The independent London newspaper

GROOVES: Smith & Burrows; Inside Out; Sing For Freedom Choir; Celtic Connections

14 January, 2021 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Smith & Burrows’ latest video is set on Hampstead Heath

HAMPSTEAD Heath – which has taken on a new level of importance since the repeated lockdowns – is the setting for the accompanying video to the new Smith & Burrows (that’s Andy Burrows, formerly of Razorlight) single Parliament Hill, a track that just might help clear your mind from the surround worldwide chaos. At a time when long Heath walks are an essential part of keeping sane, it is good to see it featuring in this inspirational song, which urges listeners to “take a walk down Parliament Hill, 6am and the world is still”. No doubt inspired by Tom Smith’s time living in Gospel Oak, the endearing video features a variety of cute woodland puppet creatures and fantasy characters – good for the soul. Smith & Burrows new album is out on Feb 5. Link to video

The Southbank is a little nearer right now that live music is necessarily being substituted for online content in lockdown. Inside Out, an online programme of music, spoken word and literature takes place between Jan 24 and March 28 with hopefully just enough content to take us through the latest home confinement. In between two celebrations of poetry – The TS Eliot Prize (Jan 24), hosted by Ian McMillan and Out-Spoken, Southbank Centre’s resident poetry and music night out celebrating the best in UK poetry hosted by Joelle Taylor with Sam “Junior” Bromfield spinning the reggae, soul and R&B (March 28), there is a packed programme of talks, poetry and music. Find musical performances from The Cinematic Orchestra, making its Royal Festival Hall debut (Jan 29), Black Country, New Road, presenting music from debut album For The First Time (March 6) and London Contemporary Orchestra returning for a night of new music including world premieres of specially commissioned orchestral versions of 2020 electronic masterpieces by Kelly Lee Owens and Duvall Timothy (March 19). There will also be talks from Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke reading extracts from new novel A Bright Ray Of Darkness (Feb 8), Skunk Anansie lead singer Skin, launching her memoir It Takes Blood and Guts, which tells how a gay, black, working-class girl fought poverty and prejudice to write songs, produce, front her own band and become a respected activist as well as talks from poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraquib (March 25), Fearne Cotton (Feb 4) and Raven Leilani (Feb 25).

• The Sing For Freedom Choir, a vibrant singing community of refugees and asylum seekers, has provided a lifeline for vulnerable members throughout the pandemic. However, it urgently needs support to continue to survive. The choir, which brings together displaced people who have survived extreme trauma with others from around the country to sing in solidarity, is raising funds to help it survive after moving online, by providing data, mobile devices and support for people to continue to participate. Donate to the crowdfunding appeal at

If you’re looking for some celtic vibes – Celtic Connections’ online festival launches on Jan 15 with a series of 30 online shows over the course of 19 days from some of the biggest names in Scotland and beyond. Running until Feb 2, the festival will feature the likes of Shooglenifty, Eddi Reader, Sudanese singer-songwriter Amira Kheir, Scottish folk group Breabach, singer and harpist Rachel Newton, José Gonzalez, Le Vent du Nord, The Staves, Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh (Deacon Blue) and many more. Info from


Share this story

Post a comment