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lime Music feature: Lively Up Festival presents the UK Tour of Denys Baptistes

Lime feature- Music

Lively Up Festival presents the UK Tour of Denys Baptistes

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A restyled collaboration with Ben Okri, Lemn Sissay and Yeast Culture

‘Engrossing and intelligent music that also swings like hell. Dr King would be proud’ TIME OUT

Mercury-nominated saxophonist, Denys Baptiste marks the 50th Anniversary of civil rights activist, Dr Martin Luther King’s historic I Have A Dream oration in an exhilarating concert of music, poetry and the moving image. Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring! tours the UK from Saturday 5 October in Gateshead - Saturday 18 January 2014 at Hall for Cornwall, 7.30pm.

Inspired by Dr King’s momentous speech which demanded freedom, justice and equality for all, Denys Baptiste’s stirring suite, Let Freedom Ring! gained critical acclaim and standing ovations when it toured 10 years ago. In 2013, Baptiste re-invents and expands the piece for a new decade, adding an entirely new suite with gospel music and poetry, whilst reprising Dr King’s call to action: Now Is The Time…Let Freedom Ring!

Presented by Baptiste’s sensational 13-piece band the concerts will be moving, thought-provoking and uplifting, combining contemporary jazz with rousing gospel, blues, Afrobeat and Afro-Cuban rhythms. There will also be poetry with the voices of Ben Okri, Lemn Sissay and projected visuals by award-winning filmmakers/VJs, Yeast Culture. Denys has also invited local community gospel choirs in each city on the tour to join the band, some of which have been formed especially for this project.

‘Incandescent. A big leap forward in Baptiste’s short but already illustrious career’ 


Back in 2003, as a Jerwoood Commission for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Baptiste’s international line up featured the likes of Omar Puente, Abram Wilson and Gary Crosby. The original Let Freedom Ring! was awarded Album Of The Year 2003 (Jazzwise), Gig Of The Year 2003 (Guardian), and nominated in 2004 for BBC Awards for Best Album/Best New Work, and the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act. 

In 2013 as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Dr Luther Kings’ famous oration, Baptiste has written a prequel to his original piece, now widely regarded as a classic. 

Denys Baptiste says ‘As an artist and composer, I am humbly honoured to see that Let Freedom Ring! has endured, and I'm of course delighted to have an opportunity to reprise this work. As a human being, however, I'm saddened that, a decade after the premiere of this piece and half a century after the speech that inspired it, achieving Freedom, Justice and Equality for all remains a dream and the conversations around these issues remain fundamentally the same. When I created the original commission I focused Let Freedom Ring! around the most memorable, second half of Dr King's speech and I used the rhythmic patterns of his speech as the foundation for the four-part suite. Now, with an entire evening to share with you, I can expand and complete the circle.’

Tour Dates and Venues 

Saturday 5 October thesagegateshead.org, Monday 7 October usherhall.co.uk, Friday 25 Octoberturnersims.co.uk, Saturday 26 October southbankcentre.co.uk, Thursday 21 November harrowarts.com,  Saturday 18 January hallforcornwall.org


Produced by Lively Up! Festival www.livelyupfestival.com