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Carleen Anderson: Cage Street Memorial

+ Zara McFarlane

The Mercury-nominated Soul singer reflects on multi-culturalism and celebrates triumph against the odds, as she tells her family history through poetry and song.

Carleen Anderson describes her Cage Street Memorial as a ‘tribal opera’; a profound musing on identity and a deeply personal take on the last century. Following a heart-warming narrative, it features her original compositions drawing from Jazz, Soul and Gospel alongside spoken word - all enhanced by a band led by vibraphonist Orphy Robinson with digital image mapping backdrops including photos from the family album.

Born in Texas and reared on the sounds of the Pentecostal Gospel church where her Grandfather was pastor, Carleen moved across the Atlantic to the UK in 1990, performing as the lead singer of The Young Disciples and the Brand New Heavies. Her Cage Street Memorial looks at this journey and the difficulties she experienced as a single mother in a new country, as well as the kinship she feels to her ancestral home in Louisiana.

Joining Carleen on the bill will be Zara McFarlane, whose soulful vocals and Jazz aesthetic came to full fruition on her 2017 Brownswood release Arise.

Tagged with: Contemporary music Jazz

Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious


‘You have to see Carleen Anderson at least three times in your life. I’d hang around all day just to listen to her sound check.‘
Amy Winehouse
‘An album by an artist at the height of her creative powers‘
‘Zara McFarlane has always been enchanting, what with her golden voice and jazz aesthetic, her way of leading a band as if charmed.‘
Evening Standard


photo of carleen anderson singing

Watch: Barbican Session - Carleen Anderson

In this Barbican Session, Soul singer Carleen Anderson performs Before Me from her album 'Cage Street Memorial' in our conductor's dressing room.

album cover of cage street memorial

Listen: Carleen Anderson's Cage Street Memorial

Listen to Carleen Anderson's new album Cage Street Memorial...

a p hoto of pianist carleen anderson playing the piano

Watch: Carleen Anderson performing Begin Again


Carleen Anderson performs 'Begin Again', from her album 'Cage Street Memorial - The Piligrimage'.

Barbican Hall