Violinist who teamed up with The Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott is headine act at Ribble Valley Jazz Festival

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Olivia Moore’s natural curiosity has seen the Manchester-based violinist and composer adopt music and rhythm from every corner of the globe.

The sheer breadth of her career has embraced Cuban, Jazz, Indian and Arabic song, and fusing an abundant melting pot of sound with her quintet Unfurl, one of the headline acts at next month’s Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Festival from May 3rd to the 6th. It was as if Moore was born with a violin bow in her hand, remarked one commentator.

Read More
Burnley Nightlife: 27 great photos from the weekend including The Loom and The L...

“My first memory was sat on my mum’s lap, aged four, watching my brother’s music classes and I sang along perfectly in pitch,” she recalled.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Olivia Moore, with her quintet Unfurl, is one of the headline acts at this year's Ribble Valley Jazz FestivalOlivia Moore, with her quintet Unfurl, is one of the headline acts at this year's Ribble Valley Jazz Festival
Olivia Moore, with her quintet Unfurl, is one of the headline acts at this year's Ribble Valley Jazz Festival

“The orchestral leader Vivienne Price, who was founder of the National Children’s Orchestra, noticed that I had a good ear, so she encouraged my mother to start me on the violin. So, I’m very fortunate and blessed that I could follow my dream.”

That dream led her to India where she sought out Kala Ramnath, one of the world’s finest violinists, and which became the first of many visits to a Continent that would shape her life. “By then, I was a classically trained musician, so I was quite keen to do something a little bit freer, so I took my violin to India and jammed with lots of people around a camp-fire at a hippy gathering in the Himalayas,” she said.

“I was so far away I didn’t have to worry about what anybody thought. India can be quite overwhelming, but I travelled, hiked, met and played with so many incredible musicians, so yes it was a life-changer.”

As their track titles suggest, Tide Turning and Upstream, Unfurl’s music is influenced by earth and nature. “Unfurl comes from the unfurling of ideas, musical adventure and exploration of what see around us in our precious world,” said Moore.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

John Ball is Unfurl’s Indian exponent, playing Tabla (Indian hand drums) and the Santoor, an ancient string instrument. “Unfurl has become the constant in my life but we are sort of finding our feet again after Adam Warne’s death in 2017,” she added.

“We founded the band together, and he was the person who gave me so much confidence as a band leader because of his assured musicality and easy-going personality.

“We didn’t feel like playing for a long time afterwards because we were so upset, so the gig at Clitheroe is a real boost for us and we know it will be a lovely occasion because it is such a friendly festival.”

Moore’s side projects have seen her team up with folk singer Kirsty Almeida, ex-Simply Red guitarist Sylvan Richardson, and the Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott. “I enjoy composing and mixing with people who look at music from a different perspective and that gives my work a more cumulative effect.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’ve got some seriously talented musicians in Unfurl, but that fusion of Indian sound and the jazz harmony really makes the music speak.”

Unfurl, St Mary’s Centre, Church Street, Clitheroe, Saturday, May 4th. Tickets for the Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Festival are available at

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.