And the wind cries St Mary’s for a Stokey festival

St Mary's (old and new churches) Stoke Newington Lon N16 100216 © DavidAltheer[at]

STOKE NEWINGTON is blessed with two St Mary’s churches, above, each complementing the other in a way that serves local people, and not just those who are Church of England.

Few other buildings can provide their range of facilities, which makes the venues a natural to host concerts and artsy festivals. 

And you don’t get more artsy than Breathe, a festival and “celebration of air”. At the heart of the festival is a wind harp that has been installed in the gothic-style spire of the younger St Mary’s, above. Here’s a lively video of the harp.

Performers include Dalstoner Sam Lee, Northeast London’s Bishi, Scotland’s Karine Polwart, Ansuman Biswas and sound artist (“composer” sounds so dull, doesn’t it?) Jason Singh.

Compositions have been commissioned “to respond,” say the organisers, “to the theme of breath or the sound of the harp”. Who says New Ageism is over?

Storytelling, dance, meditation, children’s and interfaith  activities and locally made windmills in one of the churchyards will also feature.

Fitzwilliam String Quartet performing Beethoven St Mary's Old Church Stoke Newington London N16 151115 © DavidAltheer[at]
Inside the older St Mary’s: Fitzwilliam quartet performing Beethoven last year 2015

Festival director Rachel Millward told Loving Dalston: “When Output Arts told me about its wind harp, I jumped at the opportunity to develop a multifaceted celebration of this precious element which unites us all.

“There’s nothing more exciting than giving exceptional artists the challenge of responding to each other’s work.”

Hamish Scott 050216

* Breathe: a celebration of air, St Mary’s Stoke Newington Church Street N16 9ES, Friday 26 February 2016-Sunday 20 March 2016. Good disabled facilities.

* Backstory: Musical tack for Dalston church; Making things better; Save our old songs says Sam Lee 

* All pictures on this page ©DavidAltheer[at] All for sale for reproduction.

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