f you’ve had an evening stroll past the grounds of Walthamstow Village’s St Mary’s Church recently, you might have heard the reverberations of some gypsy jazz, Indonesian Gamelan or Bristolian folk emanating from the halls of the 12th century church.
For a little over a year, the space has doubled up as a 350-capacity music hall and gained notoriety for its push to introduce quality live music from all corners of the globe right to the heart of the community.
Esteemed artists like British saxophonist Soweto Kinch, Brazilian folk singer Renata Rosa and the 15-piece African ensemble The Nile Project – whose musicians come from the eleven countries the river flows through – have already serenaded audiences in the unique space, their talents amplified by the church’s naturally impeccable acoustics and top-of-the-range sound system.
Charged by the success of this project, the team have decided to venture a couple of miles east in order to launch a similar hive of musical activity in Leytonstone’s St John’s Church.
“By partnering with a local church and making use of the amazing spaces that churches are, we want to give access to incredible music to people who may not normally experience it,” says the Music Hall project’s Fran.
The launch night (Fri 28th Sep) will see the kora player, singer and multi-instrumentalist Diabel Cissokho, part of the great line of Cissokho griots from Senegal. That’s followed by a folk double-bill (9th November) with Tarantella Roots band Telamure, who play beautiful music from southern Italy, and melodean player Andy Cutting (also part of Blowzabella). That show will be part of the 2018 London Roots Festival.
Sounds like the front row pew at St John’s will soon be a highly sought after E11 ticket.