To celebrate the end of Norfolk BHM we have compiled an amazing showcase of some of the UK’s finest young talent. You will be entertained by the UK’s finest young Black comedian Kojo, award-winning jazz band ‘Empirical’, Norwich-based Hip Hop act ‘Spoken Drama’, New York-based poet ‘Faro.Z’, South London’s finest Hip Hop act ‘Toplinerz’. And for the first time in Norwich we bring you ‘The Jump Off’ presenting a Crew Dance Battle like you’ve never seen!
Kojo has fast become one of the biggest talents to come out of the black comedy circuit. CBBC recognised his talents early on in his career, and in summer 2005 signed him as a presenter to their Saturday morning show ‘The Mighty Truck’. Working alongside Reggie Yates, he was an instant hit with his endless energy and comedic timing.
Not letting go of his comedy roots, Kojo stays true to stand up and has only increased his popularity by doing so. Let’s not forget that this is a man within his first three months on the comedy circuit saw him nominated for best newcomer award at the Black Entertainment Comedy Awards 2000, which he went on to win the following year. Kojo has improved every year as a performer and won “Best Male Comedian” in 2005. He even started London’s first black comedy club, ‘Da Comedy Fun House’, which runs on Sunday evenings.
Kojo has engineered a steady rise to fame, and in 2002 landed a job with the digital station 1Xtra, BBC’s urban music station. Here, once again, Kojo used his charm and wit to interview a host of celebrities from the world of music, TV and sport from Usher to Atomic Kitten to Alicia Keys. He has also presented on The Lick (MTV Base), Choice FM’s Breakfast Show.
Kojo’s style of comedy appeals to a wide mass of people, young, old, black or white, his only focus is being funny on stage.
Due to release their debut album in March 2007 on Courtney Pine’s label Destinee, Empirical is dedicated to developing its own style of contemporary jazz with a definite finger on the pulse of the contemporary world. As former members of Gary Crosby’s Tomorrows Warriors these five musicians have been working and developing together for the last four years.
Jay Phelps is a featured member of Dennis Rollins Badbone & Co and has worked with Andrew Hill, Courtney Pine, Nasheet Waits, Charlotte Church, Hugh Masakela, Soweto Kinch and Jazz Jamaica. Nathaniel Facey has worked with Afrobeat star, Dele Sosemi, gospel artist Ron Kenoli, Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Billy Jenkins, Steve Watts, Soweto Kinch, Jean Toussaint, Abram Wilson, Alex Wilson and Hugh Masakela. John Escreet has performed with artists as varied as Steve Williamson, Dennis Rollins, Julian Siegel and Kyle Eastwoood. Neil Charles has played with Sowet Kinch’s bands, as well as performed with Dennis Rollins Badbone & Co, Abram Wilson and HKB:FINN to name just a few. Shaney Forbes also performed with Jean Toussaint, Courtney Pine, Billy Jenkins, Andrew McCormack, Mike Carr, Tj Johnson, Byron Wallen, Soweto Kinch and Abram Wilson.
Spoken Drama have been together for around two years. First consisting of cousins ‘Kiddy Kiddy’ and ‘J.Swift’, they were doing their thing for around one year compiling their first promo in 2005 which was distributed locally around Norwich and East London. After a buzz was starting to happen surrounding the crew ‘Just’ was added to the team in early 2006 to add another dimension to the group’s sound.
Since then momentum has starting to gather for the group with them regularly performing and having one of the members ‘J.Swift’ Dj’in for 1 xtra on numerous occasions. Now in late 2006 the team have compiled their first music video for ‘I Don’t Belong’ filmed by the BBC which will be available to you on tv and myspaces soon. So until then keep your ears to the ground. This year is going to be a busy year for SD. You can check out our music video for I don’t Belong on the BBC Norfolk.
FARO.Z is quite often compared to KRS, for his ability to get a positive message across in a creative hip hop manner. FARO.Z got his earliest rap influences from Rakim. Later on, he heard Das Efx, and Snoop Dogg, and has yet to put down his pen. FARO.Z has always been a musically creative person, gifted with great writing, speaking and memory skills.
Toplinerz members Young Pro and Bravado, aged 20 and 26 respectively, have been spitting flames together since 2003. Known for their impeccable technical ability, smooth flow and clinical delivery.
Pro and Bravado met when they collaborated on a track back in 2000. Their unique styles fused so well that they eventually made it a permanent arrangement. Pro’s effortless wit, clever wordplay and hilarious punchlines are complimented by the refreshingly conscious and mature presence of Bravado. Both grew up in South London representing the streets that nurtured and educated them.
Possessing versatile capabilities, means they can switch from hard hitting, grimey freestyles to the most uplifting party track in the snap of a finger.
Jump Off TV – Crew Dance Battle
Jump Off bring their Crew Dance Battle to Norwich for the first time. Get ready for some hip hop sports entertainment.
Black History Month (BHM) is held every October in Britain to promote knowledge of Black history and experience. Although this is only the forth year that BHM has been celebrated in Norfolk there are more than 50 events planned.
BHM provides an opportunity to share knowledge of our common human ancestry in Africa and of the continuous presence of Black people in Britain for at least 500 years. We should be aware of people such as Mary Seacole, a Black nurse in the Crimea at the same time as Florence Nightingale and, in her time, also famous and feted. Locally, it should be well known that the first Black British circus owner, Pablo Fanque, was born in Norwich in 1798 and that Britain’s first Black Mayor, Allen Minns, was elected in Thetford in 1904.
Look out for a full programme of theatre, dance, visual arts, seminars, poetry and music being promoted by Norfolk Education and Action for Development and Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council. Visit the website for full details and up-to-date listings: www.norfolkblackhistorymonth.org.uk
To book tickets for this seated event, please call the Norwich Arts Centre Box Office on 01603 660352, or book online at www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance, £6 on the door, or £4 for concessions. For all event listings, please visit www.norwichartscentre.co.uk.