KEF Culture Hub

New ways of engaging with the arts, and new responses from artists, are emerging all the time as living in lockdown changes our relationship to the internet. To help make sense of the dizzying variety, here’s our connoisseur’s guide to the best of what’s out there: new and old, accessible and bizarre. Our first batch takes us from German design to Congolese soundsystems, underground clubs to cooking ballerinas… so dive in!

Ryuichi Sakamoto's Piano for the Isolated is a Balm for the Soul

If your nerves are frayed by the ongoing situation, or indeed for any reason, Ryuichi Sakamoto's new broadcast may be what you need. As well as piano it features Sakamoto's guitar improvisation and Hidejiro Honjoh on the three-stringed Japanese shamisen – all played quietly, gently and with deep contemplation. Headphones on – this is one to completely immerse in.

Credit Image / Ryuichi Sakamoto

Soak in Luxury with a Virtual Tour of the Fabergé Museum

Want some absolute escapism? Why not dive into a world of concentrated opulence? The Fabergé Museum in St Petersburg has a virtual tour – literally, as it's adapted for all VR viewers as well as screens – which transports you into a world of glinting riches whichever direction you look in.

Credit Image / Fabergé Museum

Get a Boost of Raw Dancehall Energy from Beenie Man and Bounty Killer

This is almost purpose built to be a perfect primer for understanding the appeal of classic Jamaican dancehall. One time mortal enemies Beenie Man and Bounty Killer joined the VERZUZ series with a glorious lyrical clash – complete with dubious social distancing and an apparent police interruption. The riot of joyful noise and energy is like nothing else on earth.

Credit Image / VERZUZ TV

Wallow in a Cornucopia of Radiohead Shows

If any music was purpose built to soundtrack a world gone wrong, it's Radiohead's. Now fans stuck at home can get their dystopian fix with a trove of live concerts. New ones are added weekly, and the ones uploaded so far span the past 20 years of the band's career – from intimate TV recordings to grand stadium shows.

Credit Image / Radiohead

Every Thursday

22:00 BST

Get Involved With the Lyric Opera's Characterful Blog

Lots of arts institutions are using their websites creatively while shut down, but few are doing it with as much personality at Chicago's Lyric Opera. Their blog is updated almost daily with looks behind the scenes, classic performance clips, Spotify playlists and more: it really gives you the feeling of an institution made up from individual real people.

Credit Image / Todd Rosenberg

Daily

CTM Festival Bring you the Global Cutting Edge via Berlin

While many might think of Berlin's nightlife revolving around techno, the CTM festival are determined to prove otherwise. The sets from the festival now up on their Soundcloud feature radical club rhythms from Ghana, Latvia, China and a dozen other countries besides, and are guaranteed to pique your curiosity.

Credit Image / CTM

Go Deep Into a Single Painting at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum

Have you ever spent hours looking at one painting? The Rijksmuseum's restorers have created an extraordinary high resolution (44.8 gigapixels) scan of Rembrandt's The Night Watch, so you can get closer even than you could in the gallery. Every brush stroke, every minuscule bit of texture is visible. Why not listen to a playlist of music from Rembrandt's time to aid total absorption?

Credit Image / Rijksmuseum

Explore the World of the Avant Garde at Café OTO

London's Café OTO has long been a bastion of leftfield music of all kinds, and the YouTube archive of performances from over the years is one of the greatest resources out there: both endlessly educational and completely thrilling. You could spend days down the rabbit hole of strange and bracing music and still be finding surprises!

Credit Image / NTS

Be Moved by the Australian Chamber Orchestra's Intimate Recordings

The Australian Chamber Ensemble has created some of the most affecting classical online material of the lockdown in their “HomeCasts”. Check out especially their remotely-recorded take on Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa – with the quote from the composer about how “this tiny coronavirus has showed us in a painful way that humanity is a single organism”.

Credit Image / ACO

Movement Takes you to Techno's Home, Detroit

The Movement Festival has been emphasising Detroit's place at the heart of the techno world for many years now. For 2020, as with so many events, it is moving online: this weekend, you can see legends of the scene playing across Twitch, Youtube and Facebook – a chance to get up close and personal with some of the true originators of modern music.

Credit Image / Movement Detroit

23rd - 25th May

Science and Culture Meet “at” the Albert Hall

London's Royal Albert Hall is one of the most revered concert venues on the planet, and they're offering up some unique lockdown programming. As well as classical and pop performances, this special event by the Cosmic Shambles collective collided science, comedy, music and poetry, with a hugely impressive array of talent broadcast live from they are.

Credit Image / Verzuz

17th May

19:00 UK

Support Classic Album Sundays's Unique Communal Listening Experience

Over a decade, DJ Colleen "Cosmo" Murphy's Classic Album Sundays sessions – listening to a beloved album in full, on high-end soundsystems – have snowballed globally. In lockdown, of course, they can't take place as normal but their “At Home” group listening sessions have caught music lovers' imaginations. They've just launched a Patreon membership system to keep things rolling, but the At Home sessions remain free and well worth joining in.

Credit Image / Colleen Murphy

London's South Bank Centre Opens up its Interview Archives

London's South Bank Centre may have suspended a programme including postponing Grace Jones's Meltdown Festival until 2021 – but they're putting some highlights from their book programming online. There are some fantastic “In Conversation” sessions on their site, most recently Adam Buxton interviewing his old friend Louis Theroux.

Credit Image / South Bank Centre

further_in Brings the Best Electronic Music From Glasgow to the World

Glasgow's electronic music scene is the envy of the world, and as a direct response to the COVID19 crisis, the Broken20 label has created a new art/music station – further_in – to showcase the scene, and a few friends from further afield. From acid house to live-coding “algorave”, ultra-experimentalism to blissful ambient, expect the unexpected from their weekend livestreams and burgeoning archive.

Credit Image / Broken20

Every Thursday-Sunday

ASHK x HKAGA Take you Through Hong Kong's World of Sculpture

The Sculpture exhibition at the Asia Society Hong Kong, run in conjunction with the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, was only intented to run a month, but has in fact now been extended until September. But for those many people not able to visit, there's a virtual tour available – 25 super engaging minutes of immersion in the work of a global array of artists, expertly narrated.

Credit Image / Hong Kong Art Galleries Association

Kraftwerk's 1970 Rockpalast Show Takes You Back to Their Roots

The death of Kraftwerk founder Florian Schneider has shaken the cultural world – and there are plenty of fascinating histories and appreciations to be found. But why not start at the beginning by watching this remarkable concert from when they were still an experimental rock trio? It's pretty out-there but their gift for hypnotic grooves is evident, and Schneider's trance-inducing flute playing is a stand-out.

Credit Image / WDR

Deep Percussion on the Banks of the Elbe from Elbtonal

The Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall) is one of Hamburg's cultural and architectural landmarks, and they've made a feature of the startling building in the videos they've been putting online. These range from the deep techno of hometown boy Stimming to full classical concerts, but our pick is the resident ensemble Elbtonal Percussion, playing a range of compositions from Japanese marimba master Keiko Abe through to Radiohead.

Credit Image / Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

See the Guggenheim Bilbao as Never Before

If you're yearning to visit somewhere dramatic, you could do worse that dig into the fascinating views of Frank Gehry's glorious Guggenheim Bilbao available on Google Arts & Culture. There's a thrilling ride through the building with urban photographer Trashhand and free-runner Johan Tonnoir, as well as unique photos and footage of its construction. You wouldn't get this sort of access even if you could get there in the flesh.

Credit Image / Guggenheim Bilbao

A Glimpse Into the Remarkable and Alarming World of Jim Woodring

The visionary cartoonist Jim Woodring has a closer relationship than most to his art: it is a way of confronting and controlling the vivid hallucinations that beset him since childhood. Now a brand new documentary by director Chris Brandt and presented by CBR gives a whole new level of insight into both his background and his creative processes. You'll never take reality for granted again.

Credit Image / Jim Woodring

The Record Club gets you Close to the Biggest Pop Records

As the music industry reels from the lack of live revenue, it's trying to bolster the renewed interest in close listening to records. Thus this new venture from Official Charts, Record Store Day and National Album Day: Record Club – where you're encouraged to order a new album from independent stores, listen together, then join a discussion with the artist and presenter Jess Iszatt.

Credit Image / The Fader

6th May

18:30 BST

Underground Music Lovers get Emotional in a Tribute to Andrew Weatherall

One of the most sadly-missed figures in all the music world is the DJ, producer and raconteur Andrew Weatherall. At inner city electronic festival in Leeds, just before the COVID19 lockdown, a tribute event to him was held including his regular DJ partner Sean Johnston and others who knew him. It's not often a conference panel has been this emotional, nor had as many people dancing in their seats as favourite tunes are played.

Credit Image / NTS Radio

An Animated Shaun Ryder on the Salford Sioux

Heavenly Records' London venue The Social has been sharing some incredible content during lockdown, and this is extra special. The Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder may be a reprobate but he is also a wit and a scholar, and this unique, profanity-laden view of Northwest England's local history, turned into a thoughtful animation by Glenn Kitson and Will Murphy, captures that character impeccably.

Credit Image / Glenn Kitson and Will Murphy

Erykah Badu vs Jill Scott in a Clash of the Titans

The VERZUZ series on Instagram live, started by mega producers Timbaland and Swizz Beats has been a good natured affair: using hip hop's “battle” culture to celebrate achievement. Now, following Swizz Beats vs Timbaland, DJ Premier vs RZA, Teddy Riley vs Babyface and T-Pain vs Lil Jon, it's time for the goddesses of neo-soul to get in on the act, with Philadelphia's Jill Scott vs Dallas's Erykah Badu.

Credit Image / Verzuz

9th May

19:00 EST

The Biggest Stars in Conversation at the Grammy Museum

As you’d expect from the organisation at the heart of the US music industry, the Grammy Museum has access to everyone who’s anyone. Among other resources they’ve opened up while the museum’s doors are closed is a series of great, relaxed interviews with everyone from Billie Eilish to Kool & The Gang, Andrea Bocelli to the late Kenny Rogers.

Credit Image / Grammy Museum

Daily

Getty's "Recording Artists" Gets you in Deep With the Greats

The Getty Collection’s online resources are another deep and broad ocean of culture that it would be very easy to spend many hours in. A great start is their Recording Artists project, which has recently started with its first season: Radical Women. Listen to the in-depth podcast while you look at the perfectly curated selection of rare images on screen.

Credit Image / Sam Brody. © Estate of Alice Neel

Calm Yourself with Dieter Rams's Unique Charm

Sometimes documentary watching is the best balm for the mind, and what better than this instant classic portrait of the legendary Dieter Rams, newly available to rent or buy. Not only are his visions of clean, utilitarian design – which helped shape the modern world – soothing in themselves, but his smart thoughtful presence is calming in its own right.

Credit Image / Gary Hustwit

Superstar DJ Peggy Gou High Above Seoul

Boiler Room’s usual output has transitioned perfectly to lockdown, with DJs streaming from home and their archives coming into their own. This week sees a landmark broadcast in more ways than one, as global star Peggy Gou marks South Korea's relaxation of lockdown by playing a set at the top of the Namsan Tower - the highest point in Seoul.

Credit Image / Worldwide FM

25th April

13:00 BST

Gilles Peterson Selects the Best of the Best

With the normal schedules disrupted on his Worldwide FM station, UK leftfield club legend and musical conoisseur Gilles Peterson has launched a new series every Thursday morning, selecting the 20 best in each of his favourite music styles. He's already covered Brit Funk, and will be continuing with Broken Beat (23/4), Brazilian Jazz (30/4) and Disco (7/5).

Credit Image / Worldwide FM

Every Thursday

09:00 BST

Let MoMA's Security Guide You

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has a brilliant, and super accessible set of online resources, but one of their new additions is among their finest. Who spends more time close to the artworks perhaps even than the museum’s curators? The gallery security! In this series, you can listen to their insights into favourite works, and get to know the people “Behind the Uniform”.

Credit Image / MoMA

Jelly Wobbling Scottish Ballet Action

The Scottish Ballet has a wealth of material from its “Digital Season... of work created for smartphones, cinema and everything in between” online, bringing together dance, design and musical talent from across the world. Tremble is perhaps their most ambitious piece, in which the camera and edit suite are as much part of the dance as the bodies.

Credit Image / Matthias Pils

Colors Studio Brings you a World of Song

Colors in Berlin normally boradcasts slick singing and rap performances from their smartly-lit cube studio. But in lockdown they've had to go lo-fi, with home-recorded performances – and in fact this really brings out artistes' personalities. Every Tuesday at 7pm CET new performances are added, then a loop of previous one plays; the talent levels are extraordinary.

Credit Image / Colors Studios

Every Tuesday

19:00 CET

Refresh Your Spirit With Stockhausen's Avant Garde Classic

The music of 20th century experimentalist Karlheinz Stockhausen isn’t for the faint hearted. But last year’s performance of his Samstag aus Licht at the Philharmonie de Paris - one of a feast of mind-expanding works they’ve got streaming on their site - is an audiovisual feast so consistently startling you may find yourself drawn right into it before you even think about it being ”difficult”.

Credit Image / William Beaucardet

Dancers in the Kitchen: Hong Kong Ballet's Ballerina Chefs

Among a variety of interesting content the Hong Kong Ballet has been putting out in the lockdown period – including extensive free dance classes – the Ballerina / Ballerino Chef series is the most charming. Experience real insights into the dancers' craft, lives and personalities as they cook their favourite family dishes. Real comfort viewing.

Credit Image / Hong Kong Ballet

Every Monday

15:00 HKT

Enter Christine & The Queens' Parallel Paris

Héloïse Letissier aka Christine & The Queens has always radiated insouciant Gallic charm, and her late night Instagram broadcasts from Ferber Studios in Paris are all that and more. Each night at midnight CET, “to deal with the ennui”, expect odd behaviour, surprise guests, and some terrific performances, all delivered with deadpan wit.

Credit Image / Camille Vivier

Daily

00:00 CET

21st Century Techniques, 16th Century Energy at the Globe

Ever since its reconstruction was completed in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has worked hard to make its productions as lively and participatory as they would have been in the Bard’s time. And they’re applying that to their online offerings too. They’re not only putting classic productions up for free streaming for a fortnight at a time, but also, on the Monday evenings new titles are added, holding online “watch parties” on Twitter and YouTube Chat with extra info and discussion.

Credit Image / Shakespeare’s Globe

Fortnightly Mondays

18:00 BST

Get Right Inside Great Exhibitions on Google Street View

Google Arts & Culture's site has an embarrassment of riches, including the chance to "visit many now-closed in Google Street View. From Douglas Coupland in Vancouver via Ai Wei Wei in Alcatraz to Christo and Jean-Claude's floating piers, the pages are packed with extra information and videos, but just “walking” around the exhibitions is completely absorbing.

Credit Image / Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Make your Mondays More Metalllica

They’re one of the biggest bands on the planet, so it’s no wonder that the shows updated weekly at 5pm PST for #MetallicaMondays have been clocking up views in the millions. As ever they don’t do things by halves: these shows from France, Ireland, Denmark and at home in California, are all two-hour-plus sets, so fans have plenty to chew on.

Credit Image / Metallica

Every Monday

17:00 PST

Teleport Yourself Somewhere Warm with Isolation Station

It couldn’t be simpler: go to the Isolation Station, press “play”, and find yourself immediately transported to a villa in Ibiza. Set up in direct response to the lockdown to cheer people up and provide something for idle DJs to do, it’s an improptu radio station that focuses almost entirely on Balearic vibes: slow disco beats and sun-kissed, easy going atmospheres abound.

Credit Image / Dean Smith

24/7

Gravity Defying Magic and Mayhem in the World's Premier Circus

You probably don’t need reminding of what a grand spectacle Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil provide. They’ve toured just about every city on earth since 1984, after all. That spectacle translates surprisingly well to the small screen, though, and for those in lockdown, they’ve added four (and counting) hour-long collections of highlights from their performances. Kids and adults alike will be entranced.

Credit Image / Cirque du Soleil

Weekly

Charli XCX at Home: Watch a Cutting Edge Pop Star at Work

Charli XCX is no ordinary pop star. Despite major hits, she constantly works with experimental and underground musicians, and seems determined to expand the parameters of her work. This includes writing and recording an album in a month under lockdown - which you can catch glimpses of across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, her Candy Store Apple Music show.

Credit Image / Marcus Cooper

The Royal Opera Brings Music #FromOurHouseToYourHouse

Opera is often thought of as a Big Occasion, but in fact it translates extremely well to the small screen. And London’s Royal Opera have some amazing productions, all for free, on their YouTube. Start with their smart, sassy and hugely popular modern-dress production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, then dive into the rest!

Credit Image / Stephen Cummiskey

Berlin's Clubbing with “No Queue! Access all Areas!”

The club scene in Berlin, whether it’s ultra purist industrial techno or a kaleidoscopic collision of sounds, can be glorious, but also daunting and exclusive. But now, with the huge club culture industry hit hard by the closing of doors, the city’s “night tsar” Lutz Leichsenring has helped the clubs launch a streaming service to help those hit hardest. The lineups have some of the most dazzling talent in the world, and are a brilliant introduction to underground music without the daunting parts.

Credit Image / United We Stream

Daily

Revisit Classic Albums With Their Makers and Tim Burgess

The popularity of Tim Burgess of The Charlatans’s lockdown project has been next level, and continues to snowball. #TimsListeningParty involves indie/rock superstars like The Libertines, New Order, Pulp and Paul Weller chatting with fans on Twitter as everyone plays a classic album simultaneously. This is definitely one for people familiar with Twitter’s idiosyncracies, but if you are, the opportunity to join intimate discussion with legends is unique and wonderful.

Credit Image / Cat Stevens

Sunday, 26th April

16:00-23:00 BST

Music for Healing Will Soothe Your Fevered Brow

Richard Norris is a veteran of many extraordinary musical projects from the late 80s onwards, spanning charts and underground. But releasing under his own name for the first time, he’s making his most personal music yet. And his lockdown project - Music for Healing, a new 20 minute track recorded and released each week, with proceeds to mental health charity MIND - is just gorgeous.

Credit Image / South Bank Centre

Every Friday

12:00 BST

Graham Dunning Will Make you Rethink What Music Is

Experimental electronic artists have always found creative ways to network and collaborate, so someone like Graham Dunning was well set up to run lockdown sessions. So far he’s done two Noise Quest sessions, joined Amy Cutler’s stunning I Am An Instrument: PANOPTICON audiovisual spectacular, and been part of the Anglo-Swedish collaboration The Gävle Goat, all dazzlingly innovative. All are archived, and keep an eye on his site for more.

Credit Image / Elyssa Iona

Rely on the NT to Bring you Real Theatrical Classics

Not only is the National Theatre of the UK streaming a series of classics weekly - currently Treasure Island, followed by a gender-altered Twelfth Night starring Tamsin Grieg from Thursday 23rd April - but it’s making its full archive of 30 plays available for free to all children and teachers from state schools on application. So if you’re back to home-schooling after Easter, this could be a lifesaver.

Credit Image / National Theatre

Thursday, 23rd April

19:00 BST

Get the Full Orchestral Experience With the LSO

Sometimes the grandiosity of a full orchestra is what you need most to take you away from it all. And the London Symphony Orchestra is steadily working through some of their finest performances online while the concert halls are closed. Already we’ve had Brahms, Stravinsky, Mahler and Bernstein, every one deserving of your full attention - and it’s looking adventurous with Tippett, Webern and Adams to come in the twice-a-week updates.

Credit Image / Doug Peters

Every Tuesday & Saturday

Sadlers Wells's Digital Stage is Constantly Busy

The Sadlers Wells ballet in London has responded to the lockdown with alacrity and vigour - with a huge Digital Stage collection “to keep you entertained and connected through dance, wherever you are in the world while our live stages are dark.” Currently showing is The Thread, a collaboration with legendary composer Vangelis, but the featured shows are updated weekly.

Credit Image / Yannis Bournias

Walk Imaginary Pathways With Folk on Foot Festival

As featured on Sound of Life’s Mixtape blog, the Folk on Foot podcast is a beautiful window into British landscape and song, and their Easter online “festival” was a roaring success. It raised over £95,000 for musicians, and the whole seven-hour-plus spectacular with premier league musicians playing at home is available to watch back.

Credit Image / Folk On Foot

Who Better than Quincy Jones to Bring the Greatest Jazz, Blues and More?

Of all the elder statesmen of music, who could possibly be better placed to curate the best jazz, blues and world music than the legend Quincy Jones. His Qwest TV site has an extraordinary array available for subscribers, and for lockdown they are also streaming free shows every night via Facebook. From John Coltrane to Salif Keita, the greatest talent in the world is here!

Credit Image / Qwest TV

Daily

21:00 CET

A Love From Outer Space's Six Hour Tribute to Much Missed Legend Weatherall

The loss of polymath producer, DJ, raconteur and natural mystic Andrew Weatherall early this year is still felt keenly. His DJ foil Sean Johnston has been continuing to carry the flag: he promises “emergency broadcasts” of the A Love From Outer Space sound they nurtured (watch his Twitter for info). In the meantime, listen to Johnston’s remarkable six-and-a-half-hour tribute to his friend, recorded at ALFOS only days after Weatherall’s passing.

Credit Image / Sean Johnston

Go Deep Into the Echoes Gentlemen's Dub Club's Live Studio mixing

The sprawling Gentlemen’s Dub Club are a staple on the festival circuit, but rather than just sharing live sets, they’ve found a unique way to engage with lockdown broadcasting. On Sunday evenings, producer Toby Davies has been taking apart songs by the band and their friends on his mixing desk and doing live dub mixes. For anyone wanting to get up close and personal with dub reggae processing, or just for enjoying laid back sounds, this one’s a must.

Credit Image / Toby Davies

Nashville Twang and and a Whole Lot of Charm from Steve Wariner

If there’s one thing that’s great about country artists aside from their music, it’s that they know how to spin a yarn. And Steve Wariner, who’s played with Nashville’s finest as well as making hit records in his own right since 1970, is no exception. His laconic charm certainly makes the #WarinerWednesdays broadcasts an easy watch, but hearing his songs stripped to just voice and guitar is a treat too.

Credit Image / stevewariner.com

Every Wednesday

19:00 CST

Quest Around the World With Zakia Sewell

London’s NTS Radio station is a haven for conoisseurs of every kind of music you could imagine. And one of its very finest shows is Questing With Zakia every Saturday morning. There’s few better ways to start a weekend and if you dive into the archive, you can hear spiritual jazz, soul, and exclusive recordings from Zakia Sewell’s own global travels. This is feelgood listening in the deepest sense.

Credit Image / NTS Radio

Every Saturday

09:00 BST

URSSS is a Voyage Into the Musical Left Field

The URSSS online channel has a bare minimum of information or unnecessary whistles and bells, but that’s all for the best. All you need to know is it comes out of Milan, Italy, it’s beautifully designed, and it features live sets from the absolute cream of leftfield music, leaning towards the more experimental end of the club / electronic world. For anyone with adventurous tastes, it’s a goldmine.

Credit Image / URSSS

Think About the Future With Immerse(d) Online

Created by StudioFeed, a non profit started by the makers of the SubPac, Immerse(d) is a series of live events across North America and the UK bringing together performance and discussion about sound, tech, art, wellness and other topics. They are now launching Immerse(d) Digital, starting on May 1st, offering an online version which will “explore how deep immersive music and sound can optimally impact us, individually and collectively”.

Credit Image / Mariah Tiffany

Friday, 1st May

20:00 BST

Dive Into the Mosh Pit With UnARTig

UnARTig is “a globally operating underground network of filmmakers and documentarians archiving various aspects of underground culture since the 80’s”, with its hub in NYC. And its YouTube channel alone is a cultural treasure. Leaning heavily to US alt-rock, it features full concerts covering everything from indie legends (Pixies) to horrifying death metal (Cannibal Corpse), with lashings of hardcore, punk and hip hop to boot.

Credit Image / UnARTig NYC

Avant Garde Dance Invite you to Join Them

London's Avant Garde Dance, run by the charismatic Tony Adigun, is one of the most innovative modern / street dance companies operating today. Starting this week, via their AGTV strand, they're offering all kinds of workshops, performances and chances to join their creative community. Check in on their Facebook to see what's happening.

Credit Image / Irven Lewis