Songlines Encounters Festival - 2015 Line-up

The fifth Songlines Encounters Festival features musicians from Portugal, Cyprus, Iran, the UK and Bangladesh. There are some UK premieres, some first-time collaborations and lots of supremely inspirational music. We will welcome some great female voices - Gisela João from Portugal and Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat from Iran - alongside sublime Scottish fiddling, and brilliant roots music from Bangladesh, both alone and in collaboration with London's own Lokkhi Terra. And for the first time a night of very danceable live Afro-electronica from Afriquoi and the chance for children to discover klezmer and Balkan music with the help of the talented musicians of She'Koyokh. As ever with Songlines Encounters, the idea is to discover something new and memorable.

Songlines Encounters Festival is co-curated by Songlines magazine and Ikon Arts Management

Thursday June 4 2015

Mariza St Pancras Room, 6:30pm
Film: Mariza & the Story of Fado
The perfect introduction to Portugal's most distinctive music. This BBC film interweaves a portrait of fado's current star, Mariza, with the history of the music itself from its origins in 19th century Lisbon

Monsieur Doumani

Hall 1, 8:00pm
Monsieur Doumani + Gisela João
Monsieur Doumani are a dynamic trio playing original and traditional Cypriot music with a twist. Featuring Antonis Antoniou on tzouras (small bouzouki), Angelos Ionas on guitar and Demetris Yiasemides on winds, they combine impressive musicianship with humour and panache. Their 2013 album Grippy Grappa was a Songlines favourite and their new album, Sikoses, arrives in the spring.

Gisela Joao

Gisela João, aged 30, is a new fado singer who is making waves in Portugal. She released her debut album in the summer of 2013 and it went straight to number one in the national charts - extremely rare for a fado record. Her music is raw and authentic. "I'm very intense and I believe that real fado is that way too," she says. "It's very extreme." In her UK debut, you can expect traditional fado at its best.

Friday June 5 2015

Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat

St Pancras Room, 6:20pm
Film: Sisters
Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat have become world-renowned singers despite intense restrictions on female musicians after the 1979 revolution in Iran. As they bravely preserve Persian musical traditions, this film tells their remarkable personal story.

Duncan Chisholm Hall 1, 7:30pm
Duncan Chisholm + Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat
Fiddler Duncan Chisholm is one of the busiest people on Scotland's extremely active folk scene as a regular member of Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis' band among other things. He's a dynamic solo artist whose last three solo albums form the Strathglass Trilogy, inspired by the highland glens which are his family home.

Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat

Sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat are two brave and inspiring vocalists. Accompanying themselves on plucked setar and frame drum, their voices interweave in a magical web of sound, which had the audience transfixed at last year's WOMAD Charlton Park festival. What's all the more remarkable given their international acclaim, is that under Iranian Islamic law they are prohibited from performing publicly at home. They will also do a special Songlines Encounters collaboration with Duncan Chisholm.

Afriquoi Hall 2, 9:30pm
Afriquoi are a great African-electro dance band with live vocals, Gambian kora, Congolese guitar, percussion and electronics drawing on dubstep, house and hip-hop. They create dance floor friendly music with musicians from Africa, the Caribbean and the UK.

Saturday June 6 2015


Hall 2, 2:00pm
She'Koyokh: Kids concert
Join Britain's best klezmer and Balkan music band She'Koyokh for a participatory concert for children, introducing music from all over Eastern Europe with stories, singing and dancing! Come on an exciting adventure through the Balkans, discovering wild sounds, quirky instruments, wonky rhythms and crazy harmonies. Bet you can't resist a bit of a boogie!

Open to all children but aimed at 5-11 year olds. Due to safeguarding, children will need to be accompanied by a parent/carer during the concert.

  St Pancras Room, 6:15pm
Talk: Bangladesh Roots
Simon Broughton talks to pianist Kishon Khan and members of the Shikor Bangladesh All Stars about the traditional sources of the music and their collaboration with Lokkhi Terra.

Shikor Bangladesh All Stars

Hall 1, 7:30pm
Shikor Bangladesh All Stars + Lokkhi Terra
The Shikor Bangladesh All Stars feature seven of the country's best traditional musicians from Bangledesh including folk singer Baby Akhtar, a specialist in songs from all over the country; spectacular dhol drummer Nazrul Islam and the maestro of Baul music Rob Fakir, who lives near the shrine of the most celebrated Baul poet Lalon Fakir. For the first time in the UK, the All Stars will present a vivid sample of the country's vibrant folk heritage.

Lokkhi Terra

In the second part, the Shikor Bangladesh All Stars will join London's superb Anglo-Bangladeshi Afrobeat Latin group Lokkhi Terra, with pianist Kishon Khan and vocalists Sohini Alam and Aanon Siddiqua, to bring Songlines Encounters Festival 2015 to a rousing conclusion.

The Shikor Bangladesh All Stars’ performance is kindly supported by by Culturepot Global and Ittefaq.

Culturepot Global

Daily Ittefaq

Buy ticketsSonglines Subscriber Offers

  • 10% off Festival Pass (telephone orders only)
  • 25% discount on single tickets (excluding online saver seats)
  • For discount code see issue #106 subscribers' carrier sheet or email
  • Offers subject to availability
  • Deadline for booking June 3 2015
  • Book online at or call 020 7520 1490