When listening to the music of Nirek Mokar, it’s hard to believe he is a youngster of only 14 years old! Nicknamed the Boogie Woogie Kid, Nirek has been influenced by the original pioneers of the music, together with the watchful eyes and hands of boogie woogie stars such as Jean Pierre Bertrand and Jean-Baptiste Franc. He has an incredible ear and an intuition for tempo, fine-tuned by his constant desire to learn more and more and become better and better.
Nirek has “rubbed shoulders” with the likes of pianists such as Axel Zwingenberger, Frank Muschalle, BigJohn Carter and Ricky Nye. He has played in the Boogie Woogie Speakeasy in Paris – a venue unique to the music and featuring no less than 6 pianos! His passion and enthusiasm is infectious and his influences many and varied. Nirek used Youtube to improve his technique and it’s likely that others in turn will now be influenced by him!
Boogie Woogie is in the safe hands of Nirek Mokar....! You can see Nirek at the Stour Hall at The Exchange on Friday evening.
Nirek headlines the Friday Evening Concert - BUY TICKETS
Neville was born in County Durham and had piano lessons from the age of four! He began playing in working men’s clubs from the age of sixteen and these tough audiences provided a unique experience and grounding on which he continued to establish his musical career.
Neville moved to London in 1958, spending many years playing for little money in pubs in and around the London area. In 1968, Neville was auditioned by the BBC and there followed hundreds of broadcasts as a solo artist and also with his trio. His hit record “The Robin’s Return” remains one of the few jazz records to have featured in the hit parade.
Neville’s recording career continued to flourish In 1975, Neville recorded his LP “Back to Boogie”, selling over 100,000 copies. The original vinyl version is a collectors’ item. His discography boasts nine albums and over 40 cd’s, many of which are on American labels. Neville has visited America every year since 1982 and he is held there in great esteem, regarded as one of the world’s finest exponents of Harlem Stride Piano. During his last visit, Neville was very proud to be presented with the prestigious New York Alexandria Bay services to Jazz Award.
Neville has performed all over the world and although in his 80th year, he shows little sign of slowing down! You can see Neville at the Stour Hall on Friday evening, sharing the bill with another youngster, Nirek Mokar, aged 14!
Neville headlines the Friday Evening Concert - BUY TICKETS
Henri Herbert is a piano-playing phenomenon, and definitely one of the best and most sought after boogie woogie and blues piano men in the world. The former pianist of the mighty Jim Jones Revue now blazes his own trail, racking up an incredible 14 million YouTube hits on the way. Following successful tours of the UK, USA, Canada, Holland, Spain and France, showcases at SXSW 2016, two critically acclaimed EPs and support sets for Richard Hawley, Henri has a new live album, due for release in November 2017 and is firmly establishing himself as a name to watch.
Born in France, and raised in the UK, at an early age he was drawn to records made by the piano-pounding pioneers Jerry Lee Lewis and Albert Ammons. He spent many long days and nights studying their styles, spinning them into his own style. He cut his musical teeth performing all over Europe before being invited to join the mighty Jim Jones Revue in 2011, co-writing and recording songs on their album 'The Savage Heart'. Henri has been a solo performer since the Jim Jones Revue disbanded in 2014.
photo: Mark Illingworth
We are delighted to welcome back Henri to this year’s festival. Henri plays at the Stour Hall on Saturday evening.- BUY TICKETS
Born in 1960, “The Westphalian Boogie King” from Münster plays in a traditional style of “Pinetop” Smith, Meade Lux Lewis and other early masters.
Christian has made regular appearances on German television and radio shows, in particular the talk show “Theatrecafe Live”. He has toured extensively throughou t Europe and has performed with artists such as Angela Brown, Big Joe Duskin, Chuck Berry, Axel Zwingenberger and Martin Pyrker.
Like many of the early pioneers of the music, Christian is often influenced by the sounds and rhythms of steam trains. His third album (out of 9 to date) “Boogie Woogie Power Train”, is a fine example of the genre with a mix of well-known classics, together with some of his own compositions. His latest album, “Boogie Woogie with a Touch Blues” (2014) was nominated for the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis”
In 2015, Christian was honoured with the “Pinetop Award” for his contribution to Blues and Boogie Woogie piano. We are delighted to welcome Christian to the festival this year for what will be his debut appearance in the UK and look forward to his headline set at the Stour Hall, Exchange Theatre on Saturday night.
Christian headlines the Saturday Evening Concert - BUY TICKETS
Mike Denham was awarded 149 marks out of a possible 150 in his Grade 1 piano exam at the age of 8. It’s all been downhill from there! His solo piano playing ranges from the earliest days of ragtime and blues, through Fats Waller's “stride” style and the Great American Songbook of the 1930s, to Fats Domino and rock and roll.
As a young man Mike was asked to duet with the great Humphrey Lyttleton on Humph’s hit “Bad Penny Blues”, a number derived from boogie pioneer Cripple Clarence Lofton. This kindled a lifelong interest in the music which was re-ignited by attending the first UK Boogie Woogie Festival 13 years ago.
Mike currently performs at jazz festivals and venues all over the UK, and boogie woogie is an essential feature of his programmes. His “SpeakEasy Nights”, at which he duets with top musicians from the UK and abroad, have included the Festival’s very own Julian Phillips on several occasions.
Mike’s collaboration with vocalist Hamish Maxwell is very popular. The two made their first Sturminster festival appearance together in 2016. It was a great success, which they hope to repeat in 2017 at the Saturday afternoon matinee at the Stour Hall, The Exchange. Expect a piano rag or two to be included – it’s 100 years since Scott Joplin passed away.
Mike headlines the Saturday Matinee Concert - BUY TICKETS
Hamish is a blues singer in the mould of Big Joe Turner and has performed with legends of the International music scene over many decades. He was a good friend and indeed best man for the late Ian “Stu” Stewart, the piano player for the Rolling Stones.
He first appeared at the UK Boogie Woogie Festival in 2011, journeying from his home in Dorset to see what all the fuss was about. He made an impromptu performance of “Roll ‘em Pete”, accompanied by Patrick Smet at Caffe Espresso and has been a festival and boogie club favourite ever since!
Hamish has recently performed gigs with Mike Denham and they will be joining forces again at this year’s festival – don’t miss them!
Hamish Maxwell and Mike Denham play the matinee at the Stour Hall, The Exchange on Saturday at 2pm.
Hamish headlines the Saturday Matinee Concert - BUY TICKETS