Hull Jazz Festival


led by Em Whitfield Brooks and featuring Gary Hammond


Hull Jazz Festival

Cleveland Watkiss: VocalSuite & Hull Freedom Chorus

led by Em Whitfield Brooks and featuring Gary Hammond

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 Cleveland Watkiss is known the world over for his unique vocal and improvisational talent. He’s performed with an incredible range of artists, from Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan to Björk, Talvin Singh, Abdullah Ibrahim and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The evening opens with members of Hull’s mighty Freedom Chorus performing a new vocal piece What If…?  created for and with participating singers by singer songwriter Em Whitfield Brooks.  Accompanied by percussionist extraordinaire Gary Hammond and guest pianist (tbc).  

Cleveland will then perform VocalSuite, his acclaimed a capella vocal improvisation show. Fusing his breath-taking vocal range with technology, he blends improvisation/counterpoint harmony, electronics, breakbeat loops and basslines (all live and from his mouth) to stunning effect, creating a unique, orchestral vocal soundscape. No two performances of VocalSuite are ever the same. On this occasion, Cleveland will be joined at the end of his performance by members of Hull Freedom Chorus - so you’re guaranteed a one-off experience, unique to Hull.



Participation details:

This performance marks the culmination of a project for chorus members, led by Cleveland Watkiss and assisted by Em Whitfield Brooks. Em’s directed many Freedom Chorus performances, including the site-specific Underpass at Freedom Festival 2016. 

Hull Freedom Chorus has a group with over 700 singers. They’ve delighted audiences with diverse performances across the city since the Chorus’ debut at Freedom Festival in 2011.   

Interested in taking part?

Anyone interested in taking part in this project should join the Freedom Chorus online here and attend Em's initial workshops on 29 April and 6 May.  

Selected performers will then rehearse on the following dates:

17, 24 & 30 May

6, 13, 27 & 30 June,

4/5, 11/12 & 18 July with performance on 19 July.