- Plays To See

Sirocco is pure joy and energy - a great storm of music that celebrates the warmth and diversity of folk traditions from across the globe. This is music for the people, by the people; music that will raise the hairs on your arms and bring a great big smile to your face.

When we toured this show in 2018, critics called it a “once in a lifetime experience” and our audiences were dancing in the aisles. Now, we open our 19/20 Season with this joyous revival - 15 shows across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Switzerland.

We’re thrilled to welcome back Abel Selaocoe as Guest Director - he’s a friend, a colleague, and most of all, a completely inspiring artist who stands alone as an utterly unique, mesmerising, musical voice. Abel will be joined by Sidiki Dembele and Alan Keary from Chesaba, and of course, by the string quartet of Manchester Collective.

The show covers everything from Selaocoe’s outrageous arrangements for solo cello to beloved classics by Stravinsky and Haydn; from a set of original African folk to a collection of gorgeous Danish folk songs.

Sirocco is kindly supported by Arts Council England, and the RVW Charitable Trust.

Creative Team

Manchester Collective feat. Chesaba

Abel Selaocoe Cello
Rakhi Singh
Simmy Singh Violin
Ruth Gibson Viola
Alan Keary Electric Bass
Sidiki Dembele Percussion


Sollima Lamentatio
Lawes Aire in C
Trad. Click Song
Haydn Op. 76 No. 1, II. Adagio Sostenuto
Trad. Ibuyile (South Africa)
Trad. Ka Bohaleng (South Africa)

Stravinsky Concertino
Trad. Old Reinlender from Sonndala (Denmark)
Trad. Shaka (Ivory Coast)
Trad. O Fredik, O Fredik (Denmark)
Purcell Excerpts from The Fairy Queen
Trad. Takamba (Mali)

Book Now

Cardiff / Thu 19 Sep 2019 / 7:30pm
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Liverpool / Fri 20 Sep 2019 / 8:00pm
Kazimier Stockroom

Belfast / Tue 24 Sep 2019 / 8:00pm
Sonic Arts Research Centre

Glasgow / Wed 25 Sep 2019 / 8:00pm
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Leeds / Thu 26 Sep 2019 / 8:00pm
Leeds Town Hall

Oxford / Sat 28 Sep 2019 / 8:00pm
St Barnabas Church

York / Wed 9 Oct 2019 / 7:30pm
Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall

Hull / Thu 10 Oct 2019 / 8:00pm
Penny Red Arts

Nottingham / Sat 12 Oct 2019 / 7:30pm
Lakeside Arts

Manchester / Tue 15 Oct 2019 / 8:00pm
Royal Northern College of Music

CLF Art Cafe

Swiss tour: Zofingen / Thu 17 Oct 2019
Zofingen Palass
Tickets at Box Office

Swiss tour: Leuk / Fri 18 Oct 2019
Leuk Schloss
Tickets at Box Office

Swiss tour: Russikon / Sat 19 Oct 2019
Unicum Gartencenter
Tickets at Box Office

Swiss tour: Lucerne / Sun 20 Oct 2019
Marianischer Saal
Tickets at Box Office


Abel Selaocoe

South African cellist Abel Selaocoe is redefining the parameters of the cello. He moves seamlessly across a plethora of genres and styles, from collaborations with world musicians and beatboxers, to concerto performances and solo classical recitals. Abel combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion, and has a special interest in curating recital programmes that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions, with view to helping classical music reach a more diverse audience.

Having completed his International Artist Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music in July 2018, Abel has already performed extensively across the UK, at venues including Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Sage Gateshead, and Bridgewater Hall. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras including BBC Philharmonic and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and has performed with orchestras across South Africa, including Kwa-Zulu Natal, Johannesburg and Cape Town Philharmonics. 

Abel is a keen chamber musician, having made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2013 with composer Colin Matthews. He is the co-founder of BBC Introducing ensemble Kabantu, and in 2016 formed Chesaba – a trio specializing in music from the African continent, including compositions by Abel. He has enjoyed close collaborations with musicians from a medley of genres, including Tim Garland, Seckou Keita, Giovanni Sollima, Gwilym Simcock, and 12ensemble. In recent seasons, Abel has curated programmes at Kings Place, the Aldeburgh & Oxford Chamber Music Festivals, and has performed in both the late night BBC Proms, and BBC Proms Extra series.