Herne Hill Music Festival showcases a variety of talent and styles

This year’s Herne Hill Music Festval 4 – 13 October celebrates a wealth of music over 21 events in a wide variety of styles, writes Scott Greig

Heads Up @ Off The Cuff Jazz Jam

The festival kicks off on Friday 4 October at the Half Moon pub with a performance of modern jazz tune arrangements and tributes from Herne Hill local Becky Handley and her band. The same evening we have a 2019-approach to “contemporary classical music”, with a live electronic performance from nonclassical composer Gabriel Prokofiev, in the walls of Off The Cuff. See the full programme here.

The following day, Saturday 5th, the festival invites local performers to take part for the first time as musical participants, with the Wind and Brass Playday at St Faith’s church, as well as A Fun Afternoon of Music for younger players at Methodist Hall, facilitated by an inspirational musician and leader. Please see our website for more information and to sign up.

Faith i Branko duo @ Off The Cuff

That evening, world music lovers can enjoy tasteful and curious amalgamations of Gypsy, Jazz, Classical, Indian, Turkish and Balkan music from Faith I Branco on accordion and violin at Off The Cuff. Also there, on Sunday 6 October, young performers showcase their talents at the Junior Open Mic (the largest in the country). All are invited to give their support at this free event.

Later that afternoo Danzon – Blues Guitar Duo play in the Community Greenhouses in Brockwell Park, and in the evening the choral tunes of Bruckner and Rutter will be heard as part of an open evensong service at St Faith’s church, free to attend.

The following week opens with a jazz jam at Off The Cuff on Monday 7th. On Tuesday 8th, real ale lovers will be able to enjoy a pint at Canopy Beer pub, whilst experiencing the Celtic tones of Rob Corcoran & the Necessary Evils.

The festival will also be marking the bicentenary of Herne Hill’s most notable resident and writer John Ruskin’s birth. Ruskin had a lifelong love of music, and this will be celebrated on Wednesday 9th in conjunction with the Herne Hill Society, with Ruskin and Friends, a showcase of Ruskin’s poems as songs for tenor and piano, as well as his readings and works by other composers whose music he both loved and despised, all at Herne Hill United Church.

Then on Thursday 10th we have Listen to the River; Paul Ayres’ musical drawing on Ruskin’s children’s story The King of the Golden River, performed by year 5 pupils of St Saviour’s Junior School. This is followed by the South East London Folk Orchestra, presenting an evening of toe-tapping tunes, songs and ceilidh dancing you can join in with, which is for sure to be a lively and invigorating evening.

The final weekend will begin with the Nu-Phonicjazz quartet, showcasing original contemporary jazz on the evening of Friday 11 October at the Half Moon pub. The following morning you can enjoy a coffee morning with the Carlton String Ensemble quintet at Herne Hill United Church, where donations will be gratefully appreciated in aid of the Norwood and Brixton Food Bank. At 3pm at St Faith’s Church, there will also be four local community choirs singing a range of pop hits to musicals and gospel! Later on at 7:30pm Alexandra Lomeiko and Alexandra Vaduv invite you to their recital of Sonatas by Ravel, Greig, and Beethoven for violin and piano, on behalf of the development charity Practical Action.

Kemi Omoniyi @ Brockwell Hall

The final day of the festival (Sunday 13 October) begins in the afternoon with a Family Concert with Just Kemi Music at Brockwell Hall, taking the audience on a journey through musical eras of the violin and other string instruments, experiencing their true versatilities. Just outside, on Brockwell Park’s performance space, Jazz will once again be making its appearance in a free open air concert from the South London Jazz Orchestra.  Nkomba, a contemporary African Folk band will also be performing an energetic mixture of Malawian folk songs and African roots music. Finally, take a step back into a bygone age with Silent Film and Music at St Faith’s Church, where you will be able to experience a classic silent film of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last with live piano accompaniment from Ashley Valentine.