• Miles Hedley

WINTER WONDERS at Woolwich Works

Updated: May 24


Some of the world’s best contemporary music is being played live on our doorstep in the winter season at new arts complex Woolwich Works


Highlights include gigs by international stars such as Woolwich-born Afrikan Boy (above), soul queen Mica Paris, Caribbean poet and musician Anthony Joseph and West African sensation Boubacar Kafanda.


And it’s not just music on offer – you can also catch some theatre or a night of top-class comedy starring the likes of Phil Wang.


The season opens on 21 January with the acclaimed Bring Your Own Baby comedy show which features two acts in a 75-minute midday event for under-ones and their parents.


A week later you can catch Myele Manzanza, a world-renowned drummer, composer and producer famed for blending jazz, electronica and world music. His gig on the 28th is followed next day by Matters Unknown, multi-instrumentalist Jonny Enser’s mix of rootsy blues and contemporary grooves.


The February schedule begins on the 4th with Dollars Trio whose playlist incorporates spaghetti western themes, soul, hiphop, funk and jazz. They will be joined by guest singer Adé Omotayo.


More jazz on the 5th with Pyjæn, a highly-regarded five-piece made up of guitar, trumpet, sax, bass and drums. And on the 11th, acclaimed Trinidad-born poet, novelist and musician Anthony Joseph will be in the spotlight on the venue’s Fireworks Factory stage with a quintet led by saxophonist Jason Yarde, while in the Beanfeast area you can hear Gabriele Poso perform his Caribbean-influenced new album Tamburo Infinito.


Ace stand-up Phil Wang tops the bill at a night of comedy featuring special guests – still to be announced – on the 12th. And from the 16th to the 18th there is a special Comedy Club 4 Kids.


From 1 to 4 March at Beanfeast you can see A Waltz In New Orleans, a new play by drummer-producer Lucan Keen about a man who claims to have invented jazz. The one-man show is backed by live music.


And at the Fireworks Factory on the 4th you can welcome home Afrikan Boy, whose relentless rise from the streets of Woolwich to global fame has seen him perform alongside such musical luminaries as Paul McCartney, Damon Albarn and Femi Kuti.


As if that’s not enough, the following night sees a blistering set by Britain’s Queen of Soul Mica Paris who, like Afrikan Boy, was one of the star turns at the Woolwich Works’ opening gala last September. And while she is singing in the Fireworks Factory, Beanfeast is hosting Burkina Faso kora and n’goni virtuoso Boubacar Kafanda and his Zaama Nooma Band. Oh, what a night!


Tributes are paid to two of contemporary music’s finest women vocalists in March. On the 18th Berlin-based jazz collective BackTracked celebrate Missy Elliott and the following evening the National Youth Jazz Orchestra remember the late, great Amy Winehouse who sang with them when she was just 16.


The month ends with Big Smoke Brass, a London sextet comprising four trumpets, sousaphone and drums who will be playing their unique interpretations of pop classics on the 26th


Tickets and full details of all the events at https://www.woolwich.works/whats-on




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