November 05, 2013

Daylight Music at the Union Chapel

A vintage-style print of London
If you're looking for something both magical and affordable to do in the capital on a Saturday afternoon that isn't swarming with bodies, then allow me to introduce you to the magnificent Daylight Music sessions at Islington's Union Chapel.

For two hours, from 12 until 2pm, the altar of the building plays host to a religion in which we can all understand- music. Three acts play back to back, each diligently preaching their own sermons to creaking pews, dotted with keen listeners of all ages- a sea of heads and hands in laps, held, or wrapped around a steaming mug of tea.

The atmosphere is awash with a peacefulness that comes from the intricate and awe-inspiring influence of the venue with its heaven-hearing heights, sights and atmosphere, and from the people that it brings together- there is a true feeling of quiet communion in the all-sorts audience.
Listeners are the disciples of sound- each cast under a spell of words and melodies in their own interpretation; the music becoming their personal incantations, each touched and reached in different ways.

You could call it a free litany for all (with a guilt-free bacon sarnie for £2 thrown in for good measure).
Daylight Music, Upper Street, Islington
For a mere two to four pound suggested donation (depending on the afternoon), it is a wonderfully alternative way to thoughtfully digest your brunch before heading out into the city, positively recharged and inspired.

The chapel is illuminated by shafts of light pouring in from dazzling stained glass windows and the air is at once cool and warm, as if the cold stone walls are exhaling upon the cosy congregation- there are layers of ambience that swirl slowly with shuffling huffs and echoes. 
Music and Tea at the Union Chapel Daylight Music
Daylight Music at the Union Chapel North London
Daylight Music in North London
The line-up is always varied. 

My last visit witnessed the heartfelt stories of Herons! and their memories of singing with mum in an NYC taxi; the blonde-browed singer/storyteller Arch Garrison with his love of Roman roads and charming lull; and the quite brilliant crescendos of Human Pyramids, who stormed the stage with their enthusiasm and had grins rippling throughout the pews. 
Music in North London, Upper Street, Islington
The Margins Union Cafe is on hand to cater to your cake-lust and proceeds go towards the Margins Homelessness Project.

A thoroughly unique and endearing event, Daylight Music is hands down the loveliest way I've found to spend the afternoon in London. Take your friends, take your family or simply slip in by yourself for two completely gorgeous hours.

(Pictures two and three courtesy of Daylight Music's Facebook Page)


  1. Ooh I love this place. Such a hidden/relatively-unknown gem. Although glad to see the mugs in operation...last time I was there I was frozen!

  2. Now I'm convinced I should move to North London

    Holly ♥

  3. Well that's a given! x


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