Sue Martin, the director of Roots around the World, is a very interesting character.
I’m she sure has many a vibrant story to tell, having set up the company in 2002 with her then husband Mark Ringwood and since worked with many famous, not so famous, but usually influential, musicians and singers.
Roots around the World was created through an Arts Council grant with the stated aim of bringing World Music to West Sussex. Sue brought many talented performers to the area for many years. She also organised a World Music educational project in the area that ran for two years. Eventually, however, the funding faded out and although it became a struggle to keep the concept alive, Sue persisted, especially as an audience had been built up during those years and she had faith in the project. And so, bringing her business and social acumen to bear upon the problem, Roots around the World built on a relationship already extant with Chichester Festival Theatre and brought such acts as Kate Rusby, Capercaillie, the Oysterband, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and Chichester-born pianist Zoe Rahman to the theatre.
The theatre is closed at the moment, but Roots around the World has a programme of great music lined up for the autumn in and around Chichester, most being gigs at the Chichester Inn and occasionally at the surprisingly spacious Walberton Village Hall between Chichester and Arundel. Sue tells me the performers love playing these gigs, and they want to come back and play them again as the intimate atmosphere has a real buzz to it.
Here are some of the highlights to come this autumn:
Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman
Tue 15th October at Walberton Village Hall
Gordon Giltrap first came to prominence in his late teens when he was a singer/songwriter in London, a contemporary of Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Al Stewart et al. He later concentrated on instrumental music, featuring his unique self-taught style. Strangely one of his tunes was used on the long running BBC program ‘Holiday’ for seven years, replacing, even more bizarrely, Love’s ‘The Castle.’
Keyboardist Oliver Wakeman, son of Rick Wakeman, teamed up with Gordon in 2012 and they released the album ‘Ravens & Lullabies’ which features both on their respective instruments. They will be performing pieces from this album on the night as well as new arrangements of classic material from their careers. An evening of beautiful compositions, wit and charm from these virtuosos.
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion
Sat 16th of November at the Chichester Inn
We at ingénu/e know Zoe and her husband and guitarist Rob Koral fairly well. We bumped into them playing one of their jazz duo gigs one summer a few years ago and being very impressed, have kept tabs on them ever since, while also seeing them occasionally at other gigs. They are very down to earth people, passionate about their music, and we promote them whenever we can. They keep threatening to invite us over for a barbeque, but despite the incredibly good summer, we just haven’t got it together. Since that first meeting Zoe and Rob have created Blue Commotion and have put together a band line up of considerable talent. Their album ‘Good Times’ has brought rave reviews here and in the USA and they have just released their latest, mainly self-penned album ‘the blues don’t scare me’.
Southern Tenant Folk Union
Sat 23rd November at the Chichester Inn
Edinburgh based Southern Tenant Folk Union played a song from their new album ‘Hello Cold Goodbye Sun’ live on The Andrew Marr Show in September. Such exposure is not new to the band as they have been praised by critics in all the national broadsheets as well as having many radio plays and appearances. Their music has strong bluegrass influences but defies stereotyping; they could be from Scotland, Ireland or America. You wouldn’t know until you heard their accents.
Sat 30th November at the Chichester Inn
BabaJack are fast becoming one of the most sought after bands on the blues, roots and acoustic circuits in the UK and Europe. Their brand of blues is contemporary, powerful and acoustic. They combine great musicianship, passion, energy and charismatic performance to create a great show. Becky Tate and Trevor Steger are the songwriting core of BabaJack. They have already released three albums since 2009, each one getting greater attention from the media and the music loving public.
What sets BabaJack apart is their approach to blues: their music is recognisably infused by early blues, but by no means bound by it. Becky Tate brings roots, funk and African rhythms and her beautiful lyrical voice, and Trevor Stegor brings his own flavour of punk meets Ry Cooder to his slide style and harmonica. In the tradition of the early blues, they make their own instruments: Trevor’s homemade growling ‘WineBox’ guitars and Becky’s cajon (box drum) and stomp. For their latest album ‘Running Man’ they have been joined by Tosh Murase on drums, Adam Bertenshaw on bass and Julia Palmer Price (cellist for Nigel Kennedy) on cello.
Visit www.rootsaroundtheworld.com – a very informative website, with a downloadable brochure about all the autumn gigs in the area. Sue’s hard work keeping live music alive in the area deserves as much support as possible.