FUNK KINGS AND GOSPEL QUEENS COMBINE FOR CHRISTMAS CRACKER



FUNK icons Smoove & Turrell and gospel powerhouses Voices of Virtue will headline a Christmas cracker of a concert at Sunderland’s newest cultural venue.

Fresh from their chart-topping seventh album, Smoove & Turrell will be joined by soul and gospel favourites Voices of Virtue at a special Christmas concert at The Fire Station Auditorium, the city’s new £18m, state-of-the-art, cultural hub.

The gig, on Sunday, December 19, will also feature MC Kay Greyson and The Origin Crew dancers. Voices of Virtue will kick things off with an uplifting set of soul/gospel classics before Smoove & Turrell take to the stage – and they’ll then come together for a memorable gospel-powered funk set.

Tamsin Austin, Director of The Fire Station, said: “Smoove & Turrell are recognised as the kings of northern funk; Voices of Virtue are the queens of gospel so we’ll be in for a real treat when they perform at what will be a very special Christmas show.

We’ll have the seats out, club style, downstairs so it will be dancing room only for our Christmas party which will be packed with special guests. I urge people to get their tickets now as they’re selling quickly – it will be a night to remember.”

Smoove & Turrell were formed in the late 2000s by a ‘group of lads with a shared passion for soul.’ The band has gone on to become one of the region’s finest musical exports and a mainstay of the North East music scene. They are renowned for marrying high-energy funk and soul grooves with socially conscious lyrics.

Smoove & Turrell’s first ever single I Can’t Give You Up became an instant cult classic, with the original 7-inch record selling for upwards of £160 after its limited release. The influential DJ, radio host and tastemaker Craig Charles was one of the first to champion their contemporary take on soul.

By the release of their second album, Eccentric Audio, Smoove & Turrell had built a loyal following and were touring both nationally and internationally.

Word soon spread across the pond and the band’s tracks began to be used extensively across American TV and advertising.

Several years and six studio albums later, Smoove & Turrell are at the very top of their game, with Stratos Bleu, released in 2020, quickly going to No.1 in the Official UK Dance Chart.

Smoove, of Smoove and Turrell, said: “We are really excited to perform at The Fire Station. Smoove is originally from Sunderland, so this will be a certain home coming for him. We are bringing some extra special guests for our Christmas extravaganza!”

ChiChi Igu, of Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir, continued: “We are looking forward to being back in the city of Sunderland and vibing with you all this December at The Fire Station, bringing you uplifting Gospel and Soul sounds."

High-energy soul and gospel favourites Voices of Virtue started more than 10 years as a duo called Chayil, which means virtuous woman. The duo became a quartet named Augmented which transformed into a full choir, with their new name reflecting their origins – from women of virtue to Voices of Virtue.

The choir are famous for their sold out 100% Soul shows and fans of their sublime vocals include Prince William and Sting whom they have performed for and alongside respectively.

Newcastle’s rising hip hop star Kay Greyson will fuse modern hip hop with the skill of the golden era, and Origin Dance Crew, the region’s hottest dance combo, will set the stage alight with their jaw dropping moves.

The show is part of Firestarters – The Fire Station’s red-hot launch programme of shows and performances which will run from December this year to next June and features more than 40 artists and performers – with yet more to be announced.

The Firestarters opening programme is commissioned by Sunderland Music Arts and Culture Trust and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

* Tickets for Smoove & Turrell, on Sunday December 19, are on sale now and priced from £17.60, subject to the normal booking fees. For more information and to buy tickets visit: thefirestation.org.uk

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