News2016

News about music in 2016

22nd August

MiC Lowry Play First Ever Live Leicester Date

MiC Lowry band 2016

MiC Lowry band 2016

MiC Lowry is an English R&B and pop band with a massive international YouTube following, a MOBO Unsung prize under their belt and a fresh batch of polished, dreamy harmonies to boot.

The group played at the 2Funky Music Café on Wednesday 28 September 2016; their first live Leicester date, as part of a national tour.

The Liverpudlian five-piece consists of Ben Sharples, Kaine Ofoeme, Akia Jones, Delleile Ankrah, and Michael Welch. Formed in 2010, when the boys were in their teens, they soon began making waves locally with their energetic brand of soulful pop and divine, effervescent covers. In 2014, they were crowned winners of the MOBO UnSung talent competition, after they wowed an industry panel and won the public vote. That year, they headlined the MOBO Unsung Tour and supported Boys II Men on their UK tour. In 2015, they released two EP’s – The Show and Supermodels – on Decca Records, which ended up with an appearance at Glastonbury.

The band has played the length and breadth of the UK live circuit, with their own shows, including a performance at London’s 02 Academy (Islington) last year.

3rd July

Project Band: Young People Offered Chance
to Train with Music Artists for Free

Local young people are being given a unique opportunity to improve their vocal, performance and music-making skills, training with professional singer Mellow Baku and accomplished musician Andrew Price.

Project Band is inviting Leicester-based young people, aged 16-25, to train with exceptional artists on a three month programme of writing, rehearsing, improvising, recording, skill-sharing and jamming. Entries can include singers, spoken word artists, rappers and instrumental musicians.

Funded by Youth Music, the project will work primarily with ‘urban’ styles such as soul, R&B and hip hop, but will invite other influences (e.g. jazz and pop) to make this a fully inclusive music-making opportunity.

Workshops will take place from July-September 2016, on Tuesdays from 6pm – 9pm. The programme will culminate in a high profile showcase at 2Funky Music Café. Participants will also work towards a Bronze Arts Award accreditation, receive mentoring to facilitate their progression, work on masterclasses with big artists and record new tracks for a CD. No experience is necessary, but participants must be prepared to make a firm commitment to the course.

Director Vijay Mistry said: “This project will be a great platform for young people to grow in musical confidence and skill. It’s a must for young people who want to progress musically, and we have two brilliant artists to facilitate this.”

Mellow Baku has over a decade’s worth of experience of performing live, as part of collectives and as a soloist. Performing credits include Birmingham Jazz Festival, Glastonbury and BBC Live events. Courtney Pine OBE has referred to Mellow as ‘A new voice in British music, with an original blend of reggae soul and jazz. Superb voice, brilliant music.’

Musician Andrew Price has featured on a wide range of recorded material across R&B, blues, soul and jazz. Recent
live work includes piano for The Drifters’ Ray Lewis, touring with artist Jersey Budd and performing as a duo at the Royal Albert Hall. He has also completed studio recordings and has co-written work.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To sign up, contact Vijay Mistry on info@2funkyarts.co.uk or 07976 412759.

We welcome referrals from youth partners who know of young people that may benefit. Young people can find out more about this programme and other exciting activities on www.2funkyarts.co.uk.

Project Band, Tuedays 6pm – 9pm launching 5 July, 2Funky Music Café, New Park St, Leicester. LE3 5NH

20th June

Death of Leicester music legend

The Musician pub in Leicester posted on Facebook:

‘We very sadly must announce the death of our friend and colleague Ken Last, who died on Sunday 19 June 2016. Ken had supported and promoted music in Leicester for many years, especially folk music. He was a veteran of the first Glastonbury festival and the famous Isle of Wight festival, and remembered seeing Jimi Hendrix perform at Leicester Polytechnic. He regularly attended the folk music festivals at Warwick and Derby. Ken was a great help to The Musician and will be sorely missed.’

Editor of MIL Trevor Locke said: “I knew Ken well and often chatted to him at the Musician and on the way home on the bus after gigs.  He was a lovely guy and his knowledge of folk music was legendary.  I shall miss him a lot. Leicester has lost one of its great music characters and his contribution to the work of the venue over the years has been inestimable.”

Ken Last at The Musician. Photo: Chris McMinn.

Ken Last at The Musician.
Photo: Chris McMinn.

29th April

Kasabian announce Leicester performance

A performance by Kasabian has been announced. The band will be appearing at the Leicester football stadium (King Power) on 28th May.  Writing on Facebook, band member Sergio said “This has been an unbelievable year for the city and it seemed like the perfect thing to do this summer. We cannot wait to throw the city the greatest party they have ever seen.”  Kasabian musicians have been strong supporters of Leicester City Football Club for some time. On 2nd May Leicester City won the Premier League and now there is really something to celebrate. Tickets for this event sold out within minutes of becoming available. A second day will also take place on Sunday 29th May.

Read our report on Kasabian’s last gig in Leicester.

Kasabian's Tom Meighan in 2014. Photo by Kevin Gaughan

Kasabian’s Tom Meighan in 2014.
Photo by Kevin Gaughan

11th February 2016

Singer to perform in Leicester following record release

Nate Swettenham

Skunk Boy Project at Western Park Festival

Music artist The Skunk Boy Project is to appear at The Cookie in Leicester’s High Street on 18th March. The gig forms part of a tour which will see the singer taking to stages in Stround, Brighton, London, Cardiff, Leicester and Oxford.  ‘ECLECTION’ is officially released in Cardiff on March 16th but he is touring with physical copies now. Two days later he has his first Headline Show in Leicester at The Cookie on Friday 18th March. The Skunk Boy Project is a singer songwriter, with a unique, rich voice, playing ukelele and piano. Described as “An energising cocktail of many ingredients … a dash of The Beatles, Randy Newman, The Beach Boys, James Taylor and Paul Simon, blended with a smooth twist of Meilyr Jones, a bitter sweet dash of John Grant and for the streetwise, shaken up with some great rap!” He has performed in Leicester many times both at venues and at local festivals.

Nate Swettenham was one of the ‘Singers of Distinction’ in 2013; read our review.

10th January 2016

David Bowie’s death

David Bowie

Music legend David Bowie died after a long fight with cancer. The global superstar performed in Leicester in 1973 at the De Montfort Hall and also played at Rock City in Nottingham in 1997.  Many messages were posted from musicians and singers from Leicester on Facebook and Twitter, expressing sadness at the star’s demise.

6th January

‘Project: LIVE’ Seeks Talented New
Vocalists and Musicians

Vocalists and musicians from across the East Midlands are, for the second time, being given the opportunity to apply to a professional development and performance programme. Run by 2Funky Arts and Musical Director Carol Leeming, ‘Project LIVE’ will provide guidance for eight promising, new urban artists in developing new material and raising their profile. They will learn more about the music industry from professional artists, perform as part of a high profile showcase and work towards a Bronze or Silver Arts Award. Last year’s programme was a huge success and highlighted the massive potential of a group of emerging artists.

The three month programme has earned the support of Voice UK 2014 Semi-Finalist Bizzi Dixon. He will sit on the selection panel for the programme, for the second time. He has said: “If you want to make it big as an artist, you need to become industry savvy and make the most of your talent. This programme is designed to help you do just that.”

‘Project LIVE’ focuses on artists who work in urban music styles and music of Black origin, including soul, R&B, jazz, funk, gospel, grime and reggae. It will allow artists to perform for a music industry crowd and develop new business skills and knowledge of the industry. The programme hopes to increase the potential for artists to become signed, boost their income from performances, gain management and improve their networks. We will also help them to secure live bookings, across the region, following the course.

Singers, rappers and musicians will apply for the opportunity and those who are shortlisted will be interviewed by a professional panel, including Bizzi Dixon, Carol Leeming and DJ Yess. The eight who are selected will take part in sessions at 2Funky Music Café, Leicester, between April and June 2016. Workshops will culminate in a showcase at the same venue and be followed by a period of mentoring to encourage further progression.
To apply, artists must be over 18, unsigned and from Leicester, Nottingham or Derby. The project is £50 (for working people) and free for those in receipt of jobseekers allowance.

For an application form, please contact Vijay Mistry on info@2funkyarts.co.uk, or visit www.2funkyarts.co.uk. The deadline for applications is 29 February 2016

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

See also:

our review of Leicester’s gigs and bands in 2015

News about the OBS unPlugged shows in 2016