Fiona Talkington – Conversations with Trees

Conversations with Trees

Thomas Strønen, Hannah James, Jackie Oates, Helen Jukes, with Fiona Talkington

Reading Minster, Friday 26th July, 7pm, £12 and £8 concessions

Pre-event film: 

‘The Clog Maker’s Workshop’  Hannah James and Geraint Parfitt,  clog-maker St Fagan’s Museum, Cardiff (20mins) 

The MERL, Thursday 25th July, 6.30pm, free but booking essential

Introduced by Hannah James and Fiona Talkington


The premiere of a new  Anglo-Norwegian collaboration, curated for Reading Fringe Festival by BBC Radio 3  ‘Late Junction’  presenter,  Fiona Talkington where jazz, folk music, dance, storytelling and film come together to create an intriguing and thought-provoking  magical musical adventure.  Fiona brings together two major parts of her life – Norway, where she has produced and presented award -winning work for nearly 25 years, and musicians who represent her home town of Reading.




Jazz lovers will be familiar with the outstanding work of Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen most recently with the hugely successful ensemble ‘Time is a Blind Guide’ originally formed as part of Fiona’s Oslo/UK ‘conexions’ series, and now touring worldwide with two acclaimed albums on the ECM label.  Thomas is also a member of legendary Anglo-Norwegian band FOOD (with Iain Ballamy), Humcrush, Needlepoint and with the Mats Eilertsen Trio as well as being an in-demand composer.

 “Swooning syncopations”, “Prepare to be swept off your clogs”  [Boomkat – Time is a Blind Guide “Lucus” (2018)

Click here to see some of Thomas’s work. 

Hannah James has been a compelling member of the English folk-music scene since school days with award-winning band Kerfuffle, She went on to study at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, was a finalist in the BBC Young Folk Musician awards, and formed the acclaimed  vocal  group Lady Maisery and the brilliant immersive experience of her song and dance experience JigDoll and the JigDoll Ensemble.  Projects include mutli -national collaborations such as Songs of Separtion and Etho in Transit, and collaborations with Sam Sweeney, Karen Tweed, Eliza Carthy, Spiers and Boden.  Hannah performs fresh from an exciting project with Reading’s The Museum of English Rural Life, where her commissioned piece ‘Muscle Memory’ was partnered with her film exploring with work of clog-maker Geraint Parfitt. The unearthing of the life of trees evolving into clogs made for Hannah which will eventually live in Reading means this an essential part of ‘Conversation with Trees’

‘The Clog Maker’s Workshop’, was commissioned by The MERL as part of their project Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible, funded by Arts Council England. The film will be shown at The MERL on Thursday 25th July at 7.10pm, after the clog dance workshop at 6.30pm book tickets here.

Jackie Oates is one of the most acclaimed English folk singers, composers  and fiddle players whose ability to  bring ballads and stories to life  makes her an essential voice on the traditional music scene today. She was a founding member of Mercury nominated Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, a member of folk super-group The Imagined Village, winner of many awards including  BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Originally from Staffordshire, now living locally,  we are very proud that Jackie is working in our midst as  an Artist in Residence at The MERL, performing, composing and researching.

Click here for an interview with Jackie. 

Helen Jukes is the acclaimed author of last year’s captivating ‘A Honeybee Heart has Five Openings’ (published by Scribner) Her deeply personal account of a journey into beekeeping, the importance of bees in our life, and how bees reveal so much about ourselves  sowed the seeds in Fiona’s mind that Helen’s story and her insight had a key part to play in “Conversations with Trees”. Helen will recall some of her conversations with bees as part of the evening in the Minster, and we’ll see how her experience has influenced some of the music we hear tonight.

Click here for more about Helen’s book. 

Book Tickets for Conversations with Trees Here