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Alina Hip Harp + Shirley Smart Trio (Rescheduled from 20/9/2020)

Sun, September 12, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

Alina Hip Harp + Shirley Smart Trio (rescheduled From 20/9/2020)

Our contribution to this year’s Roman River Festival is an exciting double bill featuring two outstanding artists: harpist Alina Bzhezhinska and cellist Shirley Smart.


“. . . Bzhezhinska shares with Alice [Coltrane] a mastery of the jazz harp.” – Will Hodgkinson, The Times

An artist with a strong reputation for innovation, Alina’s Hip Harp project creates a unique sound on the instrument with electronics and loop pedals, supported by a trio of top-notch musicians.

Through a combination of original works and covers, Alina pays homage to some of jazz, funk and Hip Hop’s greatest innovators, drawing from a variety of influences – from Dorothy Ashby’s ‘Afro-harping’, Alice Coltrane’s spiritual outputs and Sun Ra’s free form jazz experimentation, to 90s Triphop and Kuti-esque Afrobeat rhythms.

Two years ago Alina stormed the UK music scene when her quartet appeared at the Barbican during the EFG London Jazz Festival alongside Denys Baptiste and Pharoah Sanders – subsequently being nominated for Best Live Experience of the Year at the 2018 Jazz FM Awards.

Later, Alina produced her critically acclaimed album, Inspiration, featuring award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi.

​Encouraged by her collaboration with Kamaal Williams, Shabaka Hutchings and Ursula Rucker, this forward-thinking artist now steps out in new jazz territory.

​Alina Bzhezhinska (Harp/FX), Mikele Montolli (Bass), Adam Teixeira (Drums), Joel Prime (Percussion).


“. . . some of the most inventive use of the cello I’ve heard for some time.” – Kind of Jazz

Acknowledged as one of the UK’s most versatile and creative cellists, Shirley is equally at home and well versed in jazz, folk, Middle Eastern and World Music, as well as classical, and her music draws upon this rich tapestry of influences.

Originally trained under Raphael Wallfisch at the Guildhall School of Music, and Janos Starker in Paris, Shirley subsequently moved to Jerusalem, where she studied and performed.

During this period Shirley absorbed the rich and overlapping worlds of North African, Arabic, Turkish and Balkan music, as well as jazz, working with some of the region’s leading artists, including Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Khaled Jubran, Sabreen and Yasmin Levy.

Since returning to the UK, Shirley has quickly garnered a formidable reputation with her own groups and projects, and has worked with many leading jazz and World Music artists, including Antonio Forcione, Mulato Astatke, Gilad Atzmon, Issie Barratt’s Interchange, Neil Cowley, Robert Mitchell and Alice Zawadzki.

Shirley’s 2018 debut album, Long Story Short, received widespread critical acclaim, and she has since performed at festivals around the UK and Europe, including the London Jazz Festival.

Shirley’s trio features two leading lights in World Music and jazz – pianist John Crawford and Spanish percussionist Demi Garcia Sabat.

​Shirley Smart (Cello), John Crawford (Piano), Demi Garcia Sabat (Drums/Percission).


Sun, September 12, 2021
7:30 pm - 10:30 pm


Colchester Arts Centre
Church St
Colchester, CO1 1NF GB
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