Known for their experimental programming and daring collaborations across genres and artforms, Manchester Collective is a new kind of arts organization, built for a fresh and diverse musical world. Making their Longwood debut, the Manchester Collective string quartet, South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, and Sidiki Dembele and Alan Keary of Selaocoe’s African-music trio Chesaba present Sirocco, a show of pure joy and energy. Guest-directed and narrated by Selaocoe, Sirocco celebrates the warmth and diversity of cultural traditions from around the world, from original African music to gorgeous Danish folk songs.
Sirocco is music for the people, by the people, covering everything from outrageous arrangements for solo cello to beloved classics. When this program toured across the UK and Europe, critics described it as a “deeply moving” and “once in a lifetime” experience.
Known for their experimental programming and daring collaborations, Manchester Collective performs a combination of cutting-edge contemporary music, classical masterpieces, and staged work in venues ranging from concert halls to warehouses, nightclubs and festivals. The work of Manchester Collective has expanded at breakneck speed since their formation in 2016 by co-founders Adam Szabo (Chief Executive) and Rakhi Singh (Music Director). They now play across the UK and internationally, performing a combination of cutting-edge contemporary music, classical masterpieces, and staged work to a hungry new audience.
Crossing different genres and artforms, new music is of vital importance to the Collective; in recent years, they have commissioned major works by artists including Edmund Finnis, Hannah Peel, Lyra Pramuk, and Laurence Osborn. In 2021, they made their Royal Albert Hall debut as part of the BBC Proms Festival and are currently artists-in-residence at the Southbank Centre in London. Manchester Collective records for the Icelandic label Bedroom Community. Their second album Shades was released in March 2022.
South African cellist Abel Selaocoe is a rapidly rising star who is redefining the parameters of the cello. He moves seamlessly across a plethora of genres and styles, from collaborations with world musicians and beatboxers, to concertos and solo performances. Selaocoe combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing, and body percussion, and is devoted to composing works and curating programs that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions, broadening the horizons of classical music to reach a more diverse audience.
In April 2022, following his hugely successful debut, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra announced Selaocoe as Artistic Partner for an initial three seasons from 2022–23. He was also Artist in Association with the BBC Singers and Artist in Residence at London's Southbank Centre for the 2022–23 season, including an exclusive performance of his debut album Where is Home? (Hae Ke Kae - Warner Classics).
In 2016, Selaocoe formed Chesaba, a trio specializing in music from the African continent, including many of his own compositions. He enjoys close collaborations with musicians from a medley of genres, including Bernhard Schimpelsberger, Tim Garland, Seckou Keita, Giovanni Sollima, Dudu Kouaté, Famoudou Don Moye, and Gwilym Simcock. He has a close partnership with Manchester Collective, with whom he devised the hugely successful Sirocco, which has been enjoyed both live and digitally by audiences since 2019, and The Oracle, which toured the UK in 2022.
Selaocoe completed his International Artist Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music in July 2018. In May 2021, he was announced as an inaugural Power Up Music Creator participant in PRS Foundation’s new initiative to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector. In July 2021, he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for his compositional work. Selaocoe is an exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics.