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Friday, 24 March 2017

Lena Horne celebrated at GIJF



Sage Gateshead celebrates the songs of Lena Horne in her centenary year with BBC Radio 2 presenter Clare Teal, accompanied by her 17 piece Hollywood Orchestra conducted by world class trumpeter/composer Guy Barker. Opening this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival (Friday 31 March), ‘The First Ladies of Swing’ celebrates timeless classics from the great American and British songbooks made famous by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Peggy Lee and Lena Horne.

Lena Horne was one of the great African-American figures in 20th century entertainment. She was a dancer, movie star, civil rights activist and singer.  She was also a great friend of Billy Strayhorn, who famously worked with Duke Ellington.

Guy Barker said: “Ella Fitzgerald’s legendary status means that her centenary is such an important milestone that as a result it is very easy to pass by other important artists also born in 1917, of which Lena Horne is one.”

At the heart of this programme are three specially commissioned pieces. Guy Barker has been asked to re-imagine three classics associated with Lena Horne to be performed for the first time at Gateshead International Jazz Festival.  The chosen songs are Stormy Weather, which was Lena Horne’s signature tune, Something to Live For, written by Billy Strayhorn and which Lena often performed, and the ever popular Singin’ in the Rain, which Clare Teal will interpret in her own unique style.

The First Ladies of Swing takes places on Friday 31 March at 7.30pm in Sage One. To book tickets please contact Sage Gateshead Ticket Office either in person or by calling 0191 443 4661 or visit sagegateshead.com/gijf



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