Music & live performance
In Birmingham's Eastside district, new music is being forged daily with the help of organisations such as Punch Records, nurturing emerging black music artists while Birmingham Conservatoire produces classically trained stars.
Like Editors, Mike Skinner and Fyfe Dangerfield of the Guillemots that came before them, indie favourites Peace, soul singer Laura Mvula, RnB ‘it boy’ Jacob Banks, and folk group Goodnight Lenin are just some of the names redefining Birmingham’s music scene today...
PEACE are the newest indie band lighting up Birmingham. Signed to Columbia records, the band first received critical acclaim in 2012 after a song they released online went viral.
They have since supported the Vaccines, Tame Impala and Magic Kids on tour and released a studio album in March 2013. PEACE have also been nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll.
Birmingham based Troumaca are a Caribbean-influenced band which marry the best bits of UK bass culture and great British songwriting with a tropical swing.
Staunchly loyal to Birmingham, Troumaca have been causing a stir in the Midlands for some time and organise music nights at the Adam & Eve in the city. The band have now been signed by Gilles Peterson Brownswood imprint and are set to make it big in 2013.
You may not know 21 year old Jacob Banks’ name yet - but every record label managing director in the UK does.
The reason? He is quite simply extraordinary. Two years ago, Jacob won a competition which allowed him to work alongside UK artist, Plan B. After this he won the MOBO unsung competition and performed with the likes of Yasmin and Cleo Sol. In his spare time, Jacob is also studying engineering alongside establishing a long-lasting career in music.
The Electric Swing Circus
The Electric Swing Circus fuse 20’s swing with electric beats in a dazzling live show.
The line-up starts with the sisters of swing singing harmonies. Then add in gypsy-jazz guitar, bass, drums, keys, samples and synth to give a full and rich sound. Their live show has been put together especially for theatres and sit down venues that integrates music with circus performance and dance
Birmingham singer-songwriter Laura Mvula has been thrust into the musical limelight since quitting her job as a CBSO receptionist to pursue her dream.
Classically trained in violin and piano at Birmingham Conservatoire, Laura’s singing career has taken off, with her single ‘Green Garden’ getting heavy radio and TV play and a recent successful album launch. So far she has been nominated for the Critic’s Choice Award at the Brits, and is touring with Jessie Ware and Paloma Faith. The singer-songwriter has also been nominated for a Mercury Prize for her album 'Sing to the Moon. She will be playing in Birmingham on 8 October at The Institute in Digbeth, tickets available here.
Birmingham is fast becoming the best place in the UK to look to for the most exciting new music and a movement coined B-town by national media is becoming prevalent with NME award-winners Swim Deep leading the way.
The quartet creates a mix of grunge-pop having met as teenagers in the city. Now all in their 20s and signed to RCA, they are currently enjoying success with Radio One airplay and great reviews.
Described as both the UK Nicki Minaj and the female Busta Rhymes, Lady Leshurr is a female MC, singer and producer currently taking the world by storm.
She has featured on tracks with Tinie Tempah, Wiley, Lethal B and Dot Rotten to name just a few, and since signing a publishing deal with EMI has worked with a range of producers including R1, Noisa, Loco and Wizzy Wow. She is currently working on an EP.
Reuben James, described as ‘fast becoming Britain’s best young jazz pianist’ by The Times, is one of a number of artists to have emerged from Jazzlines, Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s dynamic programme of live jazz performances and education projects, over the past few years.
Mentored by Jazzlines’ Mary Wakelam-Sloan with further support from the late jazz star Abram Wilson, Reuben is now studying at Trinity Laban in London, plays in a number of ensembles at hotspots like Ronnie Scotts and his trio debuted at this years Cheltenham Jazz Festival; as well as opening for jazz legend Wayne Shorter with the Jazzlines Trio. He is currently working with UK pop artist Sam Smith and soul legend Ruby Turner. He has also appeared in fashion shoots for GQ Magazine.
The Birmingham-born pianist is one of the UK’s most promising young musicians and is a talented ambassador for the city’s vibrant contemporary jazz scene.
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To celebrate the past, present and future, we want to create 'Birmingham's B-side' – the ultimate West Midlands playlist, a virtual 20-track album which reflects the diversity of music that originates from the region.
Tell us which one song – be it a single or album track – which you think deserves to be on the B-side – and why
for your chance to win a pair of tickets to the Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival at Moseley Park, Birmingham on Friday July 11th.
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