New Festival to Celebrate journeys, stories, migrations and community

Anna Phoebe, appearing later this month at the first Embark Festival

Embark is a brand new global music and arts festival taking place from 31st August-3rd September 2022 at St James’s Church Piccadilly, in central London. The event brings together performers and artists from around the world, as well as showcasing visual art, spoken word and performances, under the festival’s thematic banner of migrations, journeying, storytelling and the crossing of thresholds. This year, as a first iteration, the festival is focussing on musicians whose influences and lived experiences are drawn from the UK, and around the world.

The impressive, thoughtfully curated line-up includes Mercury Prize winning percussionist, producer and composer, Talvin Singh, who is renowned for creating the bridge between Indian and electronic music.

Polymath composer, producer, bandleader, TV presenter and Artistic Director Soumik Datta is also announced. A torchbearer of the 19 stringed, fretless Indian instrument ‘sarod’, Soumik’s work embraces traditional roots and contemporary electronica to address the urgent issues of our times.

London-born vocalist and composer Deepa Nair Rasiya has been making waves on the World Music platform internationally and is increasingly recognised as a pioneering and innovative composer with a deeply soul-stirring vocal style. Also announced is award-winning violinist and composer Anna Phoebe. Anna’s latest album Sea Souls is a rich musical palette inspired by the natural world, exploring the dialogue between the sea and inner psyche. It has received widespread support, including BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 6 Music.

Non-musical programming includes the Glasgow-based Iranian artist and photographer Iman Tajik, who will display photography and sculpture inside the Church throughout the festival.  Tajik’s work is anchored in a strong social interest and demonstrates an effort to make work that is a critical tool connected to international movements for social change. He will take part in an ‘in conversation’ event, talking about his art practice in more depth with St James’s Church Creative Director Richard Parry on 31 August, introduced by Reverend Lucy Winkett.

In celebration of accessibility and inclusion within its community, Embark will also host a ‘pay as you feel’ afternoon programme of events in its courtyard on the afternoon of Saturday 3rd September, in collaboration with Good Chance Theatre, which creates new kinds of communities by collaborating with artists from across the world, connecting people with stories and cultures.

Joe Murphy & Joe Robertson, Co-Artistic Directors of Good Chance says:

“Everyone at Good Chance is thrilled to be working with the wonderful Embark festival. We have always felt that art has a unique way of helping us better understand each other as people, no matter where we are from. No matter how natural the reflex to look inwards can feel, it is never the right way. Festivals like Embark can help us begin a journey of looking outwards, of curiosity about each other through our art.”

Lucy Winkett, Rector of St Jame’s Piccadilly said: “St James’s Church Piccadilly is not just a building, it’s an idea and an invitation. The idea is that creativity is in itself a language of the human spirit, and that figuring out what it is to be human is a matter of the soul too. The invitation is to gather, to imagine a better world together. The new Music, Arts and Ideas programme at St James’s invites people of all faiths, identities, backgrounds and beliefs to address the deepest questions facing us today. And it begins with ‘Embark’, highlighting one of the biggest issues of our time: the movement and migration of people.”