A Change Is Gonna Come (Music for Human Rights)

A Change is Gonna Come

Special concert featuring Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Speech Debelle & Nubya Garcia

Tuesday 29 May 2018, Town Hall Birmingham

Four of the most gifted soul, jazz and hip hop artists explore the power of protest songs in this not to be missed collaboration.

Leading an incredible sextet are supremely talented queens of their trade: the soulful Carleen Anderson, jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia and Mercury Prize-Winning rapper Speech Debelle. On stage together for the first time, they will perform unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today.

Alongside such classics as A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gill-Scott Heron) this special concert also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh, highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights.

“Life translated in art throughout the ages, in Greek Mythology, Shakespeare and various expressionistic forms have always addressed the issues of the inequities in social and political power,” says Carleen Anderson. “Whilst contemporary creatives who speak out against injustice are sometimes influenced by a commercially beneficial objective, in grateful contrast are those artists who, as ever, are compelled by a universal incentive to be a reminder of the equal opportunities yet to be addressed and achieved.”

Says Nikki Yeoh: “Art must not be anodyne, culture cannot be decorative, artists should challenge the most powerful in our society; if we do not, we are not doing our job properly. We often associate the protest song with the civil rights movement and the 60’s counter-culture, however its roots stem from injustice and inequality which manifests its self indiscriminately across all borders and cultures, it never seems to fade from the human condition.”

Born in Texas, Mercury-nominated Carleen Anderson was reared on the sounds of the Pentecostal Gospel church where her Grandfather was pastor, and whose family was friends with Martin Luther King. Her University of Southern California music scholarship paved the way for global recognition after moving across the Atlantic to the UK in 1990 to become the lead singer and composer of The Young Disciples. She is known for her role as featured vocalist with The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Dr. John, Ramsey Lewis, Nigel Kennedy, Paul Weller and more. Her ambitious Cage Street Memorial project traces 100 years of family life and national politics in a critically acclaimed album, book and live ‘tribal opera’, recently performed at London’s Barbican to high praise.

Since her emergence on the British jazz scene in the mid-90s, pianist Nikki Yeoh has proved to be an improviser, composer and all-round adventurer who has continually sought to broaden her musical horizons. She has led her own bands in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, performed with DJ Pogo, Neneh Cherry and The Roots and composed works for John Surman and Joanna MacGregor. Nikki received The Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year Award 2017 for her long awaited solo album Solo Gemini.

Speech Debelle is a rapper and musician from South London, probably best known for winning the Mercury Music Prize for her debut album, Speech Therapy (2009), most of which was co-produced by Big Dada label mate Wayne Lotek. In 2012 she released her second album, Freedom of Speech, this time with production from Kwes (Warp). She has also been politically and socially active with a number of charities and movements, and hosted the BBC documentary Hidden Homeless.

London-based saxophonist and composer, Nubya Garcia, is one of the leading forces behind the resurgence of jazz-influenced sounds in the UK. Nubya has recently played Worldwide Festival, Ronnie Scott’s, Brazil’s Urubu Sessions with Jazz re:freshed and British Underground, and began 2018 at Winter Jazz Fest. Last year she was awarded the Steve Reid Foundation Award and released her debut recording with Jazz re:freshed. Nubya is also involved with bands Maisha, Nérija, Theon Cross Trio, Joe Armon Jones’ and Maxwell Owins’ Idiom amongst other projects.

The band also features the incredible talents of bassist Renell Shaw who has collaborated, recorded and toured alongside artists such as Rudimental, Skepta, Nitin Sawhney, plus drummer Rod Youngs who has played with Gil Scott Heron, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine, Sia, Jocelyn Brown, and Jazz Jamaica All Stars, amongst others.

A Change Is Gonna Come is at Birmingham’s Town Hall on Tuesday 29 May 2018. For more information and tickets see: www.thsh.co.uk


Tuesday 29 May 2018
A Change Is Gonna Come
Four of the most gifted soul, jazz and hip hop artists – Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeo, Speech Debelle and Nubya Garcia – explore the power of protest songs
Town Hall, Victoria Square, Birmingham, West Midlands B3 3DQ
Tickets £17
Box office: 0121 780 3333

Direct link: https://www.thsh.co.uk/event/a-change-is-gonna-come-1


Line up:

  • Carleen Anderson – vocalist, MD / composer / arranger
  • Nikki Yeoh – piano & keyboard / composer / arranger
  • Speech Debelle – rapper
  • Nubya Garcia – saxophone
  • Renell Shaw – electric bass
  • Rod Youngs – drums

A Change Is Gonna Come is produced by Sound UK. Funded by Arts Council England and PRS For Music Foundation.

A Change Is Gonna Come is the title of a track by the late great soul singer Sam Cooke in 1964. The song has since been recorded by a host of artists, from Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin in the 1960s, to such contemporary stars as Seal and Maverick Sabre. Find out more at Wikipedia: A Change Is Gonna Come.


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