Tag Archives: Performance

M20 Collective this year so far

Wow, time flies when you’re doings things doesn’t it.

Funny that?!

Well we’ve been doing things this year, and as we find ourselves nearing the final quarter of the 2016 we thought it would be nice to summarise our year to date; and fill you in with the goings on in and around the M20 collective networkings.

As some of you may or may not know, myself (Yemi Bolatiwa) and Joel white are co-founders and leaders of the collective. in 2013 our very own Joel White began making links with small acts and bands in the Withington area, in an endeavour to build a local music scene. Naturally as his musical pal and social companion I intervened and we put our heads together with various friends, supporters and local organisations to put on events, which would lead to the creation of a new community organisation for south Manchester’s creative circles.

 

Now three years later, we continue to create platforms and opportunities, mingle with fellow artists and creatives and put on showcases of talent in the south Manchester area and beyond  – staying true the grass roots origins of the concept.

There’s still time for a final M20 2016 artistic blow-out, and it’s brewing… but for now join us in reminiscing on the events of 2016…

January
A quiet month for most, when we were busy sending emails and having meetings with the Ask My Bull boys, in preparation for their EP launch.

February
A certain male M20 collective co-founder has his final 20-something’th birthday, days before the AMB event was due to erupt.

March
POW – a creative explosion of flamboyant gypsy punk was splurged all over the walls of Aatma. What a night, Ask my bull succeeded to show they are one of  Manchester best and most unique live acts and we were happy to help support their self-title EP release. To say it was a success would be an understatement. Relive the night in the video below…

On 8th March, The International Women’s Day #IWD16 happened, so we helped Claire Roberts with her line up of spoken word artists and female creatives at the boutique event Women Make Works (and I even did a little sing myself).

April
It rained in Manchester, M20 collective’s 3rd birthday past (uncelebrated) and the cogs were turning for the (Chorlton Arts Festival CAF) show that were to be a part of.

May
We put together a line up of 7 bands including the debut of Lychee and a brilliant start-up by Agbeko an array local fashion stalls and creative works by Elnaz Yazdani, Little Beasties, Threads & Dreads,  Chan Yang Kim and many Others  had Danielle Jawando do a writing workshop as part of the CAF programme a day and night filled with arts and creativity.

 

chAN yANG kIM

(Above Photography exhibit by Chan Yang Kim)

June
There was a heat wave so we were far too exasperated to do anything #BBQs

July
A bit more downtime as mine and Joel’s personal endeavours were taking off with a gig-packed July for Pareidolia and a Manchester Jazz Festival debut.

August
 After 2 months away it’s now time to reconnect, and so the planning begins for our next event. We’ll give you a hint; the concept is borderline ready…

Performers, creatives and artists of all shapes and sizes please get in touch and let yourselves be known as you could be perfect for our winter affair. Until then…

Peas and Love – Yemi Bolatiwa

Email: M20collective@gmail.com or to feature in the next blog for an interview about your work, or to submit an opinion or creative piece email: them20press@gmail.com

Creativity – Collaboration –Community

 

 

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Short and Sweet- Call for Performers

Short&Sweet are running their first big night in Manchester and are looking for performers. The night is called FOOL and will be held on Friday 1st April at Victoria Baths, an ornate, victorian, empty swimming pool- a beautiful large space called the Gala Pool.

vicbaths

Short & Sweet runs as a continuous series of 3 minute performances all in response to one theme. This time the theme is ‘Fool’. Wise, tragic, naïve or reckless the fool has privilege to violate taboos. Art is foolish. Theatre fools and deceives. Short&Sweet is a evening that originated in Montreal, Quebec where it has been running for over 3 years and we look forward to bringing it over the seas to Manchester. Short&Sweet invites proposals from artists of any discipline for a three minute slot.

Feel free to respond to, rebel from and rework the starting point in any magical way that you wish. But you MUST stick to the three minute limit. We are open to a very varied mix of performance e.g. dance, comedy, theatre, live music, video, singing, circus are just some ideas but something different would be exciting too.

Each performer will get a rider and documentation of their work.

To apply, please email us with your name and an idea of what your performance could be. Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1678876949048986

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 12th March 2016 (midday)

Email: short.sweet.night@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sorcha and May

Artist Review: Lucy Mae

We’re always looking to keep up to date with whats going on in the local scene, and picking up on original music cultivation in the area is very much on the top of our list of what we want to support. This originals projects has a sense of revival to it, jazzy blues and swing, and it’s definitely a good thing!

We first encountered these guys via the ol’ social media, whilst looking for acts for our canal street event Live in the Village. Lucy, Luc Phan and Alex Martin of Ask My Bull graced the audience with jazz almost year and a half ago, and even now these musicians who currently go under Lucy Mae and are still on our radar.

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The umbrella of projects is lead vocally by Lucy- Camba-Bermudez. Her voice has an air of arousal, with a rustic edge on a foundation of broken blues. She’s accompanied by a bountiful brass section, Soprano Saxophone (Ed Kainyek) Tenor Saxophone (Caitlin Laing) and Baritone Saxophone (Tom Harris). With Christian Van Fields (Keyboard/Organ), Luc Phan (Guitar), Joshua Cavanagh -Brierley on Bass, and Joe Wood on Drums . The potential of this outfit not to be doubted and we’re keen to see what 2016 will bring for them. The Mudez Project is the latest musical venture consisting of traditional jazz-swing in it’s more modern state; re-instilling the importance of classic musicality.

One track in particular ‘ State of denial‘ encompasses the sound at its most triumphant.

Another of the projects is a duet between Lucy and Luc (see image below), which sees the couple come together in a stripped back acoustic style, that silences crowds. Listen to more here: with this smooth rendition of Portis head’s ‘Give me a reason’.

lucy mand and luc phan.jpg

These guys have got to be some of the most dedicated and  active musicians in the area and you’re bound to see them on a live music line up in chorlton or the city centre whether its putting on their own music or providing a platform or house band for others. Revivalist, methodical and passionate Lucy Mae are doing what we (M20) like to see! Making music, movements and keeping the live music scene a-thrive!

Click here to watch their latest video “Through You” and check out more about this collage of musicians on their Facebook page.

You can also watch them for real! at their residency at The Lodge at Richmond Tea Rooms every Saturday, it’s an Alice In Wonderland themed bar that’s part of the Tea Room or experience the sound on Sunday 21st Feb at Hold Fast Northern Quarter and many other places for that matter! we’re spoilt for choice.

The Sessions of March

We got some inside info on one Manchester’s most exciting collaboration projects, and you know M20 collective are all about collaboration. Kris Extance tells us all about The Sessions of March…

TSOM

Header image: Jenna and the G’s

What is TSOM to those who are not in the know?

TSOM is a collection of live music & video recording sessions that took place during the month of March 2015. There are roughly 24 artists involved, with around 80 tracks recorded. It is a snapshot of the phenomenally diverse and talented independent creative scene in Manchester. There is huge variety within the sessions ranging from acoustic singer songwriters to gypsy-punk bands to 9-piece dub bands to cosmic dross space adventurers and that is to describe but a few! There are even a few special one-off improvised collaborations and special renditions of existing material involved as well. In essence, it is a collection of music we love that we want the world to see.

Who makes up the TSOM team?
Myself [Kris Extance], as founder/organiser. Audio recording and production was done by WR Audio, which consists of Dan Watkins and Biff Roxby, working alongside the video guys from Midnight Sounds headed by Dan Jones and accompanied by freelance camera man Matthew Jones. We also have Jason Badiozzaman on board, who is helping with social media and post-production organisation.

How did you come up with the idea?
Up until the beginning of this year, I had been involved with a unique music venue for 5 years and was the General Manager for the final 3 of these. The venue’s history is quite unusual, with constantly evolving family of creative individuals working tirelessly to make a place like no other. A place that supported local talent in all its variety, and a place where like-minded creative individuals could meet and enjoy the music and art they loved.

Our ethos was to support local talent and put on eclectic parties like no other venue. It was one of those places where if you didn’t look up what was on you would never know what to expect. To be honest, even if you did look it up you still might not have a clue! It was as grass-roots as you could get, with too many people to mention who were crucial in its set-up and running virtually all artists and musicians. The tag line I used whilst working there was ‘for creative people, by creative people’. Like a lot of independent businesses, we soon realised that in order to make a living for ourselves, we needed to have a balance between what we truly believed in and what would generate income.

We successfully managed to achieve a balance we were happy with, however at one point due to various reasons we suddenly lost a lot of creative control. We felt like our ethos was being compromised, and we had put too much into the venue to just go on and allow this to happen. The difficult decision was made to walk away from the project, taking our ethos and everything we had learned with us. It was at this point the sessions plan was formulated, everyone had put too much into the venue to walk away without doing something special!

I wanted to create a snapshot of why we put so much into the venue and what we most enjoyed about it, the music! I contacted WR Audio, who had become firm friends through working with us at the venue, and Dan Jones had worked in the venue alongside me already. We put together a plan of action and both teams agreed to do this for “mates-rates” despite being professional outfits, just because they believed in the project and why I wanted to do it. The initial team was formed and I organised as many of our favourite acts we had discovered through the venue into a month of recording sessions.

MONEYSHOT

What is the ‘ mantra’ behind it, so to speak?
Respect for independent musicians in all their variety. To help good people, who make good music, for the right reasons; mainly because they love doing it.

Why do you think it is important for the Manchester music scene?
For me, it’s the showcasing of such variety and talent all in one place. It’s why we used to love the venue initially, because it allowed us to put all the local talent we loved in one building. You can find so many amazing scenes in Manchester however; finding something that links all these scenes together is a much harder task. I love going to events where there is something for everyone, and I hope in the sessions this is the case as well. I also think it’s an important way of helping people discover new independent music. You may look to find one thing, but discover something else as entirely.

How have you developed a personal passion for music?
I love how music can make you forget all anxiety and worry. I love that if the right song comes on, especially when performed live, the world ceases to exist and you are in a serene moment of appreciation and awe. The huge diverse nature of music is incredible, and I feel it is one of the most important and beautiful forms of expressions there is. I play bass myself, and have always been in bands since the age of around 15. Although I have never considered myself a musician, it has always been a hobby not a profession. For the last 5 years or so, I have been surrounded by musicians who surpass my playing in every aspect and I’ve become more a music facilitator. I’m able to get to know a huge creative community both on and off stage, which has been – and will continue to be – something special. I have spent all my time trying to help the people who make music I respect and appreciate, because I want to hear more of it and I want more people to hear it too. I have never claimed to be a musical expert, but I know one thing for certain: I love music and my passion for helping music happen has done nothing but grow and grow. Music brings people together, and allows them to communicate through a beautiful universal language and that is important in this day and age more than ever.

How did you manage to recruit all of these musicians to participate?
I am lucky enough to call most of these musicians’ friends who I have got to know throughout the venue over the years. It was simply a case of calling them up and explaining the reason for the project. We were fortunate enough that everyone loved the idea and wanted to support it by taking part. I could not have more respect for all those involved!

redeyehifilive

Red Eye Hifi LIVE

What does collaboration in music mean to you?

Collaboration in music to me means a world of exciting possibilities of communication through sound. When a person plays their own music, they are expressing themselves and their ideas openly. Collaboration in music is a beautiful moment where people come and express themselves and their ideas together as one. It is a way of bringing people together from any background for a united purpose.

What is the most important outcome for the project?
The most important outcome is that as many people see the music as possible. I hope people discover new music through this project, and it gives some form of exposure to incredibly hard working independent musicians who deserve it. They have made my life so much more enjoyable over the last few years and I want to return the favour.

Noon – ‘I wish I knew how to sing’ live video

Anything else you’d like to tell us about TSOM?
We are also going to try and use this first set of sessions to raise enough money to do a second set of sessions. This will most probably be in the form of a Kickstarter. We didn’t come close to capturing all the artists we wanted to cover in the first round of recording. Due to popular demand by the musicians, we also have a long-term plan to turn this into some form of live event. So please, if you like The Sessions of March and the reasons behind it, then please support us in any way you can as it would mean the world to us.

Follow the journey on facebook: The sessions of march

Interview by Yemi Bolatiwa

Who is Keisha Thompson a.k.a. SheBeKeke?

Alex talks to Keisha Thompson about what inspires her writing, what Young Identity hopes to achieve and the Manchester literature scene in general

Have you heard SheBeKeke? With an already more-than-impressive portfolio, Keisha Thompson is a valuable member of Manchester’s poetry circuit. As well as being a key member of Inna Voice, another creative group within Young Identity, she recently released her own EP, Abecedarian, and has been published in numerous anthologies.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing Keisha perform a number of times. At each performance, I’ve been struck by how she manages to bring new character and life to the poems (even the ones I’ve heard before), whilst at the same time retaining something undeniably “Keisha-y”. This combination of constant reinvention and a strong creative signature is something she shares with a lot of her fellow Young Identity talent: they all excel in showing one piece in many different lights whilst still putting a personal stamp on their work.

And this personal touch is present throughout the whole creative process: Keisha’s work, for the most part, is based on her own experiences of the world, her family and responses to the political/social landscape around us. Discussing inspiration, she brought up the powerful connection between her identity and her family heritage. In ‘Fickle’, a piece on her EP, Thompson examines her relationship with her father, and how it in turn facilitates her understanding of her own heritage.

Being British with a Jamaican father and Guyanese mother, the identification process is not simple: she does not feel as though any of these three identities/nationalities is wholly her. When she was younger, she never felt particularly British because her household held a lot of Guyanese traditions – but when she was five and visited Guyana, she was no longer so sure she felt so Guyanese. Describing it as a “weird one”, she concluded that she is always somewhere in the middle of being Guyanese, British and Jamaican – though all three identities certainly inspire her.

“Once I’ve processed it, I can write about it”

And Keisha’s own heritage isn’t the only thing from across the world that gets her writing. In terms of the social and political inspirations for her work, tragedies like those that took place in Ferguson last summer, when unarmed black teenager Mike Brown was murdered by white cop Darren Wilson, are important creative sources. But with heavy issues like racism and violence, getting pen to paper can take longer. “I get angry about these things but it takes me a while to process it; I need to process it. Once I’ve processed it, I can write about it,” explained Keisha. Indeed for many writers, taking a step back from material is necessary in order to walk the difficult ground between raw, blunt emotions and tailoring language to suit a creative purpose.

Relating to the Mike Brown case, as well as countless other crimes against people of colour, we discussed Keisha’s views on the need for – and lack of – white voices in race debates. Thompson argued that white voices are necessary when violence happens, because racism is not just ‘a black issue’ – “all races need to acknowledge that racism exists and move forward with that.” Here referencing social theorist Dr Joy DeGruy,  she highlighted the key differences between American and English politics: Keisha sees it that voices from all corners of American society can contribute to discussions about the rights and experiences of those from minority groups, even with only a basic understanding of the issues at hand. But in England, she argued, there is a hostility towards approaching an issue if you are not a member of the group being discussed. This was something I could definitely relate to: in my experience, England is more focused on drawing the lines round “who can say what about what” than on actually getting problems heard and discussed.

“They aren’t just playing with words, they also want to be the voice behind them”

Talk turned to focus on poetry as a vehicle for political speech in general. Is spoken word/rap/poetry more powerful than conventional speech when it comes to communicating ideas to people? Again, the differences between the US and the UK came up. “In America, it is way more powerful than here. When I go to places in New York they aren’t just playing with words, they also want to be the voice behind them” said the performer, noting that in Britain it is much easier to go to an event and not stumble across any political ideas. For various reasons, she felt that the spoken word scene in America was a lot more lively – but she takes inspiration from the fact that it is beginning to stand on its own as a viable platform for creative expression separate from the written/literary scene.

Young Identity, the group of young writers based out of Contact Theatre, are a group changing the narrative on what spoken word is, and can do, here in the UK. As we’ve seen from their constantly growing body of work, which brilliantly fuses the political, the everyday and the creative, they aim to change the game of Manchester’s poetry scene by trying to get people talking about current topics, focusing on politics and thinking actively about their own lives. As evidences this, Keisha noted that in the last One Mic Stand “everyone was doing politics and everyone was brilliant; the quality was outstanding”. Having gone to a previous One Mic Stand, Young Identity’s regular poetry slam, I can vouch for this. At the night I performed at, thoughts on equal rights, sexism and abuse were interwoven boldly and seamlessly with powerful, emotive language, bringing the room alive with the honesty of the work.

As with many Young Identity members, Keisha also works with Inna Voice. Helpfully, she explained the difference between the two groups: “When it first started, Young Identity was the writing group, and then as we started to slam we had Inna Voice. Not everyone was willing or ready to perform from Young Identity so it was easy to make Inna Voice the focus of performance”. Since then, Inna Voice has progressed and it is now its own company, a selective group that are hoping to put on a show next year.

Finally, who would Keisha recommend checking out? In Manchester, Ben Miller, Elmi Ali and Shirley May (one of the driving forces behind Young Identity’s One Mic Stand) are some of her must-sees, as well as Isaiah Hull, the phenomenal winner of June 2014’s One Mic Stand, and Yusra Warsama. Outside of Manchester, Keisha Thompson said she was reading Malika Booker’s Pepper Seed at the moment and could not recommend her enough, as well as loving the works of Warsan Shire and Tanya Shirley. If you want some great inspirational material definitely check out these artists, especially Booker’s latest release (which I am already delving into and loving!).

Going forward from Abecedarian, what can we expect from this talented artist in the future? “Abecedarian means learning your alphabet and it seemed fitting for the title of my first release because I was just trying it out,” explained Thompson. “But now I am ready to focus in on a theme and be more specific with something I can develop”. Performance-wise, she’s also bringing her live show I Wish I Had A Moustache to Manchester’s Contact Theatre this year and it is not something you want to miss out on! Whatever Thompson does in the future, it is going to be entertaining, fun and most of all, inspiring. I’m looking forward to seeing where her talent can, and will, take her.

 

Follow Keisha Thompson on Twitter and on Facebook

Give her bandcamp a follow and download Abecedarian, her EP (you decide the price!): https://bandcamp.com/shebekeke

Check out Young Identity for more information about One Mic Stand: http://www.youngidentity.org/

Watch a performance here

 

-A.Webb

BASEMENT SESSION #5… Plume // Chris Jam // Gilberto Da Silva

Join us for the latest chapter of M20COLLECTIVE’s new weekly creative sessions in the Northern Quarter…

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It’s thursday again and you know what that means! Back to the Basement.

This week we have an eclectic trio of acts making their first appearances in the depths of Montpelliers. Come and warm your soul as the winter closes in.

acts

Plume

A four piece trip hop group based in Manchester that have a distinctive sound influenced by electronic textures, the band fuse hip hop grooves and lush vocals to create and immersive soundscape. They only named their band this week but you may find recordings sneakily leaked onto youtube without a tag. The quality of musicianship and attention to flow is clear. With the experience of The Mouse Outfit and 8 GOLD RINGS drummer Joe Luckin and the raw talent and emotion of singer Caroline Hendry I expect big things for Plume.

Chris Jam

Enthralling spoken word and slam poet whose charm and wisdom proceed him. Also a really good bloke who does great work in the community using his knowledge and skills to energise youths.

Gilberto Da Silva

Fresh back from a year in France Gilberto has teamed up with Johannes Samland Bowling the saxophonist from Pareidolia and others to work on material. Building on the soul vibe of his last project The Shaded Arrows Gilberto has progressed his musicality. M20’s answer to Seal, with this new band format we expect Gilberto will be tearing up the Manchester music scene this Winter.

details

When: Thursday 23rd October, 8pm

Where: Montpelliers Cafebar, 42 Back Turner Street, Manchester M4

How much: £0!

Basement Sessions #5 on Facebook

See you in the basement! M20 x

An Interview with… Harriet Dyer

Alex Webb sits down with comedienne Harriet Dyer

In September I was taken to Manchester’s Comedy Store for their monthly night ‘New Stuff’ and it was here I had the privilege of seeing Harriet Dyer perform. The Cornwall-born comedienne is a relatively recent addition to Manchester’s residents and we are very lucky to have her!

Toby Hadoke, host of The Comedy Store’s New Stuff, described Dyer as “a comedienne like no other” – and he’s not lying! When I asked Dyer about her style of comedy she said “I’m just trying to be as close to how I am in real life, because I think that’s when I’m at my funniest”. This is something I really appreciate in performance acts. The ability to be yourself whilst being great at what you’re doing makes for brilliant results and is a vital step in becoming respected in your art: watching the high energy Dyer run around the stage in what I can best describe as a hyperactive internal monologue was the highlight of my night at the Comedy Store.

Discussing her writing process, Dyer says that it’s an everyday thing with her finding material in the day to day conversations that leaves friends laughing. In Dyer’s opinion this is down to just how “bloody eventful my life is” which means that her material is the most original it can be: no two people experience things in the same way! One such example that I saw first hand was Dyer retelling the story of a wheelchair user harrietwho tried to leave her show early but got stuck – leaving the comedienne to help her out. Normally this would read as tragic but with Dyer’s relentless energy it was brought into a hilarious light and was probably her strongest sketch of the night.

Like a lot of performing arts, comedy is not something people easily fall into. This was precisely the case for Dyer who originally wanted to be actress, desperate to find an affordable school. Her aspiration led her to Wolverhampton which seemed to be a difficult time in her life, confessing she was “a bit of an alcoholic [who] everyone refused to work with because [she] turned up with a bottle of gin” in hand. Luckily this played to her advantage when, one day, she turned up drunk and was presented with a stand-up comedy assessment. Dyer made her way through the course with a story about how she once died twice, and she promises this is funnier than it may sound. By the end of it, everyone was in stitches and she thought to herself “by Jove, maybe this could be a career path for me” and here she is today.

Dyer is becoming a well-established act, bringing a show to Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 called ‘My Name Is Harriet’ (‘My Name Is Earl’-inspired). Having been in the game for a while I asked Dyer for any advice she may want to give to aspiring Manchester-based comedy acts. Her key piece was, bluntly, “don’t be a dick, be original, work hard and there’s no time like the present so bloody hurry up and get gigging”. This is undeniably sound advice and something that translates to anyone interested in performance. You’re never going to get better if you keep your material to yourself – air it out and let it be hated, loved and most importantly critiqued. In relation to Manchester specifically, Dyer said that we are living in a city with one of the best comedy circuits so there are endless opportunities to practice! If you are interested in getting any advice from Dyer then she has an open email policy (kind of similar to an open door one) so drop her a message and I’m sure you’ll find yourself in safe hands!

For those of us who prefer taking a seat in the audience Dyer suggested some comedy hubs such as XS Malarkey, The Kings Arms Salford (for ‘Gein’s Family Giftshop’s Bargain Basement’), The Frog and Bucket and, of course, the Comedy Store. If you want to find some of the most exciting and varied talent our city has to offer make these places your regular hand outs, all hosting a variety of nights with prices ranging from free (students get on it!) to about £30 for the near-perfected Mancunian comedy shows.

When discussing the future for Dyer, she said that we can expect more gigging, writing and “working like a strumpet, I guess” (whatever that means). If this has made you eager to see what this act has to offer check out her weekly podcast (co-hosted with fellow comedian Lou Conran). Whatever we see from Dyer in the future it is bound to be excellent, confusing and most of all, hilarious.

 

Check out Harriet at www.harrietdyer.co.uk

Give her a follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dyerlinquent

Or drop her an email if you want some advice on starting out in comedy: dyerharriet@yahoo.co.uk

If you want to get a taste of her 2015 fringe show, check out her excellently reviewed 2014 one at http://harrietdyer.bandcamp.com/album/barking-at-aeroplanes

Alex Webb