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Hidden Music Gems
LEEDS – IT’S ALL FANCY SHOPS ANDOFFICES,
RIGHT? WELL, NOT EXACTLY. ONE OF THE
LARGEST CITIES IN BRITAIN HAS – AS YOU
MIGHT EXPECT – A NUMBER OF THESE, BUT
IT’S ALSOACITYHOME TOATHRIVINGMUSIC
SCENE. THE ANNUAL LEEDS FESTIVAL ISN’T
LOCATED HERE FOR NOTHING, AND THE
CITY HAS PRODUCED HOUSEHOLD NAMES
LIKE THE KAISER CHIEFS AND CORINNE
BAILEY RAE. BUT, IF YOU
THOUGHT THAT’S ALL
THERE WAS TO IT, THEN
THINK AGAIN. SCRATCH
THE SURFACE AND
YOU’LL SEE A DIVERSE,
CREATIVE CITY, FULL OF
SURPRISES FOR MUSIC
LOVERSOF ALL KINDS.
By
Jed
Skinner
Musician
and
writer
Leeds has its fair share of mainstream music venues, playing host to
big-name acts most nights of the week. But, for those more adventurous
types, stepping of the beaten path can really make you discover what
makes a city tick.
Stroll up Briggate and you’ll come across the beautiful Leeds Grand
Teatre. Opened in 1878, it survived the spectre of the wrecking ball in the
1960s and is now the home of the prestigious Opera North. But that’s not
all. Look inside the theatre and you’ll fnd the Howard Assembly Room,
a beautifully-restored auditorium that was used as a cinema until the
mid-1980s. Forgotten about for more than 20 years, it reopened in 2006,
launching a diverse programme of music, talks and screenings. If you’re
after something a bit diferent, yet assuredly excellent, then this is the place
to discover a truly eclectic range of music. Last year saw performances
from the Grammy award-winning kora player Toumani Diabate, pianist
Harold Budd, experimental guitarist Christian Fennesz and the Mercury-
nominated jazz group Portico Quartet.
And if jazz is your thing, then you’re spoilt for choice in Leeds. A
few minutes’ walk from the Howard Assembly Room is Te Wardrobe – a
converted warehouse on St Peter’s Square, right by the Leeds College of
Music and BBC Yorkshire’s studios.A real jazz fan’s venue, fusion visionary
Roy Ayers, afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen and British reggae legends Misty
in Roots have all played here over the past year, so you know you’ve hit the
real deal once you set foot in the door.