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Sona Jobarteh at TalkingGigs, 2016

After a hiatus of several years, Talking Gigs are back with a host of new musicians from around the world. We asked organisers Alistair and Nicky to tell us about the unique format of the shows, and share with us what they've got coming up.

Tell us a bit about Talking Gigs.

[Alistair and Nicky:] As the name suggests, we put on gigs that involve talking and music. The first half involves an interview with musicians to talk about musical and cultural influences, band history, any unusual instruments they play, and other themes that are important to their musical expression. This set has two or three songs by way of illustration. The second half will be all music. We hope our audience will discover something by the end of the gig - about the artists, their musical journey and their own story, which is often left untold in more conventional gigs.

Tell us about some of the musicians you've got lined up.

[Alistair and Nicky:] On 2 October we're pleased to present the Attab Haddad Quartet. Attab is an oud player who is fascinated by musical connections between the Middle East and southern Spain. His show, Baghdad to Seville, will bring a flamenco dancer to the stage so we can share some musical and cultural insights.

Attab has studied in London, Cairo, Istanbul and Greece. His own compositions have been on radio and TV, [and used] as film scores and in plays. He's collaborated with a variety of musicians and artists, including Juan Martin, Cerys Matthews and Ramon Ruiz. His own compositions are influenced by flamenco, jazz and Middle Eastern music.

On 7 November we welcome The Local Honeys, who hail from Kentucky. Montana Hobbs and Linda Jean Stokley are committed to the preservation of the music they've grown up with - bluegrass and Appalachian. They're also keen to create something new. Playing fiddle and banjo, their music is a mix of the traditional and the original. They're the first women to graduate from their state university's degree programme in traditional 'hillbilly' music. They're fans of the work done by Alan Lomax and Shirley Collins in collecting traditional music of the deep south in the 1950s.

They're international ambassadors of Appalachian music, and describe themselves as environmentalists and feminists. Their family backgrounds are firmly rooted in the rural and farming communities of Lee County and their music and storytelling incorporates awareness of social and environmental issues, as they write and perform songs to highlight these concerns.

What's been your favourite show so far?

[Nicky:] Souad Massi, because I never dreamed I would see her live, having enjoyed her music for many years, and Krar Collective, because the audience response was everything one could ever hope for from a Talking Gig. Their energetic performance of Ethiopian music and dance really connected with audience members, who shared that love of the culture. And finally Robyn Hitchcock, because I am a long-time fan and also got to ask him some questions.

[Alistair:] Aurelio Martinez for his infectious energy and overall performance, Shahe Mardan for an absorbing evening of Sufi music, and Rafiki Jazz for their overall diversity of music and the quality of their musical delivery.

Who would be your dream booking?

[Alistair:] Nitin Sawhney, multi-talented British Indian musician, producer and composer.

[Nicky:] Akala, rapper, musician and cultural commentator.

Sam Gregory

The Attab Haddad Quartet comes to The Hubs on Wednesday 2 October, 7:30pm. Tickets via talkinggigs.co.uk.

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