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St John on Bethnal Green

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200 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9PA
Photo of St John on Bethnal Green

Bella Hardy

Bella Hardy's latest album With The Dawn her first since being named BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer Of The Year in 2014 isn't just the latest collection of songs from this prolific and ingenious artist. The album is an account of one year of her life. Where previously Bella has adapted and explored traditional ballads and fables to tell her contemporary folk tales, the stories that inspired these songs are her own experiences: good and bad, happy or sad.

With The Dawn is a more intimate and reflective album than before. Working with producer Ben Seal, the arrangements are more instinctive, more reactive, as befits the mind-set that informed the lyrics. Vivid brass gives way to lonesome piano; choral voices peal; banjos emerge out of beats and blips. Elements of the initial demos, sometimes recorded into a phone as the thoughts occurred, have been kept. Whatever instrument was nearest to hand was grabbed and deployed whenever and wherever (even on one occasion in the bath) giving With The Dawn its striking immediacy.

Thu 26 Oct


Breabach & Ross Ainslee And

Best Duo in the 2017 BBC Folk Awards, Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton, internationally recognised multi-instrumentalists, composers and arrangers in the vibrant and ever evolving Scottish traditional music scene, have come together in an eagerly awaited collaboration to create their stunning new album 'Symbiosis'. Ross and Ali have a long history of shared musical roots from their days with the Vale of Atholl pipe band, at the age of 12. They were mentored by one of the most innovative pipers in the last 30 years, the late great Gordon Duncan. Gordon sparked a deep passion in Ross and Ali for playing pipes with other instruments and they went on to be founding members of the musical powerhouse Treacherous Orchestra as well as playing with bands such as Old Blind Dogs, Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean, Shooglenifty, Zakir Hussain, The Levellers and Capercaillie.

Walking away with the accolades 'Folk Band of the Year' and 'Album of Year' at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards was the perfect way to round off an exciting year for Scottish contemporary-folk group Breabach. Now 2017 sees them nominated 'Best Group' at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and they are back out on tour showcasing an increasingly mature sound and live performance, whilst simultaneously building their international recognition on the world and roots music scene as one of the UK's most dynamic and exciting bands.

Fri 27 Oct



Fara brings together four emerging musicians at the forefront of today's young Scottish folk scene, Jennifer Austin, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price's three fiddles and a piano, to produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing among the music of Orkney.

Thu 19 Oct


The Heidi Talbot Band

Heidi Talbot was born in Ireland became a folk star in the USA as a member of the Irish American band Cherish the Ladies, and now lives in Scotland, where she is married to the celebrated fiddler and multi-instrumentalist John McCusker.

Wed 24 May



Four times nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and double winners of the Spiral Earth Awards Megson draw heavily on their Teesside heritage to create a truly unique brand of folk music.

The husband & wife duo bring an infectious mix of heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars. Comprising Debs Hanna (Vocals, Whistle, Piano Accordion) and Stu Hanna (Guitar, Mandola, Banjo) Megson have gained fame on the British folk scene, not only for their arresting & intelligent songwriting, but for their exquisite musicianship and northern humour. As fRoots Magazine puts it 'if you don't like the music here then you have a problem'

Summer 2016 saw the release of their much anticipated new studio album GOOD TIMES WILL COME AGAIN gaining them much critical acclaim. One of the most original political folk sets of the year. Ewan MacColl would have been impressed. said The Guardian. Relevant, thought-provoking songs that would make Woody Guthrie proud said Acoustic Magazine. While folk broadcasting legend Mike Harding described it as One of the top albums of 2016..

And during all this time, Stu even managed to be involved with other artists producing & recording award winning music for SHOW OF HANDS, KELLY OLIVER, LUCY WARD, FAUSTUS, THE WILLOWS, SAM KELLY & THE YOUNG'UNS.

Fri 10 Nov



Mekons begin their 40th anniversary tour with an acoustic show in the beautiful St John on Bethnal Green, designed by Sir John Soane.

Doors 7pm, onstage 8pm

Sonic adventurers, punk rock fundamentalists, exuberant Luddites, willing outcasts, the genre-defying Mekons formed in Leeds, England in 1977 and this year they celebrate their 40th anniversary. Born from the emerging British punk scene, they progressed from art students with no musical skills to the prolific, raucous progeny of Hank Williams. This current classic line-up has remained intact since the mid-1980s. Theirs is an improbable history a surprising and influential embrace of folk and country music with occasional forays into the art world. They have always worked collaboratively and collectively with all work credited to the band, never to individuals. Their mind-boggling output consistently blurs the lines between high art and low and has included exhibitions in the UK and US, a deranged pirate musical recorded and staged with Kathy Acker, an art performance with Vito Acconci, and several books including the unique art catalog/unfinished novel Mekons United. The mekons continue to make bold, unpredictable music while staying true to the punk ethos. Their mind-boggling output consistently blurs the lines between high art and low and they remain one of the truly great live bands.

Their latest work, existentialism, was released in 2016 as a book of art, writing and music with songs recorded in real time at Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, Brooklyn and featuring a feral choir of Mekons' show attendees. The CD existentialism will be released on Bloodshot Records in the summer of 2017. Mekons are subjects of the fantastic 2014 documentary Revenge of the Mekons.

The original 1977 mekon line-up (mekons mk1) will release a brand new record later this year and will play with mekons mk2 (1987- present day) at mekonville, the first ever mekons' festival, to be held in the English countryside near Ipswich, in July 2017

Sat 15 Jul


Modernism and Model Dwellings: Housing in Bethnal Green

The history of British social housing can be traced on this walk through Bethnal Green, from fine examples of the work of the Victorian philanthropic housing movement to 20th century council housing, taking in the grandeur of the pivotal Boundary Street Estate (LCC) and works by two leading modernists – Lasdun and Lubetkin – working for a borough council that was radical in both its politics and its choice of architects. The buildings and their configurations illustrate the changing visions of architects and planners for new, better ways of living in our cities.

Sun 4 Jun

£12 (£9)

Sun 25 Jun

£12 (£9)

Richard Dawson

Richard Dawson

Acclaimed Northumbrian singer-songwriter drawing comparisons to John Martyn and Captain Beefheart.

Thu 22 Jun


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