Alison McGowan opens doors of her home for Latin music

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When Alison McGowan returned to London after 20 years in Brazil, it was the music she missed most of all.

A year later, the travel expert and former teacher has found a way to bring the intimacy of bossa nova and the rhythms of forró with her to the capital.

Opening the doors of her Islington home for regular Latin music nights, Ms McGowan has joined the growing movement of house concert hosts to share her passion with an intimate crowd.

“I’ve always adored Brazilian music and there are some extraordinary players who are as yet unknown in this country,” Ms McGowan said. “So this is an opportunity, when they’re passing through, to share what I love about Brazilian music with people who don’t know anything about it.”

The first event, dubbed Florence Latin Jazz, took place at the end of July and featured cellist David Chew, a veteran of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, and Blas Rivera, the acclaimed Argentinean saxophonist and pianist. Rivera then went on to play at the famous 606 Club in Chelsea.

Since then, Ms McGowan has received several inquiries from musicians across Latin America about performing at her home, including Josiel Konrad, a trombone virtuoso from Rio de Janeiro who has previously appeared at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in Soho.

Konrad, a regular at the TribOz club in Rio, will perform as part of a quartet at Florence Latin Jazz on Sunday, September 24.

“The concept of house concerts is growing massively,” Ms McGowan said. “I just like the idea of having musicians at home in a different kind of atmosphere where a small number of people can enjoy it with a glass of wine and talk to the musicians afterwards.”


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