WITH exotic sounds played by artists from around the world, Making Tracks is a travelling concert series bringing world-class, diverse music from all corners of the globe.

Tonight it reaches Oxford for a show at The North Wall arts centre, in Summertown.

The concert will feature solo and collaborative performances from Louise Bichan (Orcadian fiddler, Scotland), Rapasa Otieno (nyatiti and obokano player, Kenya), Barbora Xu (kantele and guzheng player, Czech Republic), Luna Silva (vocalist, France/UK/Spain), Melisa Yildirim (kamancha spiked fiddle player, Turkey), Kaviraj Singh (santoor player, UK/India) and Katariin Raska (Estonian bagpipe, mouth harp, saxophone).


Artistic Director Merlyn Driver says: “It’s lovely to return to The North Wall given that we held some of our first ever concerts there.

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“Given the current political climate, I think it’s vital that projects like Making Tracks – which is based here in the UK but open to musicians from around the world – continues to operate. Sometimes it feels like there’s a tension between venerating specific cultures and traditions on the one hand and seeking inclusivity and connection on the other.

“I studied anthropology at university, and if there’s one thing that I took away from those years, it’s the idea that when you make the strange familiar, you also make the familiar strange. This central principle of anthropology will always be at the core of Making Tracks’ thinking and mission.

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"We believe though that encounters between the ‘strange’ and the ‘familiar’ have the power to foster greater empathy, tolerance and understanding across social, cultural and geographical divides.


He adds: “In terms of the music, Making Tracks showcases exceptional musicians whose work is based on specific musical traditions. That can mean anything from someone absolutely rooted in a tradition to, say, someone mixing a vocal tradition like Sámi joik with electronics.

“I also see no reason to differentiate between what typically gets referred to separately as ‘folk music’ and ‘world music’. For me, they’re much the same thing; it just depends on your perspective. One of our 2019 Fellows, for example, is Louise Bichan – a fantastic fiddle player from Orkney. On the other hand, we’ve got Rapasa Otieno from Kenya, who plays the nyatiti (a buzzing bowl lyre).

“Another big part of the ‘new Making Tracks’ is our environmental focus. As well as taking concrete steps to minimise our own environmental impact, I want to address the void within music-making and performance when it comes to environmental engagement.


“The concert at The North Wall will be the first of the tour, so we’re all pretty excited about it! You’ll have the chance to experience everything from Indian santoor and Armenian duduk, to Estonian bagpipes, Turkish spiked fiddle and much more – all under one roof.”

  • Music
  • Making Tracks
  • The North Wall, Summertown
  • Tonight (Monday)
  • thenorthwall.com