For the 12th instalment of Leeds’ biggest free annual multi-arts event, the venue will stage a five hour continuous programme of music to bewitch, soothe and enthral, amidst a sea of glowing lights and projections, from 6pm to 11pm.
Keita, who won the Africa & Middle East category in this year’s Songlines Music Awards, last visited the Howard Assembly Room for a sold out concert with Welsh harpist Catrin Finch in 2015. A descendant of both Malian aristocracy and Senegalese griots (hereditary musicians), his exquisite, hypnotic mastery of the 22-string African harp weaves his own rich tradition with countless other influences.
Another musician who casts his net wide, the distinguished Lebanese oud player Abdul Salam Kheir combines a background in classical Arabic song with Moorish, Indian and Flamenco influences and counts Led Zeppelin among an illustrious list of collaborators.
Returning from last year’s hugely popular Light Night event, violinist David Le Page and cellist Clare O’Connell are founder members of London-based CHROMA ensemble. Their eclectic set will take in Baroque chamber music by JS Bach, Le Page’s own radical reworking of Joy Division and meditative contemporary works by John Tavener and Arvo Pärt.
Completing the bill, jazz drummer Eric Ford draws on rhythms from North and West Africa, Madagascar, Cuba and Brazil. The Howard Assembly Room’s atmospheric Victorian interior will be filled with light and sound as the musicians take turns to perform from separate stages around the room, and combine forces on improvisations in between.
Opera North Projects Manager Jo Nockels comments:
Light Night this year is really the essence of the Howard Assembly Room: international performers who we’ve loved working with over the years, glorious music right up close to our audience, and a touch of theatrical magic.
Light Night: Entranced takes place at the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds from 6pm to 11pm on Friday 7 October. Admission is free, no booking is necessary and audiences can drop in at any time throughout the evening.
Light Night 2015 at the Howard Assembly Room. Credit: Tom Arber
Clare O'Connell performing at Light Night 2015 at the Howard Assembly Room. Credit: Tom Arber