PREVIEW: the Howard Assembly Room winter season

full_3f426ea66fea802ebb10c73c556da7e1The Howard Assembly Room is a 300 capacity venue located within the magnificent Grade II listed, Victorian splendour of Leeds Grand Theatre. Originally an upmarket music hall then a cinema, the Howard Assembly Room fell into disrepair before eventually seeing life as a storage and rehearsal space for Opera North.

Then almost exactly seven years ago to the day, and following a huge transformation campaign, the stunning barrel-vaulted chamber re-emerged as the splendid performance space that it is today where it not only plays host to Opera North’s education and outreach work but also a myriad of talks, family workshops, films and musical events.

This rich and remarkable variety of projects and cultural programming is reflected in the Howard Assembly Room’s forthcoming winter schedule. Here God Is In The TV looks ahead to just some of the events that await us over the coming months.

An early highlight comes courtesy of the Mingus Big Band. Under the artistic leadership of his widow Sue, the 14-piece ensemble celebrates the music of the late, great jazz composer and bassist Charles Mingus. Expect to hear some of Mingus’s complex orchestral compositions played here with tremendous agility, verve and creativity.

Less than a fortnight later, the Howard Assembly Room welcomes the Malian blues guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in what surely promises to be an intoxicating fusion of blues, funk and soul. Like Ravi Coltrane – who appeared at the venue last March – Vieux Farka Touré has begun to emerge from the shadow of a legendary father to become a celebrated performer in his very own, individual right.

Just over a week will have elapsed before Asian Dub Foundation arrive in West Yorkshire to reprise their live soundtrack to ‘La Haine‘, Mathieu Kassovitz‘s cult 1995 movie about urban disaffection, alienation and rioting. Previously performed at David Bowie’s London Meltdown Festival, ADF’s incendiary collision of punk, reggae, bhangra and rap is the perfect accompaniment for this most provocative of movies.

And then on the 12th March the musical emphasis shifts to folk with the arrival of Sam Lee. The English folk artist, resolute champion of a fading musical heritage, storyteller and gatherer of traditional songs once assumed lost is sure to entrance the audience with his warmth and invention.

This is but a small selection of the many exciting cultural events that are listed to appear throughout the Howard Assembly Room’s winter programme. The full itinerary can be found HERE.

Photo credit: Opera North official website

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.