Protest songs celebration first event announced for reading fringe festival 2019

A special collaboration between leading soul, jazz and hip-hop stars celebrating the power of protest songs has been announced as the first event for this year’s Reading Fringe Festival, with tickets now on sale.

A Change Is Gonna Come: Music For Human Rights will take place at the historic Reading Minster on Monday July 22. The show is fronted by four of the most respected women in the UK music scene, together on stage for the first time: soul singer Carleen Anderson, rapper Lady Sanity and jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Camilla George. Backed by bassist Renell Shaw and drummer Rod Youngs – who have played with Hugh Masekela, Skepta and Gil Scott Heron – they will perform unique interpretations of iconic songs from the civil rights era through to today, with new material by Anderson and Yeoh featuring alongside political anthems by Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone, Brandi Carlile and Marvin Gaye, as well as the Sam Cooke classic that gave the concert its name.

Anderson, who was described as “phenomenal…one of a kind” by James Brown, has followed her work with Young Disciples, Brand New Heavies and Paul Weller with an acclaimed solo career. She also acts as musical director for the project alongside Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year Yeoh, who has accompanied Neneh Cherry, The Roots and many more on piano and keyboards. Rising star rapper Lady Sanity has toured KRS One and represented the UK at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony last year, while MOBO nominee Camilla George is perhaps best known for her work with Jazz Jamaica. 

Festival Director Zsuzsi Lindsay said: “We are thrilled to be one of the select venues for this fantastic show alongside the Southbank Centre and WOMAD, bringing these internationally recognised performers it to the beautiful and intimate setting of Reading Minster will make for one of the most special nights in the Fringe’s history. And given the subject matter and the turbulent times we face today, we are delighted to be partnering with Reading Refugee Support Group for this event, as they mark 25 years of such important work.”

Taking place from July 20th to July 28th, the 2019 Reading Fringe Festival will bring over 100 events to venues across the town including comedy, film screenings, art installations, talks, music, theatre and family entertainment. Tickets for A Change Is Gonna Come, at Reading Minster on Monday July 22 at 8.30pm, cost £12 (£8 concessions) but are available at until April 30 for the special price of £8. The rest of the programme for the Fringe will be revealed next month.