City of London Festival
What better to catch the commuter’s attention than bees and pianos? COLF’s environmental edge this year focuses on biodiversity and sustainability, placing bee hives and old pianos around the city for passers by to learn about and play. On the musical front, diversity and artistic crossovers are key to this year’s theme, being Britain’s oldest ally, Portugal.
Embracing the country’s rich influence there’ll be classical, traditional and modern music, dance and literature from the entire Portuguese-speaking world, spanning Angola, Cape Verde, Goa, Mozambique, and of course Brasil. COLF kicks off with some Chopin from virtuoso Brasilian pianist Cristina Ortiz, cellist António Meneses, and Heitor Villa-Lobos features throughout the festival (such as from Portuguese pianist Artur Pizarro), and all eyes will be on the leading Portuguese contemporary composer Miguel Azguime.
You’d do well to take in some fado singing, and there are reams of free and open air shows, from Brasilian accordion player Renato Borghetti to Deodato Siquir, to jazzy Brasilian songs from Claridade. Contemporary dance from Deborah Colker’s Cruel lands at the Barbican, there’s capoeira-inspired choreography from Mestre Ponciano Almeida and his Cordão de Ouro group, or you might enjoy the novelty of some capoeira on Hampstead Heath!