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    May 04 2024


    7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

    Songs and Sighs of Earth, Wood and Sky

    FREE: An evocative evening of jazz, folk and improvisation inspired by the natural world, in the lovely riverside setting.

    7.30pm, Saturday 4 May at St Thomas the Martyr at Overmonnow, 7 St Thomas’s Square, Monmouth NP25 5ES

    The evening includes one of the UK’s finest vocal improvisers Maggie Nicols, The Wodwose Trio with top jazz trumpeter Stuart Henderson, Welsh poet Rhys Trimble, sound artist Michael Fairfax, singer Olivia Preye and locally based jazz, folk and improvising musician Lyndon Owen.

    Together they will be creating a rich programme of music, sounds and words inspired by the festival’s theme, ‘The Earth Beneath our Feet’ and by the sounds and stories of earth, wind, water and woods.

    Unticketed – just turn up and enjoy on the evening (subject to space!)

    About the Artists

    Michael Fairfax is a sculptor, public artist and sound explorer living in the woods of Somerset. He graduated from Newport College of Fine Art, since working throughout the UK and abroad. I He worked with Welsh National Opera on a 6 month improvisation project and recently returned from a British Council funded trip to Thailand where I held a number of workshops creating Ear Harps with artists in Chiang Mai and also with Karen Villagers in the jungle who also create their own type of harps from the branches of trees. His public art can be found around the country including major works in Exeter and Newbury.

    Maggie Nicols is a renowned and pioneering singer and improviser who has performed and led workshops around the world. She has been active in the European improvising community since the late 60s. A co-founder of the Feminist Improvising Group she works to further women in improvised music, dance and other creative arts through workshops and collaboration. She has the Gathering, a space for musical exploration in London and Carmarthenshire for over 20 years

    Lyndon Owen is a saxohanist and musician, he curates “NAWR Aberystwyth” concert series, and is Chair of ‘Gwrandewch’, a community arts group whose aim is to bring free world class, new music to Ceredigion. He plays a wide variety of folk wind instruments from Wales, Europe and the Middle East. He is Chair of ‘Music In Monmouth‘, a similar group for Monmouthshire and makes music products for people with Dementia and other cognitive problems.

    Olivia Preye studied Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and then went on to do a Masters there in Leadership. This course sent her around the world studying different kinds of music: gamelan, traditional west African music, Balkan music and set her on the path to love learning about places through their approach to music. The biggest influence on her is Indian classical music. Her deep dive into this culture inspired her to found Voice Yoga UK which is what takes up most of her time these days along with leading workshops and performing with her husband with their duo – Iris Rei.

    The ‘Avant Bard’ Rhys Trimble, Welsh language performer and poet will be bringing his feral hoard of words. Rhys, extensively published and well versed in public performance is a bilingual poet, teacher, visual poet and artist, musician and improvisational performance artist based in Wales. Trimble was born in Zambia, raised in Pontypool and the Neath Valley and lives in Bethesda – He is an important part of Welsh Avant garde.He is the founder of Awen 33 Arts, Bangor North Wales, and is currently visiting poet at Bangor University and WVRF resident Bard.

    The Wodwose are the WVRF music ensemble and Festival band. Specialists in big street band joyful tunes and prosessions, as well as ambient evocative vibes in Abbeys and woodlands. The trio weave together improvisations, folk traditions, spells, jazz and songs and rituals to create their own dreamtime sounds. They play in the woods and in the landscape, in the street and on stages and lead processions. They also lead and inspire larger ensembles, workshops and work with artists, storytellers and singers. The band is led street band veteran Tim Hill, includes the leading jazz trumpet Stuart Henderson and young drummer and percussionist Jo Meikle.