Tag: Soweto Kinch

Jazz is Gangster: Soweto Kinch as Active Citizen.

A Clare Edwards tweet alerted me to the video above which is promoting Soweto Kinch‘s Flyover Show (May 31st underneath the Hockley Flyover in Birmingham (and its free). The fact that this is happening is proof of Soweto’s credentials as an active citizen – one of those leaders who’s persistence makes sure a vision comes together. In this case he’s using music and the space under the flyover (and border between gang territories?) to bring together a community.

He talked about his frustration with trying to make unique things happen in his neighbourhood when I interviewed him on the Grassroots Channel from his home overlooking the flyover. (click here for the mp3 or scroll down to listen)

That was in October 2006 – nearly two years later he’s finally got there and I suspect this will be a great event.

You might also like to read the following

Created in Brum from a while back.

As above but more recently

Birmingham Eastside.

Jazz Breakfast.

Clare Edwards who’s skills have helped Soweto get the flyover gig going.

Andy Derrick.

Bobbie Jane Gardner who quotes Soweto as saying “Digital technology is an important tool that enables and allows for democracy”.


Grassroots Channel Spiked by the iPhone

13,587 programmes were downloaded from the Grassroots Channel Podcast in December 2007, 30% up on both November 2007 and the month just finished, January 2008. Would I be right to speculate that this mini spike is caused by Christmas playtime for people with the new iPhones and iPods?

No help from looking at the figures for the previous Christmas. December 2006 saw 3786 programmes downloaded, but in January 2007 you lot consumed 5219 programmes – an increase caused mostly by us putting 8 new programmes and a pdf on the channel in 1 rather bonkers month.

December 2007 was not only our best month for downloads, it was the moment when the total number of Grassroots Channel programmes delivered breached the 100,000 mark. (Smile to ones-self – punch air). The channel sets out to (mostly) tell the stories of active citizens in Birmingham’s neighbourhoods.

The most popular programmes since our first outing in October 2005 have been:

1.Soweto Kinch on life in B19. The award winning brummie Jazz star (Amazon here) on his remarkable album collaboration with Moira Stuart and why he still lives in B19.

2. It Shouldn’t be So Common. Simon Walker of Curio City talks about the murder of Alex Mendez, who visited Birmingham from his home city of Boston to support this project in Ladywood.

3. I am the Grass Now. The neighbours from Balsall Heath who volunteer to keep open Edward Road Police Station.

4. Does no Pay Make you Powerful? Linda Hines and Michelle Ashmore of Witton Lodge Community Association get tearful as they talk about how people power is transforming Perry Common.

5. Generating Market Forces. The story behind Kings Norton farmers market.

B19 Award for Soweto Kinch?

One of our most popular podcasts has been the short programme we made with Birmingham based jazz musician Soweto Kinch. In it he talked about community, the Aston/Lozells area and why he still lives in B19 rather than New York, London or Amsterdam – as might tempt any other international Jazz Star.

Soweto has also just become one of the first Associate Artists of Birmingham Town Hall (just restored) and whilst I think about it this year also saw him make this very strong film about Birmingham and slavery for the BBC programme Inside Out.

On to my point. Soweto has been nominated twice for this years prestigious BBC 3 Jazz awards. If you fancy supporting local talent here are the links. Please act quickly, voting ends on Sunday.

Vote for Soweto Kinch for the Radio 3 Jazz on 3 Award for Innovation or Achievement in New Music

Vote for Soweto Kinch for Album Of The Year

Birmingham bits and bats… a new podcast on the Grassroots Channel

Just a couple of things I wanted to mention. Thanks a bundle to Pete Ashton of Bournville (the place where we make chocolate) who wrote this about the Grassroots Channel:

Podnosh is a podcast station based in Birmingham that I stumbled across recently. I like that this pretty established outfit with high aims exists outside of my awareness – it implies there’s even more happening online in the city for me to discover. I’m particularly taken with the Grassroots Channel which “is here to provoke and inspire anyone who thinks they just might want to change the world around them”. For a quality sample check out this interview with Soweto Kinch, a jazz saxophonist and rapper from Handsworth who recently released an CD set in a tower block in B19, samples of which can be found on his MySpace page. Given what he says in that interview I intend to investigate Mr Kinch further.

Pete come and talks to us – I bet there’s loads I’ve yet to discover. Perhaps together we can get dear old web 1.-1 Digital Birmingham listening?

But double thanks to Pete for telling me that Birminghamitsnotshit won the annual Birmingham Pantomime Horse Grand National on just the second time of asking. Unbelievable. Jon Bounds you are in big trouble for not sharing your triumph with us here, first.