Cleveland Watkiss

The Great Jamaican Songbook

Friday 29 October 2021

This event has passed.

Multi award-winning vocalist, actor and composer Cleveland Watkiss MBE joins us for the first time to explore Jamaica’s long history of pioneering musical sounds, including mento, reggae, ska and more. With classic tracks from legendary artists including Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Delroy Wilson, The Great Jamaican Songbook tells poignant stories about the times and the culture, with a deep and infectious rhythm.

With many strings to his bow including DJ, educator and founder of Black Association for Arts UK, Cleveland Watkiss has collaborated with musical luminaries ranging from Bjork and Bob Dylan to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Community Gospel Choir. Having studied at the London School of Singing and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Cleveland was also one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band, as well as being voted best vocalist for three consecutive years at the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards.

Opening the show, Khadijah Ibrahiim is a Leeds-based literary activist, theatre maker and published writer, who combines interdisciplinary art forms to re-imagine poetry as performance theatre. In a podcast that grew out out of her Opera North Resonance collaboration, she can be heard discussing Jamaican music’s relation to ritual, history and African tradition. Her new work Halfway and Beyond can be experienced between the two performances in Opera North’s Bernstein Double Bill.

Don’t miss this jazz legend’s debut Howard Assembly Room performance.

“Best Male Jazz Singer in England”

– Evening Standard


Start time

Khadijah Ibrahiim

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Cleveland Watkiss

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