Renaissance is a band with a rich history unique unto themselves as progressive rock pioneers who rose from the ashes of the seminal UK rock band, The Yardbirds. Their career has spanned forty plus years spearheaded by the 5 octave voice of Annie Haslam and the masterful songwriting skills of Michael Dunford.
The band also featured John Tout on piano, Jon Camp on bass and Terry Sullivan on drums, all of whom further molded the sound of the band through the powerful technical command of their instruments. They were first acknowledged for uniquely blending progressive rock with classical influences and symphonic arrangements. They are widely considered to be the band that most successfully and routinely utilized the sound of a full orchestra in their recordings.
In the early years Renaissance toured Europe extensively. It wasn’t long before influential progressive rock stations in the US, such as WNEW (NYC), WMMR (Philadelphia) and WHFS (Washington) were turning on America to Renaissance. Before too long the band started thrilling concertgoers on the world’s most distinguished stages, from Carnegie Hall in NYC with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, to the Royal Albert Hall in London with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Chorale Society. In 1978 they had a top ten hit in the UK with ‘Northern Lights’, which has become a classic radio favourite, still demanding regular airplay to this day.
The band eventually disbanded in the late 1980’s at which time Annie Haslam launched a solo career. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original founding of Renaissance, Michael and Annie in 2009 decided to form a new touring band which consisted of; Rave Tesar on keyboards, David J Keyes on Bass, Tom Brislin on keyboards and Frank Pagano on drums.
More recently they have toured North America, Canada, Japan and S. Korea and produced their first album in 13 years entitled ‘Symphony of Light’. The album is a testament to the unforgettable melodies that Michael Dunford infused into his work, Michael died prematurely in 2012. The album starts off with powerful lyrics by Annie Haslam in the title track about the life of ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ followed by ‘Waterfall’, a song written about the rainforests in Brazil. All the songs bathe the listener in flavors from far off countries, with lush orchestral arrangements and unusual lyrical content, with guest appearances from Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and John Wetton (Asia/King Crimson/UK).
The current personel of Renaissance include: Annie Haslam lead vocals, Rave Tesar keyboards, David J Keyes bass guitar, Jason Hart keyboards, Frank Pagano drums and Ryche Chlanda acoustic guitars.
SUPPORT HANNAH ROBINSON
Singer-songwriter Hannah Robinson’s blues-tinged vocals belies her age. Performing as a soloist and with her band, in London as well as in her native Dorset, her busy live schedule sees her playing venues such as The Bedford and Salisbury Arts Centre, and festivals including Larmer Tree Festival and Purbeck Folk Festival.
2015 will see the release of ‘Water, Carry Me’, a brand new four track EP of original material, following her 2012 debut album ‘Oil and Turpentine’. In this, Hannah is working alongside musicians including Scott McKeon (Lana Del Ray, Tom Jones), Paul Beavis (Robert Fripp, Robbie McIntosh), Rob Mullarkey (Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum) and Steve Smith (Sandi Thom, Robbie McIntosh), developing her sound.
Hannah’s songs blend her nonchalant, percussive guitar style with soulful melodies and lyrics full of personal experience and rich imagery owed to her art school education.