A large financial boost is needed to save the performing arts

By Helen McMurray The impact of the coronavirus epidemic on businesses and jobs is becoming all too obvious now. Since we live so close to Theatreland, you may have already heard from people connected with the Performing Arts of the particular difficulties they are going through, and I understand that former employees across all the …

A tribute to Beethoven leads a fundraiser for the NHS and musicians

Musicians playing.

A Fitzrovia playwright and an oboe soloist will both join a cast of the many this week to produce a tribute to Beethoven, and fundraise for the NHS and musicians affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Local playwright Sue Blundell and Fitzrovia Music Festival (FitzFest) founder Dan Bates will be joined by musical director Elliott Devivo …

Third outing for Fitzrovia’s celebration of music and culture

Musicians sitting and playing.

There will be four days of events on offer this week from the organisers of the third annual festival to celebrate Fitzrovia’s rich and diverse artistic past. Team FitzFest will put on a wide selection of concerts, drama, talks, walks, and social and fitness events and will include "a programme of music made entirely by …

Readings and music to celebrate Fitzrovia’s best known artists, writers and eccentrics

Illustration of Virginia Woolf.

Fitzrovia has long been known for its Bohemian character attracting some of Britain’s best known artists, writers and eccentrics. This colourful past will be celebrated this month with an evening of heresy at the unlikely venue of a Welsh Baptist church. Blacktooth productions, a small, not-for-profit literary organisation, will be putting on a collection of …

200 years of Fitzrovia’s exotic musical history

Plaque for Queen's Hall.

Fitzrovia has a rich history of concerts and a strong connection to many famous composers and performers. Mendelssohn to (Pink Floyd’s Nick) Mason? Coates to Clapton? Britten to Bechet? Pagani’s to the Casa Prada? Henry Wood to Hendrix? All the above lived, performed or were meeting places in Fitzrovia’s exotic musical history. Nick Bailey, local resident …

A double hit of jazz seeps through Fitzrovia’s busy streets

Musicians playing inside a pub.

The sound of jazz drifted through Fitzrovia's busy streets on Thursday evening from an outdoor performance, and an intimate gig inside one of the neighbourhood's famous pubs. As part of FitzFest -- a new annual music event -- the Pete Whyatt Jazz Band entertained passers-by on the corner of Cleveland Street and Howland Street with a mixture of …

Festival to celebrate Fitzrovia’s music heritage opens

String musicians sitting in a room playing their instruments.

The inaugural music festival to celebrate the many musicians and composers who have had a connection with Fitzrovia will kick off this Wednesday with the first of a series of concerts and other events. Local resident Dan Bates, a classically-trained oboist, is leading the programme under the banner of “FitzFest: Fitzrovia’s annual community music festival”. The musical …

A Fitzrovia music festival takes to the stage in June 2016

Man playing oboe.

A music festival celebrating the many musicians and composers who have had a connection with Fitzrovia will take place in early June, the first of an annual event say the organisers. The series of performances will take place at a variety of yet-to-be-chosen venues throughout the neighbourhood assisted by an Arts Council of England grant. There …

Ghanaian singer and activist to play Great Portland Street venue

Reggae musician on stage.

International musician and humanitarian activist Rocky Dawuni will perform his blend of Caribbean reggae and Afrobeat at a rare London appearance in September. Born in Ghana and living in Los Angeles Dawuni released his sixth album Branches of the Same Tree earlier this year. Throughout his childhood in Ghana music was always present and his youth coincided with an era of political …

Hashtag on the pavement connects with Fitzrovia’s past

Chalk stencilled hashtag on pavement.

A stencilled hashtag -- #amusedtodeath -- which appeared on the streets of Fitzrovia this week is part of a marketing ploy to promote a 23-year-old recording, but it also has an even older connection to the neighbourhood. It is part of a campaign by a record company to publicise the re-release of Amused To Death …

Afro-Venezuelan jazz project to showcase new album at Bolivar Hall

Group of musicians.

Afro-Venezuelan jazz band Pataruco are playing a free concert at the Bolivar Hall this Thursday (21 May) to promote their eponymously titled studio album to be released this summer. Pataruco are Quentin Collins on trumpet, Michele Montolli on bass, Aleph Aguiar on guitar, Charlie Stacey on piano, Eddie Hick on drums, and Wilmer Sifontes on percussion. The group …

Record Store Day 2015 at Langham Street

If Music, a specialist retailer of vinyl recordings, will be hosting another of its renowned acoustic music events in Langham Street this Saturday as part of Record Store Day. For the past few years Jean-Claude Thompson has been holding a low-key live music event in front of the building containing his second floor record shop. It’s the …

Election-season music and Eurosceptic parody at basement bar

Graphic image.

There will be an amusing dose of election-season music and eurosceptic parody at a basement bar in Clipstone Street next week. Singer-songwriter Jonny Abrams will be performing a half-hour acoustic set from his forthcoming musical/rock opera "Farage Against the Machine" at The Lucky Pig cocktail bar. UKIP the Musical: Songs from Farage Against the Machine (Free …

Synagogue promotes itself as a concert venue for a wider community

Inside of synagogue.

The Central Synagogue London has announced a series of classical music concerts arranged around the theme of  Jewish cultural identity and is inviting a broader audience to attend. In a break with tradition the concerts starting in February will be the first time the Synagogue has promoted itself as a music venue to a non-Jewish audience. "We are …

Buriers launch vinyl recording at The Lucky Pig

Band playing on rooftop.

English folk and spoken word band Buriers (nee A Band Of Buriers) are to launch a limited edition vinyl EP at Fitzrovia basement bar The Lucky Pig this Monday ahead of their 13 date European tour in February. Singer James P Honey has been likened to a modern-day Leonard Cohen and the London based band …

Biography of jazz pianist who gained fame with Bowie

David Bowie with Mike Garson.

He's played with David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails and is an accomplished session musician, yet until now little has been written about him. Now a soon-to-be published biography uncovers the life story of Mike Garson and his musical career from New York jazz pianist to his collaboration with Bowie and beyond. Written by Clifford Slapper, himself a pianist who's played …

Music, poetry and dance for World Mental Health Day

Part of a poster with image of Dylan Thomas.

Music, dance and poetry to mark World Mental Health Day and inspired by Dylan Thomas will be performed this Friday afternoon in Fitzrovia, organised by a charity working with people with mental illness. Upbeat Music was established in 2006 by mental health service users in direct response to the needs of their community. The charity is based in …

New venue rising beneath Oxford Street

Shop front.

On Wednesday evening beneath the well-trodden pavement of Oxford Street the sounds of guitar and saxophone will be filling the void hidden from the day's shoppers. Guitarist Jim Mullen and saxophonist Sean Khan will be serving a up a heady cocktail of jazz funk and DJ Eon Irving will be keeping the dancefloor filled. Called the Phoenix …

Live and low-key on Langham Street for Record Store Day

Man singing and playing guitar.

There was a time when Fitzrovia boasted more record shops than Soho, apparently. Now since JB's Records moved to Waterloo and On The Beat in Hanway Street has closed there is only one remaining... and on any other day you'd have to look hard to find it. In fact we didn't even know it was …