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Toots & The Maytals to headline Walthamstow Garden Party 2017

Story by Jack Foley

REGGAE and ska founding fathers Toots and the Maytals will headline the Barbican Music Stage on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at the Walthamstow Garden Party.

In addition, members of Britten Sinfonia, the pioneering classical music ensemble, will be joined by their Academy to perform the music of Philip Glass and Steve Reich on the Barbican Music Stage.

The fourth Walthamstow Garden Party takes place on Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16. The free event, taking place across Lloyd Park, will host the best talent from around the globe and from Waltham Forest’s thriving creative and cultural communities.

The two days of performances and opportunities to get involved will span music, theatre, dance, circus, film, spoken word, arts and crafts, food and family activity, and will be delivered in partnership with local organisations. Over 30,000 people have attended every year since the festival began in 2014.

Newly added to the line-up for 2017 are reggae and ska founding fathers Toots and the Maytals, who will headline the Barbican Music Stage on Saturday 15 July with a performance of classics from across their back catalogue.

Releasing their first album in the early 60s, Toots and the Maytals quickly established themselves as leading purveyors of the reggae sound, and were pivotal in popularising the genre beyond Jamaica.

Their take on the style, drawing on funk, rock, soul and country, revolutionised reggae and influenced countless others, with artists as diverse as The Clash, The Specials and Amy Winehouse covering their music.

Following their appearance at Walthamstow Garden Party, they will also be playing the Barbican Hall on July 28.

Also added to the Barbican Music Stage are Britten Sinfonia Academy, a dynamic chamber orchestra of talented secondary school-aged musicians playing alongside Britten Sinfonia musicians.

Britten Sinfonia is a Barbican Associate Ensemble, and this will be the first time that Britten Sinfonia Academy has performed at Walthamstow Garden Party.

The Academy will present a programme of music from two of the most influential composers working today – performing Steve Reich’s Clapping Music and Philip Glass’ Music in Similar Motion.

Louise Jeffreys, Director of Arts, Barbican, said: “The Barbican is incredibly proud to continue its work with Create, Waltham Forest Council and the local people, groups and organisations that are integral to the success of Walthamstow Garden Party.

“We are committed to building on our long history of working across east London and showcasing local creativity at the event. The Barbican is passionate about ensuring the festival continues to be a catalyst for new ideas, ambitious thinking and innovative collaborations, and a fantastic day out for all ages in the heart of Walthamstow.”

Other performers include…

• Janka Nabay, Sierra Leonean musician performing feel-good folk-dance music, melding polyrhythmic folk tunes and high-octane psychedelia.

• Doug Hream Blunt, the San Franciscan funk outsider who gained late recognition from artists such as Ariel Pink, David Byrne and Devendra Banhart is joined by The Messengers, a band formed through Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning and made up of people with experience of homelessness.

• The Heliocentrics, Walthamstow-based musical collective combining funk, jazz and psychedelia.

• BNegão & Seletores de Frequência, Brazilian collective fusing samba, rap, soul, reggae and afrobeat.

• DJ Katapila, Ghanaian DJ and producer renowned for relentlessly joyful DJ sets, splicing traditional dance music styles with the up tempo sounds of Detroit techno, Chicago acid and ecstatic 90s chart house.

• La Mambanegra, a.k.a The Black Mamba, a Columbian ensemble at the vanguard of modern salsa.

• The Ska Vengers, New Delhi band blending ska rhythms with dub, punk, jazz and rap.

Further details on the Walthamstow Garden Party programme are available on the website, with many more line up additions still to be announced.