Concerts with conversation return in Sheffield

John Boden
John Boden
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Following a successful first year with seven sold-out events, TalkingGigs returns for another series in Sheffield this month.

The first gig features John Spiers in conversation and playing solo at Heeley Institute tomorrow (Friday).

John is probably Britain’s best-known exponent of the melodeon and concertina and is perhaps best known for his playing with Bellowhead – the 11 piece folk big-band which grew out of his work with Jon Boden.

His appearance comes he eve of Bellowhead’s farewell tour which begins in November. The evening will be an intimate mixture of chat and music.

The second event - at Sheffield University’s Firth Hall next Thursday - is the first collaboration between TalkingGigs and the university’s Global Soundtracks series, featuring Mali’s ngoni wizard Bassekou Kouyate.

This will be a unique opportunity to hear one of Africa’s premier global artists who has made the cross-over to a more mainstream audience, playing and talking about the ngoni, his music, griot culture and recent events in Mali.

As well as playing solo, Bassekou will be talking to author and journalist Andy Morgan who hosted the successful TalkingGig with Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni of internationally-famed Touareg rockers Tinariwen last November.

Later gigs in the series feature Ngawang Lodup, the former Tibetan monk-turned-singer who recently became the first world music artist to join the “BBC Introducing” initiative, and Vula Viel whose astonishing melding of jazz with north Ghanaian music is already causing ripples across the music world.

Each gig offers insights into the life, work and culture of an artist, mixing conversation with performance, questions from the audience and sometimes visuals.

n Visit for more information.