Embracing an open ethos towards authentic hip-hop and a myriad of jazz styles, Soweto Kinch bridges the gap between genres. His music is heavy with invention, expression and melodic improvisation, drawing influence from the free styling sounds of KRS-1, Wynton Marsalis and Linton Kwesi Johnson to name but a few.
Basement Fables is the next leap forward for a remarkable talent and pioneering young musician. He will be joined live on stage by the formidable Femi Temowo (guitar), Neil Charles (bass), Graham Godfrey (drums) and a very special guest to be announced soon. Outstanding visual producer Soopanatural provides the backdrop for the evening and audiences are advised to bring their mobile phones for an interactive and spectacular finale.
As a Town Hall Associate Artist and a Hockley resident, Kinch has also been involved with a number of high profile education and community projects including The Midnight Hop, a summer school exploring the hidden history of Black musicians in England during the 18th and 19th centuries.
More recently, he curated The Hockley Flyover Show, a daylong festival of urban art and music in a neglected concrete space underneath a main Birmingham road. Local and national performers took part and the experiment to empower and unite local and wider communities was hailed as a huge success. Extracts of the show will be performed at Basement Fables by a group of young artists who take elements of hip-hop theatre – b-boying, beat boxing, rhyming – and blend them with music, acting and singing in a powerful piece of work.
Soweto Kinch has been pushing musical boundaries since joining hip-hop group Pentalk in 1994. His debut album Conversations With The Unseen saw the then 25-year-old described as having ‘sophisticated independence’ and a music that ‘sparkles with life’.
With a Mercury Music Prize nomination under his belt, the self-taught musician then went on to gain critical acclaim. Appearances with Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Courtney Pine and Denys Baptiste led to a string of MOBO and BBC Radio Jazz Awards and praise from artists on both sides of the Atlantic.
2006 concept album A Life In The Day Of B19: Tales Of The Tower Block, which features BBC newsreader Moira Stuart, jazz trumpeter Abram Wilson, inimitable rapper Jonzi D and skits about urban living, opened the way for a jazz-rap evolution. Kinch has also been highlighting issues around the classification of so-called ‘urban music’ in High Street retail stores, a debate he has dubbed ‘The War In A Rack’.