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The Bookshop Band brings its book-inspired music to Rockville Centre

The Bookshop Band, a London-based group that writes

The Bookshop Band, a London-based group that writes and performs book-inspired songs, will bring its show to Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine in Rockville Centre on Friday as part of its first American tour. Credit: Jessica Fox

A trip through the pages of a book set British folk song writers Ben Please and Beth Porter off on their own creative journey.

The married duo  makes up The Bookshop Band — a London-based group that writes and performs book-inspired songs. It will bring its show to Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine in Rockville Centre on Friday as part of its first American tour.

Tickets are $20, which includes a complimentary beverage from the cafe.

Carol Hoenig, who co-owns the combination bookstore/wine bar, says she jumped on the chance to schedule a visit by the band, since she said it offers book lovers a very different experience. “I like that they combined both literature and music, two creative outlets that I love,” Hoenig says.

The band was started nine years ago in Bath, England, as a combo that would write and perform songs about books in bookshops.

“It’s a collaboration between ourselves and the literary curation of an independent bookshop [Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath],” explains Please, 39. “They asked if I could put together a little musical group to play some music for their author evenings.”

Please, who says that he and his wife were well-known musicians locally, saw the offer as an opportunity for a “songwriting challenge” and the band ended up writing two songs inspired by folk stories for performance at the bookshop’s events.

Please plays guitar, glockenspiel, ukulele and harmonium; Porter plays cello, ukulele and recorder.

“The whole process was so much fun and creatively rewarding that Mr. B’s asked us to come back for their next season of book events,” Please says. He notes the first event of the second season was focused around American author Paula McLain’s novel about Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with his first wife, “The Paris Wife.”  

The band, which now also performs concerts, has recorded 13 albums that include more than 150 songs inspired by such titles as "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel, "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" by Rachel Joyce and "The Book of Dust, Vol. One: La Belle Sauvage" by Philip Pullman. 

When asked how a book might inspire a song, Please says, “It could be a character, a place or even just an atmosphere. Quite often it’s something in the book that relates in some way to your own life or reminds you of something — so the songs can end up being quite personal as well as taking inspiration from the book.”

Hoenig says the band will perform songs from books that will be available for sale at the Rockville Centre shop, and she expects the event to give the audience a new way to look at books.

Turn of the Corkscrew is at 110 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre.

The Bookshop Band 

WHAT The Bookshop Band, a London duo that writes songs inspired by books, is on its first American tour.

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine, 110 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre

INFO $20; 516-764-6000,

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