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Yazz Ahmed & Melisa Yıldırım at WOW Istanbul

Serious are delighted to announce a new programming partnership with the Women of the World Festival in Istanbul. Continuing Serious’ long history of working with the British Council, we produce and present several exclusive performances from UK throughout the Festival weekend, Friday 5 – Sunday 7 March, running up to International Women’s Day on Monday 8 March.


The opening concert of WOW Istanbul was produced and programmed by Serious, and features a figure at the heart of the exciting UK jazz scene; the British-Bahraini trumpet sensation Yazz Ahmed.

Through her music, Yazz seeks to blur the lines between jazz and electronic sound design, bringing together the sounds of her mixed heritage in what has been described as ‘psychedelic Arab jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. Her career is studded with high profile collaborations which have seen her record and perform with the likes of Radiohead, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Transglobal Underground, Susheela Raman, Tarek Yamani and Amel Zen, including a world tour with These New Puritans.

Her latest album 'Polyhymnia' was released on Ropeadope Records and was conceived as a message to the world about the history and growing empowerment of women. It consists of a series of powerful tributes to noted women in history, whose stories resonated and inspired Yazz – a truly fitting opening for the WOW Festival.

Melisa Yıldırım
opens the concert with a solo set as well as joining Yazz Ahmed Quartet on a special collaboration. Originally from Istanbul, the London-based and multi award-winning kamancha (spiked fiddle) player and composer, was a major part of 2019’s Making Tracks, the UK-wide touring project

Serious also collaborated in the production of a series of concerts curated by Selector Radio. This series showcases young and upcoming acts from UK. WATCH THE SHOWS HERE

Maya Law plays an autobiographical blend of acoustic, neo-soul and hip hop, referencing the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill.  Her sound echoes the colours of Rosie Lowe, Jordan Rakei and BADBADNOTGOOD. In her concert she joins up with Freya Roy, the MOBO-funded producer with traction and respect from the likes of BBC 6 Music and British Vogue.  Freya's single ‘Fantasies’ features a powerful verse from vocalist Maya Law, fronting the release of her forthcoming project

Bryony Jarman-Pinto, whose sophisticated song writing is brought to life with harmonious vocals, layered with jazz, soul and elements of folk. Collaborations with Werkha have led her to be championed by Gilles Peterson, and in the words of Jazz FM’s Tony Minvielle ‘she’s the full package’

Heka, aka multi-disciplinary artist Francesca Brierley, who creates aural landscapes that reject genre constraints in favour of a sonic hybridity, through the melding of electronic and organic sampled sounds

WOW Istanbul will be an online event, held on Friday 5 – Sunday 7 March. It is organized jointly by British Council and the Sabancı Foundation and presented in partnership with The WOW Foundation. Founded in 2010 in London by its director, Jude Kelly CBE, WOW Festivals have spread over six continents, reaching more than 2 million participants with more than 70 festivals

For full Festival information visit WOWIstanbul.org

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