* Jazz legend Guy Barker.
* Strictly singer Tommy Blaize.
A jazz legend who played with
Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra will be teaming up with the voice of Strictly Come
Dancing for a night to remember in North Wales.
Strictly singer Tommy Blaize
will be joining Guy Barker and his Big Band for a “powerhouse performance” in a
star-studded concert at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod at 8pm on
Friday, July 7.
It’s a return to the festival
for Guy who has also shared the stage with other superstars including George
Michael, Sting, Van
Morrison, Elvis Costello, Phil Collins, Sammy Davis Jr and Liza Minnelli among
The first of Guy’s two previous
appearances at Llangollen Eisteddfod was in 2003, backing iconic husband and
wife duo Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine and he returned to play with
bass-baritone Sir Willard White in 2009.
This time he’ll be conducting
his own 15-piece band along with Strictly Come Dancing lead singer Tommy Blaize
as well as Claire Teal and Vanessa Haynes and sax player Giacomo Smith.
Guy, 65, has fond memories of
performing at Llangollen and he said: “I played with Willard White when he did
a tribute to Paul Robeson and before that I was there with John Dankworth and
“I remember the stage and the
backstage area well and the audience were so enthusiastic. It’s a great place
Guy’s background is in
showbiz. His mum is actress Barbara Barker, now 95, who appeared in the first
seven episodes of Coronation Street and later in Z Cars and Emmerdale Farm
while his late father, Ken, was an actor and stuntman.
“In the opening scene of The
Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, my dad’s the one running naked into the sea
on the beach,” said Guy: “It was six in the morning and it was freezing.
“He loved the Swing era and
learned the clarinet and he encouraged me to play the trumpet so we could do
duets and bought me my first two albums, one by trumpeter Louis Armstrong.
“Music was all I knew and I’ve
never done anything else.”
The people Guy has played with
reads like a musical who’s who and one of his career highlights was backing
Sinatra in front of 45,000 fans in Italy.
He has also recorded eight solo albums,
two of which were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, and since 2008 he has
been the Musical Director and arranger for the annual Jazz Voice concert at the
Barbican, which opens the London Jazz Festival and has a long-standing role
with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
He arranged the music for the films The Talented Mr
Ripley and The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by the late film director Anthony
Minghella who said: “Guy Barker is that rare thing - a brilliant soloist, a
born leader and a generous accompanist. He can play so your heart breaks or
your head swivels.”
Llangollen Eisteddfod executive producer Camilla
King said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to book Guy Barker for a
return visit for what will be a truly memorable night.
“The audience can expect punchy brass, New Orleans
soul and a journey through the history of jazz song, featuring both classics
and surprise new arrangements, including a re-imagined Tom Waits number.
“It’s going to be a fantastic, one-off set drawn
together with Guy’s inimitable sense of storytelling through music.”
Guy Barker’s Big Band will take the stage
at Llangollen as part of a high quality series of concerts which kick-off on
the Tuesday evening, July 4,, with Eisteddfod favourite Alfie Boe who joins
forces with musical theatre super-group, Welsh of the West End.
Wednesday will see The White Flower: Into
The Light, a concert of remembrance for the fallen of Sarajevo and Ukraine,
featuring the NEW Sinfonia orchestra with soloists from Bosnia, Wales and
Ukraine, with works including extracts from Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man
culminating in the Eisteddfod’s traditional message of peace and hope for the
future of all nations
The popular procession of international
participants and celebration of peace takes place on Thursday, followed by
Flight, a new theatrical work by visionary artists Propellor Ensemble, inspired
by migratory patterns in nature and humanity.
Saturday features the blue
riband event, the Choir of the World competition for the coveted Pavarotti
Trophy, and also Dance Champions and the Pendine International Voice of the
There is a new look to the
final day of the Eisteddfod on Sunday with an all new live final which
sees rising vocal stars battle it out to claim the title Voice of Musical
Theatre, and a new song-writing competition for emerging voices in contemporary
“On the field, community bands, brass,
silver, wind, compete, and audiences can choose their winner of the new
Eisteddfod Dance Off.”
As well as the concerts, each
day features a full programme of competitions in the Pavilion and a line-up of
stalls and exhibitions on the field along with the competitors from around the
world, many in colourful dress while three open-air stages run a stream of live
year around 4,000 participants take to the stage with around 25,000 visitors
will also be lots of entertainment on the outside site including workshops,
talks, international showcases, outdoor theatre performances and circus skills.
* For tickets or for more on Llangollen International
Musical Eisteddfod and its competitions and concerts as well as how to get to
it and where to stay go to www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk or
check out www.facebook.com/llangollen