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Centenary Centre

Something for everyone at Peel's Centenary Centre.

As Peel's Centenary Centre continues to attract concert goers to its diverse range of productions, the charity's directors can congratulate themselves on securing a wide selection of bands which have brought fans flocking through the door.

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Striving to bring audiences something a little different at each concert, the season kicked off in great style with a gig by one of the best klezmer and Balkan bands in Britain - She'Koyokh (Yiddish - 'nice one').

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Billed as one of London's musical treasures, this lively group started life as a popular street band in London's East End, before rapidly rising on the international circuit and enjoying increasing exposure on TV and radio.

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Although UK based, She'Koyokh is an international, all-star band, and includes a female vocalist from Istanbul.

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Meanwhile, The Poozies have been on the folk scene for twenty five years, embarking on their career after noticing a gap in the market for a women's 'folk super group'.

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Despite a number of changes in the line-up over the years, their inspiration and vocal harmony remains constant in a charismatic landscape of acoustic guitar and electro-harp. Their songs are drawn from a rich vein of traditional Scottish Gaelic culture, as well as many diverse genres.

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Although about to depart from the group, vocalist Sally Barker (a finalist on BBC TV's The Voice 2014) and Mairearad Green accompanied The Poozies for their Island gig.

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But it was, perhaps, the talented Si Cranstoun who took everyone's breath away with a stunning performance of rock and roll, the crowd beckoning for three encores.

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London born son of a Jamaican Ska promoter, his career unfolded when busking with his brother in The Dualers. Eventually breaking into a solo career with his own six piece band (with a voice compared to the legendary Jackie Wilson), Cranstoun has been hailed as the 'King of Vintage'.

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Following on from this, the Centenary Centre played host to the talented trio Hot Club of Cowtown with a rich mix of hot jazz, western swing and succulent three part harmonies; including some hot fiddle playing from Elana James.

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Here as part of their UK tour, Hot Club of Cowtown's distinctive appeal featured at the Glastonbury Festival, on BBC Radio 2's Radcliffe and Maconie and Bob Harris Country programmes. They've also toured with Bob Dylan, worked with Willie Nelson and Roxy Music and appeared as guests on Later With Jools Holland.

Valerie Caine
© June 2016

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)