SOWETO KINCH

Award winning alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians in both the British jazz and hip hop scenes. Undoubtedly, one of the few artists in either genre with a degree in Modern History from Oxford University he has amassed an impressive list of accolades and awards on both sides of the Atlantic – including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, two UMA Awards and a MOBO for best Jazz Act in 2003. In October 2007, he won his second MOBO Award, at the O2 Arena, London where he was announced as the winner in the Best Jazz Act category- fending off stiff competition from the likes of Wynton Marsalis.

His skills as a hip hop MC and producer have also garnered him recognition in the urban music world: having supported the likes of KRS ONE, Dwele and TY, and being championed by the likes of Mos Def, Rodney P and BBC 1-Xtra’s Twin B.

Kinch’s projects also extend beyond recorded albums. Writing the score for Jonzi D’s Hip Hop Theatre production Markus the Sadist (2010), and Sampad’s In The Further Soil (2010), a dance-theatre. Kinch also wrote and acted in the latter piece, which toured throughout India for a month.

Most recently, he has collaborated with the BBC and Drum and Bass producer Goldie. By Royal Appointment is 3-part prime time reality music show, following Goldie, Soweto, Guy Chamber andMs Dynamite as they discover and coach a group of 12 vulnerable young mentees towards their first live performance before HM Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace. Kinch, describe how the programme (due for transmission on the 23rd February, 2011) really allowed him to extended his work as an curator and mentor, “it was a radically fresh approach to discovering and nurturing new talent, and an antedote to the usual pop formulae and manufactured music.”

The Flyover Show is Soweto’s flagship project. Currently in its 4th year, this groundbreaking daylong, music and arts festival takes place in its unusual setting beneath a motorway flyover in Birmingham. This years event (18th June 2011) continues a theme from 2010, celebrating black male icons who’ve been influential in successful in redefining Britishness. Featuring artists as divergent as Goldie, Akala and Omar the festival continues to build on its reputation, bringing world class rostra to an often neglected corner of inner city Birmingham – its previous guests having included Bashy, Ms Dynamite, Janet Kay, Ty, Speech Debelle and Jonzi D to name a few.

Following on from links made during his time in India and South Africa, Soweto is preparing to extend the The Flyover Show concept, globally: taking breakout performances abroad and working with artists from the Dharavi slum of Mumbai and in Johannesburg. The vision and impact of this idea continues to grow, transforming derelict and abandoned spaces into exciting creative spaces, and presenting a new model of urban renewal.

Kinch also continues to curate seasons of The Live Box, a Birmingham based jam session and showcase that has been run from venues across Birmingham for over 9 years. Moreover, he has been invited as a special guest curator at the Harrogate Festival 2011.

His latest release The New Emancipation draws its inspiration from 19th century work songs and early blues, exploring the modern resonances of the emancipation story. From debt/wage slavery, to creative oppression in the music industry and ideas of race in a post-Obama age it combines this rich musical inheritance and revisits it with stellar jazz ensemble and modern hip hop production. Number one on the Rise Best Albums of 2010, the album features a prestigious international lineup, including Byron Wallen, Justin Brown (US), Eska Mtungwazi, Femi Temowo, Shabaka Hutchings and Harry Brown among others.

Currently touring this material with his core quartet, Kinch has earned a number of 5 star reviews for his recent live performances. His performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (2010 London Jazz Festival) confirmed Kinch as a major figure in the UK scene, as The Evening Standard’s Jack Massarik described, “it was hard to imagine stronger contemporary jazz being played anywhere else in the world.”

2011 sees Soweto and his quartet taking his music to increasingly diverse audiences across the world, including territories from the USA and Germany to Dubai, Morocco and Botswana. And entrenching his signature sound, mixing jazz and hip hop.