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Virtuoso joins grand finale
Virtuoso joins grand finale

Sep 10 2004

By Cedric Porter


AFTER the Athens Olympics, Greenwich is next stop for virtuoso jazz violinist Luluk Purwanto.

The acclaimed Indonesian musician is star guest attraction in this year's Riverfront Jazz festival, which takes place in South-east London from September 17 to 26.

So keen is Luluk on the Greenwich event that she and Dutch keyboardist Rene van Helsdingen will be returning for the festival grand finale in the Trafalgar Tavern after flying out to Boston, USA, for gigs there.

She will be appearing with her band the Helsdingen Trio in one of two stage buses built for her. The bus arrives in London after 12 days of performances in Messolongiou Square, Athens, while the second bus is based in the States.

Organiser Dave Silk says: "When Luluk came to Greenwich before and saw the Cutty Sark she got very emotional and said she had a strong feeling the ship had been to Indonesia.

"Apparently this was actually the case when the Cutty Sark was involved in the tea trade and going to the East.

"Her style has been compared to Jean Luc Ponty - it's very dreamy and atmospheric and she scat sings.

"It's something between modern jazz and world music with a Continental feel.

"The first time I heard her playing was when I was in this band rehearsing for a festival in Holland and I heard this fantastic sound coming from the next room.

"I knew I had to bring her to Greenwich for the festival."

But Dave is quick to acknowledge that without generous help from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London, the lead billing in this year's festival programme would have been missing.

He says: "We couldn't afford them and they made it all happen - fortunately they had a booking which was cancelled."

*** Luluk plays in Greenwich town centre during Car Free Day on September 19, free, Mycenae House gardens, Mycenae Road, Blackheath on September 20 at 7pm, free, Oliver's Bar, Nevada Street, Greenwich on Tuesday at 8.30pm, 3, and the Trafalgar Tavern, Park Row, Greenwich, on September 26 at 7.30pm, 5/4.


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