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Maja Mannila Trio

mjf @ First Street (Main Stage)

Maja Mannila vocals, keyboards / Johannes Granroth bass / Severi Sorjonen drums  

Maja Mannila is an impressively talented young jazz-soul singer, pianist and composer from Helsinki, here making her mjf debut. Together with her band, she performs her own songs in English, in a style combining r’n’b, soul, jazz and gospel. The band’s electrifying energy and stage presence captivate audiences from the very first notes. 

Maja grew up in a musical family and has an impressive command of the piano, but at the same time she celebrates the importance of freedom and fun when creating and playing music. Maja’s talent has also been spotted by English drummer Richard Spaven and singer Anthony Strong, who have invited Maja to perform with them. The trio was selected to represent new Finnish jazz for the 2023 Nordic Jazz Comets showcase, and the band has also performed in Germany, Slovenia and Estonia.

The future looks bright as Mannila heads for international touring and recording, both with her ensemble and as solo artist. In 2023, she performed as soloist in her own material with the Kaunas Big Band in Lithuania, she’s a member of fast-rising ensemble Peela and in 2021-22 Maja played and sang in pianist Iiro Rantala’s new trio Flock, which toured throughout Central Europe. 

Maja’s debut album Up & Down (2022) was well-received by the media and her second album Seasons was released in November 2023. 

“The band, playfully combining new age soul with jazz, offers an international soundscape that would certainly appeal to those aforementioned youngsters.” 

“In a performance by a talented trio, the spotlight is on Mannila herself, whose deep and honeyed voice is one of the best to be found in this country. Mannila’s vocal delivery is natural and effortless, suveneer in its skill.” 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:10 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

A Hologram Maze

mjf @ First Street (Main Stage)

David Austin Grey piano, keyboards, electronics / Xhosa Cole saxophone, flute / Sam Wooster trumpet, electronics / Shivraj Singh double bass / Nathan Jones drums, percussion 

Warm, reflective, open-hearted and lyrical jazz – A Hologram Maze (AHM) is led by Birmingham-based pianist/composer David Austin Grey.

The band features five of the UK’s finest improvisers, all close friends, who bring a deep sense of understanding and common purpose to each composition.  AHM’s music unfolds in equally gently weaving turns and dynamic sweeps, as the band navigates different moods and emotions; from sweet and tender, through to frenetic, assertive energy.

2024 sees the release of their debut album The Beauty Of A Co-Pilot. Features in Jazzwise Magazine, radio play on Jazz FM and sold out shows at some of the UK’s best-loved jazz venues all reflect how well AHM’s music has been received.

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 3:15 pm - 4:25 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Amy Gadiaga Quintet

mjf @ First Street (Main Stage)

Amy Gadiaga vocals, double bass / Joseph Oti trumpet / Luke Bacchus electric piano / Solomon Kola guitar / Simon Lamb drums  

Amy (pronounced Ah-Mi) is a bassist, vocalist, composer and dancer from Paris, now based in London, where she recently graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire with a Royal Philharmonic Society prize. 

Connecting the old-school jazz tradition of musicians such as Betty Carter and Wayne Shorter with her own style, Amy gives performances that celebrate artistry and freedom. 

She won Best Jazz Newcomer prize at last year’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards, and her debut, Everything I Do, was track of the week on Jazz FM and is a firm favourite on Jamz Supernova’s Selector Radio programme. 

With shows at EFG London Jazz Festival, Jazz Café and We Out Here behind her, a label deal with Jazz re:freshed and a partnership with Fender, Amy gives her Manchester debut at mjf and is clearly one to watch. 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 5:30 pm - 6:40 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Conor Michael & The GreensKeepers

mjf @ First Street (Main Stage)

Conor Michael vocals / Liv, R’Monah backing vocals / Nathan Stoker trumpet / Nathaniel McKenzie alto saxophone / Laetitia Alexandratos tenor saxophone / Emily Mason trombone / Isaac guitar / Alec Waters keyboards / Elisio Macklin bass / Izzy McMahon drums 

Manchester-based, Birmingham-raised wordsmith Conor Michael blends the vibrant energy of hip-hop with the soulful rhythms of jazz, and, along with his GreensKeepers, is rapidly gaining recognition for his electrifying live shows and innovative musical compositions.  

Since the release of his debut album The Garden, Michael has gone from strength to strength, having been picked up by Gilles Peterson for We Out Here in 2022, and producing The Garden events that combine live music with mindfulness, a topic close to his heart, having worked in mental health for 5 years: “It’s a deep-rooted thing in my life, and it plays a big part in music.”  

Thriving off community, Michael practices mental resilience daily, and holds contentment and happiness in the highest regard, especially when it comes to his music. Keeping in tune to The Garden sound, unapologetically himself, authenticity shines through his work.  

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 7:45 pm - 9:00 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Thanda Gumede & Friends

mjf @ First Street (ask Garden Stage)

Thanda Gumede voice / Simeon Walker piano + guests

Thandanani Gumede is known as Thanda (pronounced “Tanda” like Panda), for short—a Zulu name that means Love One Another. He is an award-winning vocalist and a multi-disciplinary artist of dual Zulu and Xhosa heritage, hailing from Durban, in South Africa.  

He made his U.K. debut performance at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Day, sanctioned by the United Nations, in London. Thereafter, his base became the North of England. Musically, Thanda draws inspiration from his compounded heritage, amalgamated with jazz, neo-soul, gospel and other contemporary styles, beautifully punctuated by the signature click sounds of the southern Bantu languages.  

His accolades and notable appearances include: a Parliamentary Jazz Award for Ensemble of the Year 2023 with Ubunye; an exclusive performance for HM former Queen Elizabeth II and 43 members of the British Royal Family at Buckingham Palace (Royal Enclosure); a surprise Warner Classics-commissioned performance for the late Emeritus, Bishop Desmond Tutu, alongside the prodigious cellists Abel Selaocoe & YoYo Ma; BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and appearances on SKY 1, BBC radio & BBC TV, SABC 1, ITV , London Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival and the Theatre Royal in London, West End.  

Thanda is an Opera North pilot Resonance alumnus a Jazz North Northern Line alumnus; mjf hothouse and mjf Level Up alumnus, with a multi-faceted scope of work, ranging from vocal tuition to Embodied Auto-Ethnography with the University of Leeds.  

A vastly experienced African music workshop leader & versatile performer, Thanda makes a welcome return to live performance at mjf after a recent hiatus. 

The Ask Garden Stage is proudly sponsored by Ask Real Estate.

 

Meet you in the Morning – Thanda Gumede

 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 2:15 pm - 3:10 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Atatu Trio

mjf @ First Street (ask Garden Stage)

William R. Davidson keyboards / Fraser Hinchliffe bass / Adrian Lawrence drums, words 

Atatu Trio were formed in 2022 after a chance encounter at We Out Here Festival. They later met up and jammed together and were surprised by the results: a fusion of Latin, jazz, Brazilian, spoken word and funk.  

A recent graduate from mjf’s hothouse programme, Will began in classical music under the stewardship of Peter Young, before embarking on a jazz degree at the University of Hull, where he also held a 3-year residency at Princess Ave in Hull with his jazz quintet The Dalis Collective Each member has brought a wealth of performing experience to the trio, including tours with Kevin Davy, Nidi d’Arac and DJ residencies at The Wardrobe in Leeds, alongside Roy Ayers, Azymuth, Marlina Shaw & Antibalas.  

The word ‘Atatu’ is derived from Will’s native language ‘Chichewa’ and translates to the number ‘Three’: a fitting name for a trio whose diverse backgrounds have shaped their special sound. 

The Ask Garden Stage is proudly sponsored by Ask Real Estate.

 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 4:30 pm - 5:25 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Hoda Jahanpour & Pedraum Agahi

mjf @ First Street (ask Garden Stage)

Hoda Jahanpour cello, guitar / Pedraum Agahi electric guitar, santour, tombak

Two cousins reunite in a duo performance, paying homage to their ancestry of traditional Persian music and their western influences of European classical music and jazz. Hoda Jahanpour blends her cello’s expressive capabilities of resonance and depth of sound with the delicate texture of the santour (Persian hammered dulcimer), played by jazz guitarist Pedraum Agahi. The duo also intertwines guitar, vocals and tombak to perform their set of traditional Persian songs, arrangements of Arabic and Turkish melodies and new collaborative compositions.   

Hoda

An mjf hothouse alumnus – is a cellist, songwriter and composer interested in musical experiences that generate energy and bring people together. Coming from a background in classical music, she has performed side-by-side with notable orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé and Manchester Camerata. Hoda loves to explore how the cello can be used to express various musical languages.  

Last November, she was invited to Denmark to create and perform new music with four fellow musicians – a collaboration that you can also hear at mjf on 23 May. Other career highlights to date include participating in a collaborative music making residency led by saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia and developing a new music theatre piece as part of Oedipa Company at the Barbican Pit. 

Pedraum Agahi 

A Leeds Conservatoire jazz guitar graduate, whose love of R&B has led him to write and arrange original music with singer Tiger Edison, which they have performed at Cheltenham and Leeds Jazz Festivals and the University of Leeds’ Fashion show. He also plays in the Viridian Trio, again inspired by contemporary jazz and Persian traditional music and touring across the north.  

The Ask Garden Stage is proudly sponsored by Ask Real Estate.

 

 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 6:45 pm - 7:40 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Claire Victoria Roberts

mjf @ First Street (HOME Stage)

Claire Victoria Roberts voice / Jacob Savage keyboards / Treske Quartet: Abi Hammet, Oliver Baily violins / Rob Wheatly viola / Mollie Wrafter cello  

Claire Victoria Roberts is a composer, vocalist and violinist, blurring the boundaries of jazz, contemporary and singer-songwriter genres. She collaborates with musicians from classical, jazz and folk spheres, drawing upon her diverse influences and melding styles together: through improvised vocals, contemporary classical timbres, and melody-driven compositions.  

Drawing upon these diverse influences as a composer and performer – lyrical jazz, chanson, and Celtic fiddle music – Claire presents a repertoire blending contemporary string textures with improvisation. The sensitive chamber setting transports listeners through an intimate performance of vocal storytelling, rich string textures and experimentation. 

 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm

Time: 2:10 pm - 3:00 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Sonic Threads

mjf @ First Street (HOME Stage)

Supriya Nagarajan Carnatic vocals / Lucy Nolan harp, electronics

A daring and innovative duo, Sonic Threads transcends cultural and genre boundaries as Lucy Nolan and Supriya Nagarajan seamlessly merge Eastern and Western influences in their performances. The duo is heavily influenced by the spiritual movement started by Alice Coltrane and both Supriya and Lucy capture that meditative quality in their renditions. 

Supriya Nagarajan is a composer and singer who creates rich, dreamy soundscapes as she combines her Indian musical background with contemporary classical music, whilst harpist Lucy Nolan uses a combination of rag-inspired music, free improvisation and electronics, which, when combined, weave a unique sonic tapestry drawing on influences from jazz, Carnatic and Western Classical music. 

Frequently performing as a duo and collaborating with other guest artists both nationally and internationally, Sonic Threads are regularly invited to perform at renowned music venues and festivals, with recent appearances including The Royal Albert Hall, TUSK Music Festival, The Sage Gateshead, Lambeth Palace, Cafe Oto, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Jaipur Literature Festival.  

They often draw on pressing current affairs to inspire their programming and composition work and recently performed in Meltwater, a day in the life of a glacier, which tackled issues relating to rising sea levels and water ownership, and was premiered at the Southbank Centre in London before touring the UK.

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 4:30 pm - 5:25 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required

Meilana Gillard: RBG Trio

mjf @ First Street (HOME Stage)

Meilana Gillard saxophones / Dave Redmond double bass / Kevin Brady drums 

Meilana Gillard – “a gutsy, inventive player” (The Irish Times) – presents Chasing Comets: a 4-movement suite of new music themed around the cosmos and outer space, commissioned by the BAN BAM artist development programme in Dublin. 

The four movements are I. Solar Flare, II. Supernova’, III. Dark Matter and IV. Moontide and the music is also a nod to Gillard’s love of video game music of the 1980’s. Using different effects such as a harmoniser, space echo and loop station, RBG Trio improvises within these movements, sometimes through-composed, other times free, presenting a variety of grooves from triumphant to mysterious and with textures flowing from the very open to thick and dense. Audiences can look forward to a feeling of fun, play and possibility throughout the set. 

BAN BAM is a biennial commission and development opportunity for female and gender-minority artists from across Ireland from Improvised Music Company (IMC) Dublin and Moving On Music (MoM) Belfast. 

Date: saturday 18 may

Time: 6:45 pm - 7:30 pm

Price: Free admission, no ticket required