" . . . as a cellist-composer she morphs seamlessly from Stephane Grappelli-like swing and Bird-like

bebop . . . charming

kaleidoscope and jazzy showcase of her global folk music-inspired compositions."


". . . some of the most inventive use of the cello I’ve heard for some time." 

- Kind of Jazz

"Intense, lyrical and full of energy . . . Smart's cello singing, snarling or pumping out bass lines."

- Arts Desk

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Sunday, September 12th

Alina Hip Harp/Shirley Smart Trio

(Rescheduled from September 26th, 2020)

Our first contribution to this year's Roman River Music Festival is an exciting double bill featuring two outstanding young musicians: harpist Alina Bzhezhinska and cellist Shirley Smart.



An artist with a strong reputation for innovation, Alina's Hip Harp project creates a unique sound on the instrument with electronics and loop pedals, supported by a trio of top-notch musicians.


Through a combination of original works and covers, Alina pays homage to some of jazz, funk and Hip Hop’s greatest innovators, drawing from a variety of influences - from Dorothy Ashby’s ‘Afro-harping’, Alice Coltrane’s spiritual outputs and Sun Ra’s free form jazz experimentation, to 90s Triphop and Kuti-esque Afrobeat rhythms.  


Three years ago Alina stormed the UK music scene when her quartet appeared at the Barbican during the EFG London Jazz Festival alongside Denys Baptiste and Pharoah Sanders -  and she was subsequently nominated for Best Live Experience of the Year at the 2018 Jazz FM Awards.


Later, Alina produced her critically acclaimed album, Inspiration, featuring award-winning saxophonist Tony Kofi. Encouraged by her collaboration with Kamaal Williams, Shabaka Hutchings and Ursula Rucker, this forward-thinking artist now steps out in new jazz territory.

Alina Bzhezhinska (Harp/FX), Mikele Montolli (Bass), Adam Teixeira (Drums), Joel Prime (Percussion).


Acknowledged as one of the UK’s most versatile and creative cellists, Shirley is equally at home and well versed in jazz, folk, Middle Eastern and World Music, as well as classical, and her music draws upon this rich tapestry of influences.


Originally trained under Raphael Wallfisch at the Guildhall School of Music, and Janos Starker in Paris, Shirley subsequently moved to Jerusalem, where she studied and performed. During this period she absorbed the rich and overlapping worlds of North African, Arabic, Turkish and Balkan music, as well as jazz, working with some of the region's leading artists, including Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital, Khaled Jubran, Sabreen and Yasmin Levy


Since returning to the UK, Shirley has quickly garnered a formidable reputation with her own groups and projects, and has worked with many leading jazz and World Music artists, including Antonio Forcione, Mulato Astatke, Gilad Atzmon, Issie Barratt’s Interchange, Neil Cowley, Robert Mitchell and Alice Zawadzki.


Shirley's 2018 debut album, Long Story Short, received widespread critical acclaim, and she has since performed at festivals around the UK and Europe, including the London Jazz Festival. 


Shirley's trio features two leading lights in World Music and jazz - pianist John Crawford and Spanish percussionist Demi Garcia Sabat.

Shirley Smart (Cello), John Crawford (Piano), Demi Garcia Sabat (Drums/Percussion).

"Bzhezhinska has a formidable technique, which includes conjuring an unusually wide range of timbral qualities. She is

further equipped

with something you

cannot learn:  soul, which she has in spades." 

All About Jazz

". . . Bzhezhinska shares with Alice [Coltrane] a mastery

of the jazz harp.” 

The Times 

". . . a modern-day supremo, among the best contemporary harpists.”

- Evening Standard

Tickets: £16 / £14 Concessions. Students £6 (+ Booking Fees)

Doors: 7.00pm. 1st Set: 7.30pm