top of page
  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke



REVIEW By Steve Cooke

Following the wonderful Angelique Kidjo the previous evening Manchester’s AFRODEUTSCHE took to the stage with the Manchester Camerata string section at Factory International for her MIF23 performance of her composition Psalms, an expression of worship, with a nod to Handel.

A completely different but equally engaging vibe which drew the audience in to a world of haunting vocals, classical piano, strings, electronic sounds, and cinematography.

AFRODEUTCHE explained that a recent diagnosis of autism had led to a realisation that their understanding of 'love' was different from other people's - taking her on a deeply personal exploration of which some of these songs were a part.

The performance opened with AFRODEUTSCHE at the piano, surrounded by the Manchester Camerata’s strings, set against a backdrop of meditative candlelight.

They commanded the stage wearing a golden sand-shaded robe with a stunning red headdress.

AFRODEUTSCHE intertwined these Psalm-like melodies with the Camerata’s adagio string lines to moving effect captivating the audience.

The “songs of worship,” encompassed repeated lines such as “I give you all” and wordless melodies, brooding to joyful, with the Camerata’s staccato passages or gentle sways creating an immersive experience.

After about 45 minutes, beats were introduced with Michael England’s remarkable footage projected onto the cinema screen behind the performers.

Layered string lines intertwining with images of metal gears representing the movement of time were accompanied by simple but highly effective breakbeats.

As the conclusion approached, 808 beats and Acid House sounds merged with dramatic adagio strains from the highly versatile and always excellent Camerata.

The piece was further intensified by images of bound and writhing bodies in bicycle inner tubes climaxing with the screen becoming an inferno of raging flames.

The audience were on their feet passionately and affectionately applauding, knowing that they had just witnessed something special.

ORTOA (Oldham, Rochdale & Tameside Organists Association) summer trip to Leeds Saturday 8 July 2023

REVIEW By Dr Joe Dawson

During the extensive renovation of Rochdale Town Hall, the renowned Binns organ has been silent, under wraps and surrounded by scaffolding. Soon it will re-emerge and undergo restoration work itself before thundering joyously once more. Watch this space!

Meanwhile ORTOA committee has kept up its traditions since 1908 and members have been exploring their patch with its varied and renowned instruments. Rochdale Parish Church, St Paul’s Royton and Albion URC Tameside have been used and promoted as suitable venues for celebrity recitals by some of Britain’s finest organists.

In addition to this the membership has been encouraged to continue with AGMs, meetings and ‘organ crawls’ in the area. This includes an annual visit to a significant place of interest in the organ world. This year the intrepid explorers ventured over to Leeds, organised by former president Mark Johnson.

It meant a 9 am start at Leed’s Roman Catholic Cathedral (St Annes) where resident organist David Pipe, introduced the venue and demonstrated the magnificent instrument. Members were invited to play and got any advice needed. Every organ is different and usually individually designed and developed for a particular site. These three today were particularly well respected in the UK.

The second was across the city centre in the Anglican Leeds Minster. Formerly known as Leeds Parish Church, again help was on hand for members to experience a notable historic organ.

Following lunch, the third was at St Bartholomew’s Church in Armley, Leeds. This superb instrument (illustrated) is breathtaking at first sight. The genial host was the celebrated organist Graham Barber, who showed its vast potential with a splendid short recital. The histories of all the venues and significance in their areas, as well as the instruments themselves were fascinating.

The rovers left for home about 4.30pm. after a full, informative, and musically satisfying day.

New members are always welcome: or contact Hon Sec Barrie Brailsford on 01706 343163.

Next ORTOA organ concert 2nd Sept at 3.00, featuring David Grealy (from Leeds Cathedral) in Albion

URC Church, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 6QQ.


Saturday 22 July

Messy Church

Fun time of craft, music, and food. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Free (donations accepted)

Phone: Andrew Hardwick 01706 644134

4pm - 6pm

Moorhouse Methodist Church, Rochdale Road, Milnrow OL16 3LN

Saturday 22 July

Calling Planet Earth

A New Romantic symphony that goes on a journey through one of the greatest musical eras of all time – the electrifying 80s.

Featuring songs from now legendary artists such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, The Human League, Ultravox, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, OMD, Japan, ABC, Soft Cell and many more!

Performed by an incredible live band with impressive symphonic arrangements combined with stunning vocals and cast, this is the must-see show that simply defines a decade.

Tickets from £26.50

Phone: Middleton Arena Box Office 0300 303 8633 



Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG

Saturday 22 July - Sunday 23 July

Summer Fair

Local craft and food fair selling beautifully made crafts and locally made food items in the totally unique Engine House at Lodge Mill with its garden next to the River Irk.

Hot food and drinks are available plus locally made ice cream available from the Ice Cream Shop at Lodge.

Artisan craft and gift stalls, Sweet treats and cake, Food stalls, Birch Farm traditional ice cream


Phone: Martin Cove 07775 660072


11am - 4pm

The Engine House at Lodge, Lodge Mill, Townley Street, Middleton M24 1AT

Sunday 23 July

Makers Market

Beautiful handmade art and crafts for sale by talented local artists.

Includes bags, jewellery, cards, hand painted glass, prints and paintings.

Tea and coffee available.

All welcome.


Phone: Liz White 07801 433970

11am - 4pm

Star Tree Studio, Hare Hill Park, Littleborough OL15 9BG

Wednesday 26 July

Wednesday Art Group

The weekly Art Club will regularly explore a variety of topics using collage, drawing, painting, and mixed media drawing from Touchstones Rochdale’s current exhibitions and the borough’s collections. All materials will be provided.

The sessions are designed to reduce stress, build confidence, and meet others through creativity.

Creative Health and Well Being Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation based in Rochdale. They run art sessions that are informal and relaxed whilst ensuring the topics are informative and help participants to build skills.




Touchstones Gallery Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ

Wednesday 26 July

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have Duncan Reid violin and Jonathan Ellis piano (both RNCM & Manchester University double graduates).

The concert series has been held at St Mary’s since 2001 and was granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020… during the pandemic!

Running every Wednesday, Music at Lunchtime is a weekly live classical music concert series that has been going since the 1960s. The sessions were initially run at the old Rochdale Art Gallery by the local authority, but since May 2001 have been run by volunteer-enthusiasts and artistic director, Dr Joe Dawson.


Phone: Dr Joe Dawson 01706 648872

Doors open 12noon, concert starts 12.30pm - 1.30pm

St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane/St Mary's Gate, Rochdale OL16 1DZ

celebrating creative arts and artists - an oasis of positivity supporting individual and community wellbeing.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page