duo Lunatraktors explore a set of British, Irish and Australian ballads to rediscover folk music as a queer space of personal and political transformation. Weaving the tragedy and comedy of these traditional tales with hypnotic acoustic percussion and harmonies, Lunatraktors create a genre-defying, "spellbinding" performance on the borders of music, theatre and live art.
Combining the percussive and choreographic talents of ex-Stomp member Carli Jefferson with the four octave range and haunting overtones of trans folk singer Clair Le Couteur, Lunatraktors use the basic ingredients of body and voice to conjure up expansive, unexpected spaces. The duo are equally at home improvising with hands, feet and voices on a station platform, or electrifying a festival stage with custom drum kit, live loops and analogue synth. Lunatraktors strip folk down and rebuild it with influences from clowning, cabaret, art punk, flamenco and trip-hop. The tales they unearth of bravery in the face of forced migration, political unrest, and abuse of authority find particular resonances today. Debut album ‘This is Broken Folk’ will be released on May 18, 2019 (12” / CD / digital).
ABOUT THIS EVENT
Since our first season in 2013, our event at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden has always inspired audiences in a unique and thrilling way. This season of events captures the essence of a weekend rural festival in the centre of Dalston on a Tuesday evening.
The phenomenal surrounds of the garden combine with delicious pizzas from David Latto, and a supreme and ever-evolving roster of acts, to create a magical atmosphere which brings people together in a friendly and welcoming space.
It's a community of music-lovers joining to celebrate the warm months in a carefree and supportive atmosphere, with a compelling live soundtrack.