Since launching in 2014, Sheffield based Talking Gigs have featured an incredible line-up of performers including Bassekou Kouyate, Robyn Hitchcock, Tinariwen, Sam Lee, Emmanuel Jal and many others.  Supported by Songlines magazine, and half interview / talk show and half concert and it’s an innovative format that gives audiences a real close-up insight into an artist’s work, life and culture. More than just an interview, artists perform particular songs in the first half, discussing them with the interviewer, before performing a full concert in the second half.

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Having recorded a number of times in India for Orchestra of Samples and with the project being a UK-French venture, in early April 2022 we were invited to performed the show in India at the French Rendez-Vous Festival in the coastal city of Puducherry, organised by the French Institute of India and international cultural organisation Les Francophonies.

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This month we were invited for a residency at More Music, the forward-thinking community space and education charity in the UK’s northwest Lancashire coastal town of Morecame.  As well as being a performance venue, they have a recording studio, education activities and youth centre with outreach programmes working with local schools via Lancashire Music Hub.

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As pandemic restrictions ease in the UK and more live events begin to happen again, it felt fantastic to be back on the road for our first gig of 2022, having already had a gig cancelled in early January in France!  We headed to Ipswich, in the east of the UK, to perform at The New Wolsey Theatre, who – as part of their opening season – hosted a few nights of music performances, including a jazz night from the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars and from ourselves with Orchestra of Samples.

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As pandemic lockdowns around the world began to ease and outdoor events began to slowly happen, one area of London decided to have a whole weekend of online only events, celebrating the London Borough of Newham and its incredible cultural diversity for audiences to watch worldwide. From 14 – 16 August 2020, Newham Unlocked streamed a live programme of arts and music, including circus, cabaret and theatre performances.

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Slotting in between India and a project next month in Indonesia, we headed to France at the end of January 2020. Sadly just a few days before the official Brexit deadline of January 31st, when the UK bids farewell to the EU, as we’d been asked by prestigious French arts venue The Pompidou Centre to perform Orchestra of Samples on January 24th as the last British artists to perform there before the official departure; particularly as our project is a musical journey without borders, about connecting cultures.

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Commission by the organisers of the London Mela – the largest festival in Europe celebrating Asian culture, music and food, we were asked to create a special short performance from part of Orchestra of Samples with east London’s Dhol Academy.  Calling our joint project ‘Dhol Addiction’, we all performed the closing event of the 2019 edition of the festival,

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November 2018 and our UK tour is finished! The almost year-long set of dates, kindly supported by Arts Council England, took us all over the country and after the summer, the autumn tour dates took in the likes of Cambridge, Liverpool and Belfast amongst others, with interviews on Sue Marchant’s BBC Cambridgeshire show (main photo at the top) and you can listen to her interview above, but the highlight of interviews was being grilled on BBC News (below) on BBC Music Day in late September where we were given the HARDtalk treatment by presenter Stephen Sackur, who’s more used to interviewing heads of state and difficult politicians!

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Last week, during our current tour, we played a wonderful date in the small UK town of Borden at their Phoenix Arts Centre, where rapper Matt Malone and long-time collaborator and percussionist Paul Gunter joined us for the performance.  After rehearsals we took the opportunity to record a session with Paul, who’s played so many times with us but still hadn’t been recorded for sampling!

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September saw us perform at the Soundtrack Festival in the Czech Republic in the spa town of Poděbrady, about 50km east of Prague. Headlining the festival was French composer and soundtrack megastar Eric Serra, who’s composed the scores for films incuding The Fifth Element, Nikita and James Bond movie Golden Eye – it was an absolute pleasure to meet him and see him perform live.

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It’s the summer of the long heatwave! The last 2018 UK tour gigs before the summer break saw us perform Orchestra of Samples in the UK towns of Milton Keynes at the IF: Milton Keynes International Festival with Dame Evelyn Glennie, in Horsham where 2018 BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist Toril Azzalini-Machecler joined us and in Harwich at the Harwich Festival of the Arts, performing in one of the oldest cinemas in the world, the beautiful Electric Palace built in 1911 (we also happen to be the last artists to perform there, as it’s now undergoing a huge restoration).

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WOMAD 2017 was simply fantastic! We performed on the Bowers & Wilkins stage to a wonderful capacity crowd and even did a cheeky encore cutting up and remixing Seu Jorge who was playing the main stage.

While there we were interviewed on Radio WOMAD 87.7FM, interview below alongside tracks from the album. Big thanks to the WOMAD press team. Tracks from Orchestra of Samples played: Hangman, Beachcoma and Rapscallion.

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It’s not often you get asked to perform in a cathedral!

This year, events at Coventry’s Festival of Imagineers took place in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral, heavily bombed during Word War 2. We were scheduled to perform Orchestra of Samples outdoors in the ruins but due to rain the festival had to move many of the days events inside the new cathedral right next door. Alejandro de Valera, our long time French guitarist, came over from Paris to join us on this one, playing his self-built fretless guitar.

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Spring 2016 and we returned to China for some dates, including at the well known Club Tango in Beijing and a festival in the coastal city of Xiamen, but also to perform some of our our movie remixes at the opening of the GMIC16, the Global Mobile Internet Conference in – quite incredibly – the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing (short video clip below).

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