Barbican Guide
October 2021

: Emmy the Great performing Rethinking Mid-Autumn as part of our series of online concerts, Live from the Barbican © Mark Allan.

Emmy the Great performing Rethinking Mid-Autumn as part of our series of online concerts, Live from the Barbican © Mark Allan.

Emmy the Great performing Rethinking Mid-Autumn as part of our series of online concerts, Live from the Barbican © Mark Allan.


This month we’re celebrating the breadth of music genres we have here in a special edition with a particular focus on the musicians that perform here.

Bass-baritone Davóne Tines tells us he’s hoping to make a difference with his forthcoming concerts, while master viola player Antoine Tamestit reveals how much being unable to perform during the pandemic has affected him and why he’s delighted to be back.

The National Open Youth Orchestra wasn’t going to let Covid-19 get in the way of its debut and Colectiva tell us why they think music is a powerful force for activism.

Elsewhere we have interviews with Darbar festival founder Sandeep Virdee, photographer Sebastiao Salgado and jazz supergroup Nérija. Plus our Technical Manager Mark Bloxsidge, usually behind the scenes making music events such a success, shares his favourite places to escape his desk.

It’s fantastic to see concerts are now back – what will you see this month?

Screen if you wanna go faster

Doc’n Roll is the world’s biggest music documentary film festival. Co-founder and programmer Colm Forde says events like this give animportant platform to marginalised artists.

Confrontational multi-media artist Lydia Lunch is the subject of a new documentary being premiered at Doc’n Roll

Confrontational multi-media artist Lydia Lunch is the subject of a new documentary being premiered at Doc’n Roll

Confrontational multi-media artist Lydia Lunch is the subject of a new documentary being premiered at Doc’n Roll

The demise of BBC4 as a commissioning platform and a lack of competition in the market mean music documentary makers who are interested in non-mainstream artists can struggle to get their films funded, says Colm Forde.

The problem is that the industry is in the middle of a phase of significant change, which means ‘safe bets’ are more likely to be funded while novel or marginalised voices go unheard.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as Doc’n Roll attests. As usual, the festival features a host of films about non-mainstream or marginalised musicians. The opening gala here is the UK premiere of Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over, about the life of confrontational multimedia artist Lydia Lunch. ‘Lydia is one of the leading figures in female empowerment. She arrived in 1970s New York City and became a vital voice in the No Wave scene. She nailed the patriarchy to the wall, did exactly what she wanted and was unapologetic about that. She’s inspiring,’ says Forde. Lunch will be performing the night before at Electric Ballroom in Camden.

Something very different but no less revolutionary is The Rumba Kings, which celebrates the musical legacy of a generation of Congolese musicians who combined traditional African rhythms with Afro-Cuban music to create the distinctive sound of Congolese rumba. This electric blend of styles was the soundtrack to the central African nation’s struggle for independence from colonial oppression by Belgium in the 1950s.

Dom Salvador & The Abolition tells the story of octogenarian Dom Salvador, the father of Bossa Nova, who fled Brazil during the military dictatorship and has spent the last 42 years as a pianist at a restaurant in New York City. He’s credited on over 1,000 records.

This year’s festival has particular emotional significance for Forde and Doc’n Roll CEO Vanessa Lobon Garcia, because they had to fight to keep the business afloat over the last 18 months due to the pandemic.

‘We can’t wait to show these films. Cinemas being closed was hard for everyone in films, and it’s just going to feel fantastic to see audiences watching these documentaries,’ says Forde. ‘It was only our independent, sheer bloody-minded spirit that saw us through.’

Doc’n Roll takes place from 28 Oct–10 Nov

Mass appeal

Bass-baritone Davóne Tines is using his platform to share a message everyone needs to hear

Davóne Tines has something to say. Actually, he has a lot to say. And it’s a delight to listen to. A graduate of Harvard University and the Juilliard School, his arguments are empathetic and provoke reflection. Plus, as a bass-baritone, he also has a beautiful voice.

After graduating in 2009, he became an arts administrator and sang in a choir at the National Shrine before deciding to go professional. He won a place at Juilliard School for his incredible talent and has since worked with some of the world’s greatest orchestras, composers, and venues.

‘When I came into wanting to study voice academically and professionally, it was with a desire to express something,’ he says. ‘I know that might sound obvious, and we often talk about that as a cliché in terms of music, but I earnestly wanted to access the medium of performing, especially in a vocal way, to express something very direct to an audience.

‘I found that I was most successful in saying something to an audience when I was very deeply connected to what I was trying to say. I’ve always been trying to contend with what is my actual personal identity in the context of what I’m trying or needing to say...context is everything

‘What that means for classical music is that I’m usually a sole African-American performer in a largely white context, especially as a soloist in front of an orchestra or in the midst of an opera cast.‘

My identity, for all of its intersections, is fairly singular, if not separate to the majority of people I’m sharing the stage with and the majority of people I’m performing for. For example: I have to sing Winterreise. How do I connect to the identity of a white, straight, cisgender male of Western Europe lineage, when I am a gay, Black, queer man from America? How do I connect to those ideas of love, loss and self-expression?

‘It’s the work of all performers to close that space. But it has to be acknowledged that the closing of space is an effort that has to be taken on. Intersectionality equals distance, and distance equals work. So I’ve been closing that distance for myself personally: how do I, a black gay man in America, find my connection to Winterreise? But when you zoom out a little bit more, how do I, with all the components of my identity, find myself closing the distance between myself and those I share space with, that are unlike myself? There’s a greater distance there, or at least a different kind of distance.’

He will perform here twice. Recital No 1: MASS sees him take Caroline Shaw’s miniature Mass and interweave the movements with snapshots from the Western European canon, African-American spirituals, and 21st-century traditions. His ‘devised concerto’ SERMON (the concert is called Truths You Need to Hear) takes texts by Black writers and amplifies them with arias by composers such as John Adams, Anthony Davis, and himself and Igee Dieudonné, performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska. He also appears in conversation at Milton Court, talking about his career, looking forwards and his online profile.

The aim of the programme is to connect across that distance he feels and engage with ‘the elephants in the room’.

The use of religious terminology for his works stems from his upbringing in the Black Baptist church in Virginia. ‘It’s to say that what is done in the concert space actually can have the same reverence of and possibility of human engagement as in liturgical spaces. In fact, they may be synonymous if we actually allow them to be.’ Amen to that.

BBCSO: Truths You Need To Hear takes place on 7 Oct

Davóne Tines in conversation takes place on 8 Oct

Recital No 1: MASS takes place on 12 Oct

Davóne Tines © Bowie Verschuuren

Davóne Tines © Bowie Verschuuren

Davóne Tines © Bowie Verschuuren

Is there a limit to free speech?

For her first major exhibition in London, internationally acclaimed, Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta explores the power of free speech and its implications

Shilpa Gupta, For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit, 2017–18. Sound installation with 100 speakers, microphones, printed text and metal. Commissioned by YARAT Contemporary Art Space and Edinburgh Art Festival. Photographer: Pat Verbruggen. Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

Shilpa Gupta, For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit, 2017–18. Sound installation with 100 speakers, microphones, printed text and metal. Commissioned by YARAT Contemporary Art Space and Edinburgh Art Festival. Photographer: Pat Verbruggen. Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

Shilpa Gupta, For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit, 2017–18. Sound installation with 100 speakers, microphones, printed text and metal. Commissioned by YARAT Contemporary Art Space and Edinburgh Art Festival. Photographer: Pat Verbruggen. Courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

The voices of 100 poets from across the centuries who have been imprisoned for their views will ring out across The Curve in the debut London exhibition by artist Shilpa Gupta.

Central to the exhibition is For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit (2017–18) – an immersive multi-channel installation and soundscape comprising 100 microphones suspended above a forest of 100 metal spikes, each piercing a page inscribed with a fragmented verse by a poet incarcerated for their work, writings, or beliefs.

Spanning poetry from the 8th to the 21st centuries, the soundscape alternates between languages, including Arabic, Azeri, Chinese, English, Hindi and Spanish among others. Through the multiplicity of voices and languages, the idea of ‘not knowing becomes a part of knowing and is integral to the experience of this work,’ says assistant curator Chris Bayley, who talked us through the work as Gupta prepared for the exhibition. ‘Over the course of an hour, each microphone, fitted with speakers, recites verses of poetry, which are then echoed by a chorus of its 99 counterparts, as if standing together in solidarity.’

Gupta has a deep engagement with language. Her practice encompasses arrange of media and processes including text, sculpture, drawing, photography, and sound. Working with what she terms ‘the everyday’, she explores ideas of cultural identity, human perception, and how information is transmitted and internalised.

‘Her practice is extraordinary,’ says Bayley, ‘with a poetic sensibility, she challenges notions of power, nationalism and explores ideas of physical and ideological boundaries and how we as individuals, or collectively, feel a sense of isolation as well as a sense of belonging. All of which feel particularly resonant in our current socio-political climate.‘

The exhibition was initially planned to open in autumn 2020 but given the Covid-19 pandemic, it now opens this month. Over the course of a year, our sense of confinement and isolation has been heightened. Shilpa will respond to this moment; this idea of immobility and stillness.

Alongside For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit, which forms an immersive climax in the final section of The Curve, Gupta presents a new body of work that builds on the research and themes present in the installation.

This includes the artist’s first pair of motion flap boards. The boards, often a familiar sight in train stations and airports that display departure and arrival information, are composed of letters and numbers on rotating flaps which are used to form words. Subverting their intended use, Gupta’s boards enter an uneasy poetic dialogue and interrogate dynamics of control, truth and relationships and expand on the artist’s use of sound, language and the power of speech.

Bayley says: ‘For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit is not only visually powerful, but it draws attention to wider stories and global histories of those who persisted to resist. By giving a voice to those who had been silenced, the work probes the value and limits of free speech, asking one to consider whether confinement or incarceration is an effective means of censorship against dissident thinkers if their words live on.‘

Shilpa Gupta takes place from 7 Oct–6 Feb
With support from the Henry Moore Foundation

What music means to me: Antoine Tamestit

Antoine Tamestit © Julien Mignot

Antoine Tamestit © Julien Mignot

Antoine Tamestit © Julien Mignot

’If you’d asked me what music meant to me 18 months ago, I don’t think I would have been able to give you an answer,’ says viola master Antoine Tamestit. ‘Somehow, this Covid year made me realise what music is for me, or what it represents in my life. It’s not only a huge and essential part of my life and my personality, but also I feel it’s a part of my body. I kept practising during the lockdowns on my own, but I felt like a part of me was broken. I did streaming performances, but they didn’t fulfil me, because I missed the audience. Not just the applause, but the feeling that you cannot describe – the spirit that’s in the air when you’re all sharing this art form.’

For his Artist Portrait series with the London Symphony Orchestra, he’ll probably surprise some with the breadth of music written for the viola. The most eye-catching is Jörg Widmann’s Viola Concerto, written especially for Tamestit. It sees him walk around the orchestra during the performance and requires the pianist to have a whiskey glass.

‘It’s a very challenging piece to play because there are seven positions on stage that I have to get to throughout it,’ says Tamestit. ‘You have to move, walk and play at the same time. You have to sing and play; you have to play more pizzicato (plucked strings) than you have played in a lifetime. You have to act as well. It’s a piece that is very rich and goes far beyond just the normal concerto, and normal classical music. ‘I always enjoy this because I like to express 100% of the personality of the piece and of myself when I perform. This piece allows that.’

Antoine Tamestit: LSO Artist Portrait takes place on 6, 28 & 31 Oct

Filming a premiere

The pandemic wasn’t going to spoil the National Open Youth Orchestra’s first performance.

National Open Youth Orchestra © Paul Blakemore

National Open Youth Orchestra © Paul Blakemore

National Open Youth Orchestra © Paul Blakemore

Due to Covid-19, the debut concert by the world’s first disabled-led national youth orchestra couldn’t happen with a live audience. Undeterred, musical director Doug Bott asked renowned director Justin Edgar of 104 Films to capture the important moment on film.

The National Open Youth Orchestra performed a brand-new work by Alexander Campkin, What Fear We Then?, written through a series of workshops with this pioneering inclusive orchestra, where 11–25 year old disabled and non-disabled musicians rehearse and perform together.

‘Filming it live was quite an ambitious plan,’ says Edgar, whose company specialises in disability and film, and has created many award-winning productions. ‘Usually, you’d have an audio mix down of the musicians, and they would play along to a click track, which you edit to. But Doug wanted to film it live to show how extraordinary the young musicians are and what they do. He wanted to ensure that people know these are great musicians and what they’re capable of achieving while they’re playing live.

‘It’s important to demonstrate that creating music with disabled people shouldn’t be viewed as something that’s therapy. Their disability informs that greatness and their musicianship, and the way they play relates to their disability and their life experience.‘

The resulting films include interviews with performers and composer Campkin, as well as the debut itself. You can find them here in November.

The sounds of the subcontinent

Immerse yourself in the classical music of India, musical traditions that date back thousands of years.

This year’s Darbar Festival of Indian classical music has a strong focus on British musicians. Restrictions on travel due to the pandemic are an important practical reason for this, but it also happens that in these circumstances, Britain is just the place to be.

‘We’re very fortunate to have an extremely strong cohort of excellent Indian classical musicians in the UK – more than anywhere else, including the USA,’ says Darbar Festival artistic director and founder Sandeep Virdee. ‘The reason is during the 1960s and 70s musicians came from India and East Africa to settle here.

‘That was my route. We came to the UK in 1975. My father was a peripatetic tabla teacher at Leicestershire School of Music. When he retired, he sadly passed away and we decided to run an event in his memory, which turned into Darbar festival.

Kaushiki Chakraborty will perform at this year’s Darbar Festival © Arnhel de Sema

Kaushiki Chakraborty will perform at this year’s Darbar Festival © Arnhel de Sema

Kaushiki Chakraborty will perform at this year’s Darbar Festival © Arnhel de Sema

‘The arrival of people from the subcontinent in the 60s and 70s meant children began learning Indian instruments in school. And now we have some superb examples of where that’s led to. Roopa Panesar is the best female sitar player outside India. She’ll be performing with Shahbaz Hussain, one of the UK’s master musicians on tabla, in a concert with maverick tabla and jori master, Sukhwinder Singh.’

Violinist Jyotsna Shrikanth returns to the Festival more than a decade after her highly acclaimed sell-out concert in 2010. ‘She’s an artist from India who came to settle down in the UK,’ says Virdee. ‘Although she now lives in India again, we’re lucky she’s in the UK at the time of the festival.’

With a talk by TM Krishna about the future of Carnatic music, a tribute to sarod virtuoso Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, plus hatha yoga to music, there’s so much to immerse yourself in at this year’s festival. If this is your first encounter with Indian classical music and you’d like to find out more, the festival opens with an online course.

Darbar Festival takes place from 21–24 Oct

Sandeep has picked a selection of excellent Indian classical music to listen to – discover the playlist below.

Colectiva action

Seven-piece Colectiva explore the spaces between Afro-Latin music and jazz while reflecting on themes of sisterhood. They tell us why they think music and activism go hand-in-hand.

The seven members of Colectiva

Colectiva use music as a powerful tool for activism

Colectiva use music as a powerful tool for activism

Tell us how the group came together?

Lya: ‘Colectiva was founded as a creative experiment by trombonist Viva Msimang to make space for female and non-binary identifying musicians to come together and collaborate in a new dynamic, free from traditional hierarchical structures and the “male gaze” (which is very common, especially in our musical universe). Since its formation, the collective has evolved and we’ve had the opportunity to work with top female musicians in London. The majority of our collective met at jam sessions or had worked together on other projects previously.’

Your sound brings together many different influences and styles. How do you navigate the creative process when you‘re writing music together?

Lya: ‘The melting pot of nationalities and influences in the band gives rise to a unique creative process; there is no dictatorship on what to do musically or what “rules to follow”. We all have different ideas so finding the balance is the tricky, but ultimately satisfying, goal. We don’t want to be categorised in a particular genre as we like to explore our different musical backgrounds and mix them with new sounds – pretty much like cooking without following a recipe and innovating with spices.’

Activism is an important part of your practice – can you tell us more about that?

Viva: ‘We do feel that activism is important and the creation of Colectiva stemmed from a belief that activism and art should go hand in hand. The project is a political statement and this was very much intentional – we believe that art plays a vital role in creating change and leading people to understand different perspectives.

‘During our collective discussions on the meanings behind our songs, we have seen some definite themes emerging; women’s struggle, domestic violence, resilience of spirit, overcoming adversity and the power in unity. Our next single, ‘How Do You Like Your Ladies’ is a tongue-in cheek reflection on gender dynamics, stereotyping and sexual harassment. We are planning to centre our release campaign around action to tackle sexual violence and discrimination in the music industry.

Alley: ‘Music and art have always had the power not only to connect people but ignite social change through political and social commentary/critique. These critiques, no matter how subtle, or obvious, can simultaneously unite, heal and empower people. As a band, we hope to inspire other women, our audiences and ourselves, not just through our music, but through what we embody as a female, instrumental collective.’

Balimaya Project + Colectiva took place on 2 Oct

Paradise on earth

Photographer Sebastião Salgado spent seven years photographing the Amazon. He says putting the photos to music has a profound effect.

More than half a century separates Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos’s suite dedicated to the Amazon region and master photographer Sebastião Salgado’s most recent work, capturing its people and landscapes. Yet over Zoom from his studio in Paris, the photographer shakes his head in disbelief at the concertinaing of time between the two projects.

‘Villa Lobos composed his beautiful suite for Amazonia many years ago. These pictures were the last ones I made – in 2019. But when you put the two together, you get the impression one was made for the other. It’s perfection.’

See just what Salgado means when Britten Sinfonia performs at an extraordinary event blending the two men’s work. Over 200 of Salgado’s evocative black and white photos made in the Amazon region will be shown as the musicians perform Villa-Lobos’s A Floresta do Amazonas, as well as other music that reflects on this stunning part of the world.

‘Villa-Lobos sometimes disappeared for many months. And when he returned, he brought sounds from where he went: the forest, the people. He put all this together and built a homage to the forest,’ says Salgado. ‘As I listened to the eleven movements of A Floresta do Amazonas, I knew exactly what pictures go with which part. I found it incredible that there are more than 50 years between this music being written and my photos.’

Born in Brazil in 1944, Salgado trained as an economist and moved to London in 1971, where he was employed by the International Coffee Organization. His job frequently took him to Africa, where his desire to document the trips sparked his passion for photography. By 1973 he’d abandoned economics and became a full-time photographer, working for agencies including the world-renowned Magnum in 1979 where he stayed for 15 years, before launching his own agency, Amazonas Images.

He specialises in long-term documentary projects that take years and many trips to complete. From 1986–92 he visited 23 countries for Workers, which documented the end of large-scale manual labour. A year later, he began Migrations, this time photographing people who’d left the countryside to live in cities. It took him to 43 countries and every continent.

Following visits to the Amazon during the 80s and 90s, it was on his last project Genesis – an eight-year, 30-expedition world survey – that he noticed how much of the rainforest had been destroyed. Determined to capture this ecologically important, beautiful wilderness and its people, he was inspired to start a new project. Amazônia took seven years. He photographed twelve of the approximately 190 different tribes in the region and amassed hundreds of stunning shots. Many of them are in his new book, and will be shown at an exhibition opening at the Science Museum this month.

‘For me, it was a huge pleasure because Amazonia is a paradise on earth. Its beauty, purity, the incredible population that lives in total communion with nature.’

The rain is so intense in Serra do Divisor National Park that it looks like an atomic mushroom cloud. State of Acre, 2016. © Sebastião Salgado

The rain is so intense in Serra do Divisor National Park that it looks like an atomic mushroom cloud. State of Acre, 2016. © Sebastião Salgado

The rain is so intense in Serra do Divisor National Park that it looks like an atomic mushroom cloud. State of Acre, 2016. © Sebastião Salgado

In total, he made 38 trips to the Amazon for this project, sometimes travelling for weeks at a time to reach the remote tribespeople who live in the forest with the help of FUNAI, the National Indian Association of Brazil, which manages all contact between outsiders and Indigenous communities. ‘I remember once I left Manaus (the capital of the state of Amazonas in Brazil), I stepped onto the boat and didn’t touch dry land again for 35 days,’ recalls the photographer.

‘Amazonia is so huge that there are many people who’ve never been contacted by other humans. There’s a lot of different kinds of tribes. But all the tribes are in danger because we are destroying Amazonia.’

He says he wanted to record the Indigenous people’s way of life in case it was lost, but also to remind the wider world of the importance of the Amazon.

‘I believe it’s important to show their way of life, their behaviour. To fix in memory – because photography is memory – who they are, for other generations.

‘I wanted to show how peaceful the people are, how full of dignity. To present them in a way that people could understand a little bit about the region and the importance of nature. I wanted to show that we must all join together in a movement to protect these tribes and this region.’

When you picture it in your mind’s eye, the Amazon is a riot of colour. Every green you can imagine, the bright reds and yellows of poisonous frogs, rainbow-like macaws and iridescent hummingbirds. With this rich palate in his viewfinder, why does Salgado shoot in black and white?

‘In reality, there’s no black and no white in the photos,’ he smiles. ‘The different tones of grey represent all the colours. So, when you look at my pictures, they come alive in your imagination. And it’s in these moments that you are becoming part of this picture. You are building part of my picture in your mind, and in this moment, it becomes mine and it becomes yours. That makes it much more powerful than just a colour image that you don’t need to use your brain for.’

Sebastião Salgado: Amazônia in concert takes place on 14 Oct

Members event – Sebastião Salgado: Amazônia in concert open rehearsal takes place on 14 Oct

The magnificent seven  

Jazz supergroup Nérija tell us their different approaches to music is key to their sound.

The sevent members of jazz supergroup Nérija

Nérija © Clare Shiiland

Nérija © Clare Shiiland

‘I think a lot of the way we write is quite organic,’ says trumpeter, vocalist and leader of KOKOROKO, Sheila Maurice-Grey. She’s also one-seventh of Nérija, the jazz supergroup made up of some of today’s shining lights in the London scene. ‘It very much reflects the time in which we were. I think a lot of things that happen in Nérija are quite natural and effortless.’

There is a definite natural energy coming from this septet, all of whom have their own successful individual careers. If you’ve had even half an eye on the ‘new wave of British jazz’ you’ll know them: Nubya Garcia (tenor saxophone), Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Cassie Kinoshi (alto saxophone), Rosie Turton (trombone), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Lizy Exell (drums) and Rio Kai (bass).

Many of the group met through Tomorrow’s Warriors, explains Tetteh. But although they each have their own ideas and individual approaches to music, they navigate the musical directions in the collective well.

Kai explains: ‘When we wrote our last album, Blume, we wanted to have a group approach to writing a song. It’s very explorative. Everyone had some input.

‘We’re all quite different musicians in our own right, which makes that process really interesting, because something that a band member might interpret one way, someone else would interpret totally differently. And it’s exciting to see how that then manifests in the music.’

The results are certainly exciting. Blume is a blend of styles and influences that is immediately enjoyable, but on more and more listens just increases in depth. As it was released in late 2019, the group’s not had much chance to play it live, so this concert will be treat.

They’re particularly looking forward to sharing a bill with Charles Lloyd, the spiritual jazz legend. ‘It feels quite surreal,’ says Kai, who says he would play ‘Forest Flower Chain’ every week at his shows at Grow in Hackney Wick.

‘We definitely flipped out on the Whatsapp group,’ grins Tetteh.

Charles Lloyd + Nérija takes place on 20 Nov
Part of EFG London Jazz Festival

My Barbican: Mark Bloxsidge

Spending most days in front of a computer screen, our Technical Manager says he tries to get outside for a lunchtime stroll around the Highwalks as much as possible. Here are some of his favourite spots.

The Thomas More Residents Garden

A favourite view on my walks is the private garden in between Thomas More House and Defoe House. It’s an inaccessible miniature park with inviting benches under spreading trees and green lawns – such a contrast to the brutal concrete surrounding it. Sometimes a squirrel will run along the parapet, leap across to a branch and then make its way down into the garden. I’ve never tried to follow, but on busy days I sometimes wish I could.

St Giles Cripplegate from Wallside

The view of St Giles from the Barbican Foyers and Lakeside Terrace is familiar to many, but my walk often takes me past the opposite side of the church, with a different view across the water past remnants of the old City wall. The church organ is featured on one of my all-time favourite albums – progressive rock classic Close to the Edge by Yes – and it’s been a privilege to hear this fine instrument during concerts and events I’ve worked on over the years.

The Olive Tree on Willoughby Highwalk

Olive trees are slow-growing and very long-lived. I first spotted this example as a sapling in its planter a few years ago and often walk past to check on its progress. There is always new building work on this side of the estate and I sometimes enjoy sitting by the tree for a moment to watch the new office blocks grow. I wonder which will exist the longest?

The Fire Escapes in front of Breton House

The Barbican Estate is famous for its Brutalist and often quirky architecture. You can often find circular features set within larger rectangular areas, from fountains and flowerbeds to the heavily-disguised air vents, lightwells and chimneys, but I’m particularly intrigued by the circular stairwells on the northern side. These fire escapes from the carparks and exhibition halls below protrude from the paving like wartime gun emplacements defending the flower beds. Details like the perfection of the circular brickwork here fascinate me. I should probably get out more.

Thomas More Residents Garden

Thomas More Residents Garden

Thomas More Residents Garden

St Giles’ Cripplegate

St Giles’ Cripplegate

St Giles’ Cripplegate

Olive tree

Olive tree

Olive tree

Fire escapes

Fire escapes

Fire escapes

The colourful story of electro pioneers

Discover the enduring influence of Tangerine Dream on electronic music at this exciting exhibition.

Pioneering electronic band Tangerine Dream was one of the most successful acts Germany has produced. An exhibition at the Barbican Music Library celebrates their legacy and showcases the remarkable musical vision of their founder, Edgar Froese.

As Tangerine Dream: Zeitraffer shows, the band’s influence on electronic music is profound and far-reaching and, with albums such as Phaedra and Rubycon, they laid the foundation for music styles such as trance and ambient.

The exhibition features rare photographs and video footage, cassettes and vinyl, gold discs, and memorabilia from the band’s 54-year history. You can also see original synthesizers including an EMS VCS 3 analog synth from 1969, which was used on the band’s second studio album, Alpha Centauri, and a Minimoog from 1974 which can be heard on albums such as Logos: Live at the Dominion London ’82.

Tangerine Dream: Zeitraffer continues until 15 Dec

Install view of exhibition

© M Southwell

© M Southwell

Julia Buchalska / @kaliska78ii

Julia Buchalska / @kaliska78ii

New perspectives

Julia Buchalska (@kaliska78ii) discovered the Barbican during the first lockdown and says she ‘fell in love with the place instantly’. She took this evocative photo and shared it with us using #MyBarbican. ‘I keep coming back and every time I discover a new corner, new perspective, new frame. I’m fascinated by shapes, lights and shadows,’ she says. ‘Those are the subjects of my photography.’

We love seeing your photos of the Barbican. Share it using #MyBarbican and we might use yours in a future edition of the Guide.

With thanks

The City of London Corporation,
founder and principal funder

Centre Partner
Christie Digital

Major Supporters
Arts Council England
Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation
SHM Foundation
Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement
Terra Foundation for American Art

Leading Patrons
Crystal Amber Fund
Trevor Fenwick and Jane Hindley
Mr Gregory Jankilevitsch
Marcus Margulies
SHM Foundation

Corporate Supporters
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Bank of America
DLA Piper
Howden M&A Limited
Linklaters LLP
Morrison & Foerster
Pinsent Masons
SEC Newgate UK
Slaughter and May
Taittinger Champagne

Trusts & Grantmakers
Art Fund
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch)
Cockayne – Grants for the Arts
John S Cohen Foundation
Creative Europe Programme for the European Union
Edge Foundation
Europa Cinemas
Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)
The Boris Karloff Charitable Foundation
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation
The Henry Moore Foundation
The London Community Foundation
The Mactaggart Third Fund
Tom ap Rhys Pryce Memorial Trust

We also want to thank Barbican Patrons, donors to Name a Seat, Members, and and those who contribute to the Barbican Fund.

Barbican Cinema has been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England which is administered by the BFI, as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund supporting arts and cultural organisations in England affected by the impact of COVID-19.

To find out more, visit or email [email protected]

The Barbican Centre Trust, registered charity no. 294282