• Tunde Jegede & NOK Orchestra

    By Chris Wells on January 20, 2020
    Tunde Jegede & NOK Orchestra Emmanuel Church, London. The second instalment of the Salon Concert series is timely. Into The Night, a major exhibition at the Barbican centre is coming to an end and the far less well known Emmanuel Church in Holloway, north London is giving a prime example of what was celebrated in that show, namely global club […]
  • Give Me The Night

    By Chris Wells on January 9, 2020
    Into The Night [London, Barbican] By Kevin Le Gendre In recent years reports of the death of club culture may have been greatly exaggerated, but it can be argued that mega emporiums and superstar DJs no longer attract as many stomping feet as they did a decade ago. Into The Night is a timely reminder of the deep roots of […]
  • Moon Child

    By Chris Wells on November 14, 2019
    Keisha Thompson: Man On The Moon, [London, Bernie Grant Arts Centre] Part of the well-programmed Tottenham Literature Festival, this excellent one woman show is a brave exploration of family dynamics, mental health and racial politics in contemporary Britain, where these conversations need to take place a lot more often. Keisha Thompson proves more than up to the task in a fearlessly […]
  • Book Review: Absolutely Massive

    By Chris Wells on June 3, 2019
    Massive Attack Out Of The Comfort Zone The Story of A Sound, A City And A Group Of Revolutionary Artists [Tangent] By Melissa Chemam What is not in the title is ‘Bristol’, but chances are that most people will be able to work that out under their own steam. After all, Massive Attack have come to symbolize the creative verve of […]
  • Freedom Sounds

    By Chris Wells on March 26, 2019
    Freedom Song Hackney Empire, London. Louis Armstrong’s beaming smile in the corridor of ‘London’s most beautiful theatre’ serves as a reminder of its pedigree. The innovative trumpeter was here in 1934, but the trail blazed by African-American performers in Britain years before the marketing of the music known as jazz also included the gospel ensemble, Fisk Jubilee Singers. This excellent […]
  • Shakespeare’s Sistas

    By Chris Wells on March 14, 2019
    Richard 11 [Shakespeare’s Globe, London. Photo: Ingrid Pollard] Shakespeare with an all-women-of-colour cast has become the main, perhaps inevitable, media story of this production, yet there is much more to note. Above all the joint direction of Lynette Linton and Adjoa Andoh is a triumph in itself, not least because of the coherence they achieve as a team when taking […]
  • Drums & Colours

    By Chris Wells on August 1, 2018
        Drums And Colours Knowledge Centre, British Library, London. Just a stone’s throw from this packed lecture theatre is an exhibition on The Windrush, which is well worth a visit. If the 70th anniversary of ‘mass migration’ from the West Indies is a cultural and political high watermark in modern Britain – if indeed as few as 500 hardy […]
  • Once More With Feeling

    By Chris Wells on July 26, 2018
    FEELING FESTIVAL – TENERIFE JUNE 29, 2018 By John Masouri. Tenerife, the so-called ‘Island Of Eternal Spring’, is the ideal place for a reggae festival with its sun-drenched climate and long-standing popularity as a holiday destination. [Not to mention the fact that it’s less than two hundred miles from Africa.] Starting off in the north of the island, this second […]
  • Betty Davis: Different Strokes

    By Chris Wells on July 24, 2018
    Kevin Le Gendre talks to Phil Cox, director of Betty Davis: They Say I’m Different. 1] When did you discover the music of Betty Davis? “In 2012 as a director I was looking for new project to embark on, something lyrical and with music. It was then that I was introduced to Betty’s music and the fact that she had […]
  • Tina – The Musical

    By Chris Wells on April 20, 2018
    Aldwych Theatre, London If you’re going to stage an all-singin’, all-dancin’, rags-to-riches bio-jukebox musical, then few life tales come as tall as Miss Turner’s. You literally couldn’t make it up. Tina careers through four decades of triumph and tragedy: taking in snapshots of everything from the shameless racism encountered touring the south in the ‘60s and her abusive marriage to Ike, to […]