Category Archives: Manchester

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Interview and preview: SheBeKeke – Abecedarian EP

Entrenched firmly in Manchester’s creative community, Keke Thompson is a multi-talented artist and performer who’s lining up her debut, self-released EP.

First published as a poet at the age of 10, Keke has since been published in various antholgies and is a core member of Manchester’s youth writing groups Young Identity and Inna Voice. She’s opened up for the likes of Saul Williams, Amiri Baraka and Kate Tempest and performed at such illustrious venues as Glastonbury’s Poetry and Words tent and Nuyorican Poetry Cafe, New York.

She’s currently hard at work prepping her solo show I Wish I Had A Moustache, more of which you can find out about below.

Abecedarian is her debut EP, released under the pseudonym SheBeKeke – six tracks which constitute a fusion of poetry and music. Playing around with her loop pedal to create sounds to give her signature poems a new vibe, rather than the original acapella versions. Producer  Yussuf M’Rabty (aka Dyslexis) was enlisted to bring his own perspective to the rough experiments.
Keke says that the tracks (including one cover)  have been given one-word titles that can be read as a Hemingway-esque short poem: Fickle Mantra Hush Sweet Skin Sun. Two of the tracks (Mantra and Sun) feature bassist Ben Price.

 

Abecedarian

Abecedarian is out 24th September 2014 on Bandcamp.

Can you summarise the themes of the EP?

I’ve called it Abecedarian because it describes someone who is learning their alphabet. It seemed like the perfect word because this is my first EP and the featuring pieces were written when I was exploring my voice as a poet. The collection focuses on what I learnt about myself through my experiences with various men in my life. It happened to be a major topic (not the only topic, I would like to stress!) from that period of writing.

Am I right in understanding it comprises new versions of your own material?

Yes, so the poems were not written specifically for this EP. They are some of my favourite and most popular performance pieces. I wanted to play with them – come up with sounds and hooks that could transport them into the realm of music. Some tracks feature more than one poem, I’m not rigid about my material. There is one cover in there that popped into my head whilst I was playing around with my loop pedal. I sent my ideas to producer Yussuf M’Rabty and then we recorded and tweaked them from there.

Abecedarianback

How long have you been experimenting with sound and recording?

Hhhmm… the word ‘sound’ is bringing up childhood memories for me. I was involved in quite a few musical activities (African drumming, Indian music, soul choir, steel pans) but recording, it took me ages to get into recording. I would go in to studios and freak out and lose my voice, ha. I started playing with loop pedals for performances with my poetry group when I was about 18. I got my own pedals when I was about 20. I wish I could drill it every day and become a mega looper! But I’m intuitive with these things. A hook will come into my head and then months later I’ll find that it compliments one of my poems, then I’ll get the pedal out and play around. I think I’ve answered the question…

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Performing at Contact theatre. Photo: Saquib Chowdhury

 

How has your style developed over the years?

In a range of ways. At first I would just sing gospel choruses to compliment my poetry but now I write my own. My poetry is definitely more personal and honest since I’ve started performing. I love playing with polysyllabic rhyme these days. When I was younger I was like “poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, you know” but I’m a poet and I love rhyming! I think I’m less hard on myself in regard to rhythmic ideas. It’s good to be critical but I used to think everything I came up with was too clichéd but now I’m more like “If that’s how it has come to me, I’ll take it. I’ll critique it and play with it but I’ll take it.”

What is the poetic community in Manchester like? What have your experiences been?

It’s huge and I love it. It’s a beautiful circuit, loads of interesting and talented people. There are always poetry events going on. My experience has been great. I think once you put yourself out there, send your poems to people or jump on an open mic, then opportunities will come.

When I was 16 I was commissioned to respond to Emory Douglas’ exhibition at the Urbis, still now when I think about it, it was just amazing. It all comes down to having encouraging older artists in your community and in Manchester were are privileged to have so many.

So you sing, dance and act too… what have been memorable experiences for you?

I’ve had quite a few interesting gigs with Manchester Soul Choir and Urban Voices. We’ve done beautiful venues like Bridgewater Hall and The Lowry. But we’ve also done some random gigs like Sports Personality Awards and a few David Guest shows. I always had fun being a part of Contact Playback, never a dull moment when you’re improvising for about two hours straight.

Can you reveal anything about your upcoming solo show?

Well, it’s called I Wish I had a Moustache and it’s about beauty, gender anxieties and the taboo of body hair. I’m taking it back to Contact next year as a part of the Flying Solo Festival and I’m performing it next month at Camden People’s Theatre. It’s a wacky show: poetic, comedic and little bit disturbing. Oh yeah, the EP will be on Bandcamp – SheBeKeke.bandcamp.com for free. I’ll pop it on my Soundcloud too – soundcloud/le-keke keke tache

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Interview: DJ Yoda previews Breakfast of Champions at Band on the Wall

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 20.17.38This Friday night will see the culmination of a week’s residency between DJ Yoda and a lucky team of collaborators working at Band on the Wall. Potential partners were asked to apply for the residency, but places were already cemented for Manc rappers Truthos Mufasa (Ape Cult), Sparkz (Voodoo Black) together with Rex Domino.

Find details on the collaborators and keep an eye on the process over at Brighter Sound. Day One is already up here.

I caught up with Yoda ahead of this weekend’s performance. All pics of participants are by Brighter Sound.

Buy tickets for the event over at BOTW.

Pic: Brighter Sound
Pic: Brighter Sound

 

Breakfast of Champions is gonna be the start of a movement… 

 

First off, this is an unusual project in the grand scheme of things – have you done anything similar in the past?

I’ve always tried to work on interesting collaborations – from orchestras to beatboxers to brass bands – but this is the first time I’ve actually put together a band from scratch to make original music. It’s a lot more work, but also much more satisfying!

Alan Keary

Claire Northey

 

Gareth Rowntree

Who’s behind the project? Why do you think they approached you in particular?

Band On The Wall in Manchester put on an “artistic residency” once a year (here’s a little info on last year’s with Snarky Puppy)- they approached me and asked if I’d be interested in putting together a band. I can’t say why! It’s an interesting idea to have a DJ be the driving force behind something that sounds musically bigger than just playing records.

Were you integral in deciding on your collaborators or are their talents going to be a surprise?

I was absolutely integral. They put a call-out to emerging musicians, and we had tonnes of interest. So I then had this “X-Factor”-style day up in Manchester where I whittled the selection down to the kind of group I would like to work with.

George FellJacob BrookmanJames Breen

How are you preparing? What form will the final performance take or is that a complete unknown at this point?

I’ve produced an EP’s worth of music that we will translate to a live band performance, and then we plan on creating about the same amount again of totally original music during a week’s jamming, rehearsing and drinking tea.

What are the overall objectives of the project?

To do something different and new! That’s pretty much the goal with everything I try.

Have you had a chance to meet Sparkz, Truthos and Rex yet? How will your relationship with them play out over the five days?

Yep I put these guys together from the start, and we’ve been working on music all this time – I’m really excited about getting to share the results of these sessions!

sparkz
Sparkz, backed up by Dubbul O, David Insua-Cao and yours truly a couple of years back at In The Loop.

Why should we come and check out the gig?

Because there’s a lot of people working together to make something really unique – Breakfast of Champions is gonna be the start of a movement!

Johnny BursnellMaya LadNeal CoghlanPhil Davids

 

rasp

DJ Rasp’s Scratch Jam returns to Manchester September 20th

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Facebook event

Rasp brings back the Scratch Jam to Oxford Road’s Contact Theatre this coming weekend. Whether you’re popping along with your own scratch tools or just want to soak up the atmosphere and check the talent on display (whoot-woo), all are welcome. It’s a friendly do so spread the word!

Remember, donations mean that Rasp doesn’t have to foot the hire bill himself!

Rasp says…

To all Scratch Nerds hailing from the Northwest of England I am pleased to announce Scratch Jam is back for the fourth time!!!

After a bit of negotiating, a couple of meetings, a fair amount of phone calls & a little bit of blagging I’m pleased to announce that Scratch Jam is back in Manchester at the Contact Theatre on Saturday the 20th September!!!

It is a free event (donations are very welcome tho) so come along & get involved in a friendly turntablist/freestyle scratch event. All skill levels are very welcome from seasoned pro to beginner (or anything in between) cut it up over phat beats, meet new peeps, support the scratch scene & have lots of fun doing so

We have a very special performance from the legendary Dave the Ruf too :)

3pm til 7pm

Contact Theatre

Oxford Road

Manchester

Spread the word & get involved!!!

Peace”

DJ RASP – www.facebook.com/pages/DJ-Rasp
CONTACT THEATRE – www.facebook.com/contact

politika

POLITIKA launch: Art & the Affairs of the City – 19th September, Manchester

politika

 

 

Along with Endless City, Mind on Fire and Onefiveeight, I’ll be providing a musical background to the launch of the POLITIKA exhibition at Upper Space this coming Friday. I’ll let the press release speak for itself below. Check the Facebook event out here.

To summarise:

Private View: 6pm – 8pm // Launch Event: 8pm – 12am

The Engine Room, Hope Mill. 113 Pollard Street, Ancoats, M4 7JA

  • The first chance to see provocative artworks by urban interventionist artists from nine different countries including previously unreleased works by major artists.
  • The newly renovated grade 2 listed building hosting the exhibition is in the heart of Ancoats, the world’s first industrial suburb. Politika includes mixed media, digital, sculpture and visual art installations.

Procession:

  • A Samba band procession from Stevenson’s Square in the northern quarter to the gallery in Ancoats, arriving in time for the launch. Time TBC.

In the Bar:

  • Select teas and cold coffees from Manchester’s own North Tea Power.
  • A live installation by Manchester based artists Shift//Delete entitled ‘Molotov Cocktails?’. Come forth and consume specially commissioned alcoholic drinks laced with a dash of espionage. Prepared and served by our very own Sunny Wray.
  • Local brews from Moss Cider, IPA and a range of other drinks available at affordable prices.

Music provided by Mind On Fire, OneFiveEight, Endless City & Groovement.

————————————————————————————

19 provocative artists from 9 different countries exhibit works as part of a diverse programme of free workshops, talks, screenings and live interventions. 

The exhibition launches a new cultural space in the heart of Ancoats, the world’s first industrial suburb. 

FEATURING:

Peter Kennard (UK) // Epos257 (CZ) // Ztohoven (CZ) // Chim-Pom (JP) // VOINA (RU) // Shift//Delete (UK) // Brandalism (UK+) // WochenKlausur (AT) // Bill Posters (UK) // Franck Allais (FR) // Leah Borromeo (UK) // Steve Lambert (US) // Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative (FI) // The Vacuum Cleaner (UK) // John Beieler (US) // Papas Fritas (CHI) // Tracey Moberly (UK) // Peter McCaughey (UK) // Ben Parry (UK) // Ed Hall (UK) + citizens of Manchester.

POLITIKA:

Manchester is where the world’s first manifestations of industrial Capitalism took shape. If the city is both the producer of citizenship and the generator of innovation, it is the soil in which democracy lives. Without the city and maximised exchanges, democracy loses strength to create potential futures.

Is there scope to generate another answer, another view, in order to sustain another ideology against consumerism and the disempowerment it represents? Politika presents opportunites for people to transform themselves from passive consumers into active participants – active citizens.

Politika sees a merging of the intersections between art, social justice and activism as artists and the citizens of Greater Manchester assert their right to the city.

The diverse program includes an exhibition of provocative art works, live urban interventions across the city, public workshops, talks, documentary screenings and debate to offer the public the opportunity to rethink the role of art and artist in contemporary society.

The exhibition is situated in a grade 2* listed cotton mill and launches a new contemporary cultural space – The Engine Room, in Ancoats – the world’s first industrial suburb.

Exhibition Opening: 8pm // Friday 19th September 2014
featuring DJs from OneFiveEight, Mind on Fire, Endless City and Groovement.

For more information please visit:

http://upper-space.org/projects/politika/politika-launch/

Contributing Artists:

http://upper-space.org/projects/politika/politika-artists/

Full programme:

http://upper-space.org/projects/politika/politika-program/

Maps and travel routes to Politika:

http://upper-space.org/projects/politika/find-politika/

Politika is kindly supported by Arts Council EnglandEsmée Fairbairn FoundationNow Then ManchesterHope MillEmergencia

MOTHA

Download: Mothership Connection – CELLADWELLADELICA

An absolutely killer, sublime beat from Kydro hails  the debut of new material from Manchester’s Mothership Connection. Cheech,Goshin, Legion and Dubbul O tag team this all dreamy like.
Download

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Listen to the Mothership Groovement takeover here, and check this acoustic ditty too.

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Ellis Meade: Limitless (Acoustic) for BBC Introducing ft Tony Smith

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‘Breathtaking…’ -here’s Ellis Meade strutting his stuff for the BBC in  a great video from Room 2 Records. The High & Wired EP with Kydro is still available as a free download from Ellis’ Bandcamp.

Ellis performs live TONIGHT at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge as part of a BBC showcase.

brokenmagic

Download: Fish – Broken Magic (Antisocial Music)

Antisocial Music have got their act together to release Broken Magic, a compilation of beats and raps which have been stroked by the fingers of label boss Fish. You can check the tracklist in the embed below but expect the likes of Doctor Zoots, Burgundy Blood, Bill Sykes (of The Bluntskins and The Natural Curriculum), Efeks, Elliot Fish, Kista and Dayse & Aver.

Fish has a knack for creating moods from serene, jazzy samples but keeps things non-wimpy with banging drum work. All the MCs here are on-point and non-generic, with a special shout going to some of the Manchester TNC fam, represented here.

Fish has a smashing radio show over on All FM, the archive of which you can lose yourself in over on Mixcloudbrokenmagic.

Cloudcasts by Fish on Mixcloud

SOULTWINS

Groovement Podcast: The Soul Twins present a Groovement 45 session

Download Mixcloud

Subscribe on iTunes

SOULTWINS

Groovement 45s: The Soul Twins (Aug 2014) by Jamie Groovement Aka Agent J on Mixcloud

45 minutes of soul 45s! 

Jeff and Stuart Parish have been staples on the Manchester music scene for years, holding down ‘soul, hip-hop, disco, house, funk, Northern, reggae and all the bits inbetween’. They’re also two of the soundest guys about, with a real passion for hearing and collecting good music, not just playing it. I’m well chuffed to have got them to do a 45s special for Groovement. 

Check their own podcast out at http://soultwinspodcast.podomatic.com/

Catch them on Twitter as https://twitter.com/soultwinjeff and https://twitter.com/stuartparish

Soul Twins
Soul Twins
ellis

Ellis Meade live @ BBC Introducing with Batz Inda Belfry & Mali Hayes

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29 AUGUST @ RUBY LOUNGE MANCHESTER

FREE ENTRY

BBC MANCHESTER INTRODUCING LIVE

featuring

BATZ INDA BELFRY (ENVY & ONE DA)

ELLIS MEADE

MALI HAYES

DJ sets from MICHELLE HUSSEY + NATALIE-EVE WILLIAMS

The wider world begins to recognise Ellis Meade with this gig… following past radio play on BBC Introducing, Ellis has been asked to perform live at their regular Ruby Lounge gig showcasing the best new talent. This will also be recorded live for future broadcast on the show.

Read a recent interview on Groovement here.

Listen to and buy/download the High & Wired EP with Kydro on Bandcamp below.

Ellis Meade Soundcloud

 

Batz Inda Belfry
Batz Inda Belfry
Mali
Mali