FEATURE: New Year New Artists @ Sage Gateshead | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Paul Thomas Saunders

Let’s be honest, January’s never a fun month. It’s dark, you’re skint and you’ve probably given up on your new year’s resolutions already. Our advice is to kick out the doldrums by discovering your new favourite band, and Sage Gateshead’s New Year New Artists weekend is just the place to start!

As our Constant Readers will know, we’re always keen to hear exciting new music, so we’re really proud that New Year New Artists is presented by Sage Gateshead in association with us here at NARC. magazine.

The mini-festival takes over the venue from Friday 26th until Sunday 28th January, offering up a whole host of indie, folk, jazz and classical musicians. The line-up is impressively expansive, with even more to be added in the coming weeks. Kicking things off on the Friday night in Hall Two are psychedelic soundscapes courtesy of Paul Thomas Saunders, Durham’s folk songwriter Harri Endersby and alt. indie songwriter Brooke Bentham. The winners of Sage Gateshead’s Young Composers’ Competition will accompany two star soloists, Sindy Mohamed on violin and Aaron Pilsan on piano in Hall One on Friday, and there’s also an opportunity to hear the three competition finalists and vote for your favourite.

On Saturday, Hall Two and Northern Rock Foundation Hall present an eclectic line-up featuring Swedish Grammy-nominated violist Ellen Nisbeth, Indian classical vocalist Keertan Kaur Rehal, percussionist Christoph Sietzen, innovative trumpet player Tamás Pálfalvi and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-winners The Rheingans Sisters. Also on Saturday night in Hall Two, we’ve curated our very own line-up of top local talent, featuring VITO, Shamu and Shy-Talk. Sunday’s performance comes from Aaron Lee Tasjan, a resident of trendy East Nashville, his style gives nods to the likes of Tom Petty and Randy Newman.

For audiences, New Year New Artists is about ‘having a go’ and experiencing music that you might not have heard before

Tamsin Austin, director of Performance Programme (Popular & Contemporary Music) explains the ethos behind the mini-festival: “New Year New Artists is about bringing together a wide range of rising stars from across the musical spectrum. The daytime programme tends to feature the classical, folk and jazz genres which sit well alongside one another and the evenings embrace a wider range of contemporary music. This year our classical artists, supported by ECHO, have really embraced the more contemporary side of things. Ellen Nisbeth will be performing with viola and electronics, whilst Christophe Sietzen introduces tape into his percussion performances.”

Homegrown artists are just as important as big stars, as Tamsin explains. “Harri Endersby was part of our summer studios initiative, where we annually offer studio space and mentoring to emerging talent. She really impressed us with her imaginative, contemporary folk interpretations and we’re really pleased to offer her space in this year’s NYNA Festival.”

As Tamsin explains, the festival is ideal for those looking for something different. “For audiences, New Year New Artists is about ‘having a go’ and experiencing music that you might not have heard before. We keep the sets short, so none of them will be longer than 50 minutes and it is a rolling programme that you can dip in and out of throughout the day and evening. It’s about celebrating international artists that have a virtuosic level of talent, that might not be so well-known in the North East yet, as well as artists that are from closer to home, that are on the cusp of great things.”

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