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Matthew Sweeney

The Pepper Street Orchestra - ‘An Ape’s Progress’

The Pepper Street Orchestra - ‘An Ape’s Progress’

Matthew Sweeney poetry | Dave McKean film/visuals | Iain Ballamy music - 22nd October, Whitworth Gallery

The Pepper Street Orchestra:  Iain Ballamy saxophones | Emilia Mårtensson voice | Kit Downes piano | Stian Carstensen accordion, banjo, pedal steel | Matthew Sharpe cello

Commissioned to celebrate the 20th Manchester Jazz Festival and the 10th Manchester Literature Festival, the festivals have joined forces to commission a unique, multi-media performance. Combining words, music and visual art/film to mesmerising effect, created by three established and critically acclaimed artists: musician Iain Ballamy, poet Matthew Sweeney and artist and film maker Dave McKean

Irish poet and storyteller, Sweeney’s poems for this piece are inspired by time spent in Manchester absorbing and reflecting on its people and places. McKean is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist and filmmaker. Past collaborators have included Richard Dawkins, Alice Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Tori Amos and Michael Nyman. 

Words and music are brought to life by an exceptional international group of musicians, including the dazzling Norwegian virtuoso Stian Carstensen, the pure-toned Swedish vocalist Emilia Mårtensson and the British Mercury contender and keyboard maestro Kit Downes playing against a stunning visual backdrop created by McKean.

Supported by The Foyle Foundation, The Granada Foundation and Arts Council England. Presented in association with Manchester Jazz Festival, Manchester Literature Festival and RNCM


Manchester Jazz Festival - 6th August, Royal Northern College of Music

Manchester Literature Festival - 22nd October, Whitworth Gallery