BRB Series

Hello everybody! We’ll be releasing a series of short concerts each week beginning this Friday (12 June). We’ve put together great little series that reflects our live concert programme, with a mix of jazz, classical, folk and all the stuff that doesn’t fit neatly elsewhere. Concerts are short and sweet (15 – 25 mins), informal and beautifully performed.

We know, it’s not the same, but it’ll keep us going til we all get together again. Vids will be posted on Facebook and YouTube and available to watch whenever suits.

Hope you enjoy!

BRB Concert #1 Kris Drever (released 12/06/20)

First up in the BRB Series is Kris Drever!
We’re long-time fans, welcoming Kris to the city many times over the years. His voice and guitar is a part of the backbone of today’s contemporary roots and folk scene. Hugely admired as a solo artist, collaborator, and member of folk superstars Lau, he is a phenomenal and prolific artist. Collaborations are varied and plentiful working with Jack Bruce, Bela Fleck, Tinariwen, Joan As Police Woman, Jerry Douglas, Kate Rusby, Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart and many, many more. Thanks for taking part Kris, hope you’re keeping well!


BRB Concert #2 Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey (released 19/06/20)

All the way from their living room in Brooklyn NYC, we are delighted to have Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey join us for BRB Concert #2

Two of the most imaginative improvisers in New York, Ingrid and Tom have worked together in various projects since 2007. We have welcomed them to Belfast a few times over the years (most recently as part of Ingrid Laubrock‘s Anti-House 4 in 2018) and they always deliver.

Whether it’s original compositions, free improvisations or standards, their connection and understanding of each other’s playing is a joy to witness. Collaborators include Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jason Moran, Kenny Werner, Fred Hersch Tim Berne, Mary Halvorson, Tyshawn Sorey, Kris Davis and so on…too many to list!

Granted, it’s not the normal setting…but it’s pretty damn great! Enjoy.

“Any sax and drums duo requires a certain amount of connection if it’s going to work, but few achieve the relaxed intimacy enjoyed by Laubrock and Rainey.” – The Wire


BRB Concert #3 Alex Petcu (released 26/06/20)

Put simply, Alex Petcu’s playing is mesmerising. We have worked with Alex many times over the years, and he always leaves us in awe.

Releasing his first album for solo percussion in 2015, the Cork-born musician has quickly developed a reputation for innovation in the world of percussion, often utilising improvised instruments including bottles, beer-kegs, scrap metal, car parts – “everything makes a sound when you hit it” says Alex.

A member of the Crash Ensemble, the classically trained percussionist was born into quite the musical dynasty. His mother, Romanian violinist Ruxandra Colan, came to Ireland in 1978 to play with the RTÉ String Quartet, and was followed by his father, Adrian Petcu. His older sister, Ioana, is also a violin player, and associate leader with the Ulster Orchestra. But it was drums that grabbed the attention of Alex, and we’re all the happier for it!

For this concert Alex has put together a beautiful programme of Bach,

Ravel, and Komitas – often accompanying himself via split screen – and for the final piece is joined by sister, Ioana on violin. Enjoy!

– Bach: Prelude from English Suite No 2
– Ravel: Alborada del Gracioso (arranged by Safri Duo)
– Komitas: Ampel A (an Armenian folk song, with Ioana)


BRB Concert #4 Sam Lee (released 03/07/20)

For BRB Concert number 4 we welcome Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, conservationist, song collector, award winning promoter, broadcaster, activist and all-round lovely fella, Sam Lee, to sing us a few tunes.

A highly inventive and original singer, Sam has spent years collecting, conserving and reimagining songs learnt from the traveller communities throughout the British Isles. Alongside his organisation The Nest Collective, Sam has helped break the boundaries between folk and contemporary music, breathing new life into some of the most beautiful but seldom heard music. For this concert Sam reminisces about his times in Belfast and beautifully presents 4 songs, unaccompanied. What a voice.


BRB Concert #5 Xenia Pestova Bennett (released 10/07/20)

The fifth concert in the BRB Series comes from the extraordinary, Dr Xenia Pestova Bennett.
Described as “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” (Tempo), she has earned a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire alongside masterpieces from the past. We have had the privilege of working with Xenia in the past and her concerts are always spellbinding.
As well as being a concert pianist and educator, Xenia is also a certified yoga instructor and anxiety coach. It’s worth mentioning she is kindly offering a free webinar named ‘Performance Anxiety and Self-Sabotage: Working with our Inner Critic’ later this month and you are welcome to register on her Facebook page. Space are limited so please book.

But back to the BRB Series. For this concert, Xenia performs three pieces, the first of which is a premiere, and the second was written at the start of the lockdown and explores the restlessness and anxiety of the time. Enjoy. It is pretty special!

Karlheinz Essl: “Prends le Fa” for piano
1. Trois cent notes, 2. Tremblant, 3. Le même, différent…
Yfat Soul Zisso: “Restlessness” for toy piano
Pauline Oliveros: “Breaking Boundaries”, version for the Magnetic Resonator Piano

(instrument designer: Andrew McPherson, audio recording: Shaun Crook, video recording: Samuel Ziajka (Huske Media).)


BRB Concert #6 Jessie Ann Richardson & Michael Trainor (released 17/07/20)

We have reached #6 in our BRB series! Today we have a beautiful duo performance from Michael Trainor (violin) and Jessie Ann Richardson (cello).

Michael and Jessie are both members of the award winning Piatti Quartet, who we have had the absolute pleasure of presenting on tour on a number of occasions. For this video they have recorded a performance of the rarely heard ‘8 pieces for Violin and Cello, Op.39’ by Russian composer Reinhold Glière, enjoy!

Reinhold Glière; 8 Pieces for Violin and Cellon, Op.39 Prelude / Gavotte / Berceuse / Canzonetta / Intermezzo / Impromptu / Scherzo / Etude


BRB Series #7 Suhail Yusuf Khan (released 23/07/20)

We were first introduced to Suhail Yusuf Khan (and his beautiful hair) through the band Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, where he performs alongside James Yorkston and Jon Thorne. We have welcomed the group to Belfast three times – 2016, 2017 and in 2019 as part of the Out to Lunch Festival. We absolutely loved those concerts. Such special nights. Suhail’s playing and voice has stayed with us since. It is incredibly comforting and taps into something otherworldly. We are delighted he has taken part in the BRB Series and has kindly written a little overview on each of the pieces of music he performs, which we’ve included in the video. He also sent through a little intro which you can read below. Thanks Suhail, hope to see you soon!

“As a sarangi (Indian-bowed instrument) player, vocalist, composer, and ethnomusicologist, I bring together expertise from a performance career that has already extended over twenty-years, creative musical practices, and ongoing academic research. My playing explores new modes of expression in Hindustani music, contemporary rock fusion, pop, folk, jazz, and experimental music. In my ethnographic scholarship, I draw from my own personal experiences as an eighth-generation musician belonging to a hereditary lineage of Hindustani musicians. To help new audiences connect with the riches of this repertoire, I situate the Hindustani musical tradition in a wider, more international context. I have been featured on more than fifteen albums and am currently signed to Domino records, U.K. The music you are about to watch was performed, re-arranged, and selected exclusively for this web series. I was really touched when Mick from Moving On Music got in touch and asked me to come up with this content. We are all still learning how to adapt to the new methods of performing on virtual platforms, and overcoming the challenges. I present you here with a set of four songs that were specifically re-worked and researched in response to the ongoing situation in the world. While listening to them, I invite you to be receptive to the feelings they evoke. These feelings might include loneliness, fear, home sickness, vulnerability, but also determination, exhilaration, and hope. I have been carrying these songs and their many emotions since my upbringing in Delhi. Some of these songs have already had lives in earlier centuries while others were composed by my gurus (teachers) over the last four decades. I feel honoured that MOM has given me the opportunity to present this music to you. I hope that after listening you will feel that this sound world also belongs to you! Thank you so much for listening, Suhail Yusuf Khan”


BRB Series #8 Leyla McCalla (released 30/07/20)

We absolutely love this little concert Leyla McCalla has sent through, all the way from New Orleans. Leyla’s music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, projecting a respect for eloquent simplicity that is rarely achieved. Born in New York City to Haitian emigrant parents, Leyla was raised in suburban New Jersey. As a teenager, she relocated to Accra, Ghana for two years, before studying cello performance and chamber music ay New York University. Armed with Bach’s Cello Suites, Leyla moved to New Orleans to perform on the streets of the French Quarter. It was this move that signalled a journey of musical and cultural discovery. The more she learned about the history of Louisiana – its ties to Haiti and French speaking culture – the more sense of belonging she felt. This lead to her joining Carolina Chocolate Drops, Our Native Daughters, and an extensive solo career. Her most recent release The Capitalist Blues has been receiving great press and we can understand why having had a listen! It’s terrific. Hope you visit us in the not-too-distant Leyla! In the meantime, have a watch of this. Your day will improve!


BRB Series #9 Marisa Anderson (released 07/08/20)

Marisa Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. Her deeply original work applies elements of minimalism, electronic music, drone and 20th century classical music to compositions based on blues, jazz and gospel and country music, re-imagining the landscape of American music. We welcomed Marisa to Belfast in 2018 and she charmed everyone in attendance at the Black Box one warm August evening. It was a brilliant gig – incredibly laid back with plenty of neck craning to get a glimpse of her playing. It sounded like there were 3 hands playing at points. She is a master storyteller, bringing warmth, wit and insight to her virtuosic compositions and arrangements. Afterwards, Marisa stayed for a few pints of Guinness, sharing more stories of her nomadic lifestyle, about walking from West to East coast of America more than once. It’s been lovely chatting to Marisa via email to get the video organised and we’ve promised to have another pint in the future! Weirdly she made a brief and unexpected appearance in a film I was watching just the other week (‘Leave No Trace’. Worth a watch 🙂 ) which I took as a nice omen! Anyway, have a watch! It’s a great little concert and lovely reminder of a gig gone by.