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BBC Proms 2019: Jules Buckley announces homage to Nina Simone and a celebration of breaks

Jules Buckley

Story by Jack Foley

GRAMMY award-winning, pioneering conductor, curator and musical maverick Jules Buckley sets a new precedent with two game-changing BBC Proms this summer (2019) – Mississippi Goddam: A homage to Nina Simone and The Breaks.

Buckley’s unapologetic trailblazing, genre-smashing approach has brought him widespread acclaim from legends like Quincy Jones, the late, great Scott Walker, to Pete Tong. And his impeccable Proms track record looks set to continue, as he levels up with two new unmissable Proms this season.

With the two high profile orchestras he leads, Metropole Orkest and Heritage Orchestra, Buckley has worked with some of the hottest names in music and become widely celebrated as the much-imitated, originator of a long series of orchestral re-imaginings and re-workings, across a broad range of genres, from dance music and EDM, to grime and everything between.

This year’s Proms are as follows…

Mississippi Goddam: A homage to Nina Simone on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Featuring: Jules Buckley curator, conductor with Metropole Orkest Ledisi. More artists to be announced.

Taking a bold, fresh look at the life and work of singer, pianist, and social activist, Nina Simone, Buckley presents an in-depth look into the songs which helped create the legacy of this truly remarkable artist.

Celebrated here in all her guises, Buckley presents innovative re-workings of some of her most iconic songs including, My Baby Just Cares For Me and Feelin´Good, alongside some lesser known gems.

Buckley leads the Metropole Orkest with special guest, American contemporary R&B and jazz vocalist, songwriter and actress, Ledisi. A 12-time Grammy nominee, Ledisi’s pristine, powerful, gospel-drenched vocals and trademark swagger make her the perfect artist to bring the music of Nina Simone to life.

Mississippi Goddam: A homage to Nina Simone will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and on BBC FOUR TV on August 30, 2019.

The Breaks on Friday, September 6, 2019

Created by Jules Buckley and Chris Wheeler. Featuring: Jules Buckley co-curator, conductor with The Heritage Orchestra Soul Mavericks, featuring Terra & Eddie, Sunni and Lagaet, Mr Switch, Alice Russell, Vula Malinga and Brendan Reilly.

Together with Chris Wheeler, co-founder of The Heritage Orchestra, Buckley and Wheeler assemble a stellar cast to present an exhilarating, 90-minute non-stop musical exploration into ‘The Breaks’; the culture-defining music that has inspired the world of scratch DJs and breakdancing since the 1970s.

Of the four pillars of hip-hop culture, alongside MC-ing, DJ-ing and graffiti art, breakdancing has developed from its original roots, taking influences from disco, funk, soul and beyond, to become a globally recognised art form.

‘The Breaks’ features performances from the UK’s very own Soul Mavericks, the award-winning crew has represented UK B-boying to the highest level, earning a reputation as one of the world’s top breaking crews and ambassadors of UK hip-hop culture.

Breakdancers Sunni and Lagaet also appear alongside UK turntable royalty Mr Switch. Four times World DMC Champion, turntablist Mr Switch is noted for his versatility, party rocking and scratch skills. Powerful soul vocals come courtesy of Alice Russell, Brendan Riley and Vula Malinga. Let battle commence!

The Breaks will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Jules Buckley said: “I’m truly honoured to return to the Royal Albert Hall for my 15th and 16th BBC Proms concerts with Metropole Orkest and Heritage Orchestra this year. It feels great to raise the bar a little more in homage to the iconic great that is Nina Simone, as well as celebrate the music that has helped define the Breakdance scene and cemented its place as one of the four pillars of hip hop culture, worldwide. The excitement never gets old.”

Ever since the phenomenally successful Ibiza Prom in 2015 with BBC Radio 1, three Proms in 2016 with Quincy Jones, Kamasi Washington and Jamie Cullum, as well as proms in tribute to Scott Walker and Charles Mingus in 2017, Buckley continues to innovate.

His BBC Proms last summer, New York: Sound Of A City with Hercules and Love Affair, Serpentwithfeet and Sharon von Etten alongside Jacob Collier and Friends simply cemented his reputation as the most in-demand conductor and orchestrator of his generation.

Photo credit: Suki Dhanda