Q & A With Sophie Handy

We caught up with Sophie Handy, the founder of Crafty Business, and Muzikstan torchbearer  ahead of this Saturdays Mid Summer Muzikstan edition.sophie handy

Name: Sophie Handy

Occupation: Community Artist, Organiser at Muzikstan.

From: Shropshire

Live: Birmingham

Q) Tell us about Muzikstan, what’s your involvement? 

We were living at The Old Print Works when Zirak started Muzikstan in the Directors Lounge in March 2012, he was organizing some amazing acts literally in our living room. He started talking about doing a festival in the August and encouraged us to get involved and we have been ever since. The festival was a huge success and a turning point as the growing crowd were no longer going to fit in the lounge.

When Zirak left Birmingham in the November we took the torch and been rolling with it ever since. Muzikstan is a collective of musicians and music lovers alike and with a love for live music so prominent in Birmingham- it has been a pleasure to host such an eclectic range of gigs.

Q) What can people expect from Muzikstan?

After two years of biweekly live music nights we have been focusing our energies on bigger events, continuing to bring people together through a mutual appreciation of great music. More of the same- plus I think it’s about time we got the big orange tent out again!

Q) What made you decide on the lineup/outline of the day?

 

The lineup for this event was a collection of decisions as we are working with Brum Spirit, Birmingham Promoters and Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham (CSB). We have done a couple of events with CSB before and love the acts they support so making our selection was easy- Kadialy Kouyate sounds amazing and we are delighted he and his band can join us. The Dirty Old Folkers are local champions and likewise we were really chuffed to see them confirmed. Muzikstan has always been about that mixture of cultures and sounds and this really is a treat for us. Mama Matrix played at our Christmas party in 2012 and Daz and Anne are ace, the Voices Together Community Choir seems to resonate the vibe of collaboration and making music accessible so again- top result thanks to Brum Spirit. The Mistakings are fresh and soulful and I think will go down a storm, I just caught the last chord of Tom Peel at Lunar Festival, but judging by the expressions on everyone’s faces, I think we could be up for a few smiles.

Q) Why The Old Print Works?

This is where it all began and we love making it look like home! The space is better than a blank canvas- it has a great vibe and easily takes on every colour we can throw at it. It has the openness of a warehouse so you can get a good crowd in with lots of room to dance and it still feels intimate.

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The music scene in Birmingham is phenomenal. There is so much talent about we are very very lucky.

Q) The worst?

There’s so much to do, I don’t have time to leave!

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Round the fire at Muzikstan!

Q) What one thing would you change about the city? 

If everyone had shoes like Dorothy then we wouldn’t need cars!

Q) Favourite Brummie saying?

Not sure I’ve been here long enough…

Q) What is Brum Spirit? What does it mean to you?

I think Brum Spirit is the amalgamation of good energies that occur when people are having an excellent time together, whether it’s at a gig, in your friend’s back garden, wherever- the reason it has a name is because in Birmingham this happens a lot. There are so many good people about- the vibe is always hearty.

Q) What has happened recently that gave you Brum Spirit?

Watching the lead singer from Polyphonic Spree stop mid-set at Lunar Festival to give a special thank you to the man from the “Meat Shack” burger van for giving him his last burger- having just lovingly prepared it for himself!

Q) Tell us about your creative goals for the next year, what do you have bubbling away? 

To get Crafty Business established- I’d like to support local artists including myself, to sustain a regular program of arts and crafts workshops which are accessible to local people. Providing the opportunity for people to be creative, try new things and inspire each other.  I’d also like to paint a mural at The Old Print Works, make some wacky lighting sculptures and I’d like have a go at some stained glass work.  Last but not least, do more jam sessions!

Q&A With Dan Burwood

We were lucky enough to catch up with the very talented Dan Burwood, who co-runs Some Cities – the city-wide photography social project and  The Darkroom, based in The Old Print Works – take a little look at all the great things Some Cities will be bringing to Muzikstan this Saturday!

Dan

Name: Dan Burwood

Occupation: Photographer / Some Cities Director / Teacher

From: Swansea/ Aylesbury

Live: Brum / on the canal in a boat

Tell us about Muzikstan?

It’s a movement of music transcending borders and boundries / one of the first cultural events to make good and consistent use of the Old Print Works space. It’s a great, friendly night out.

Q) What’s your involvement in Muzikstan? 

I’m running photography workshops and making Instant-ish portraits

Q) What can people expect from Muzikstan?

A wide range of good vibes, interesting and creative activities, varied grass roots music and great people of all ages.

Q) What made you decide on the lineup/outline of the day?

I have a studio/ project space at the OPW; The Instant-ish photography workshop I run is a great intro into analogue photography, it’s fun and a bit of a spectacle to boot. You can turn around an analogue portrait in ten minutes, using a 1940s camera and 100 year old technology.

Q) Why The Old Print Works?

The Darkroom found a natural home here; there were darkrooms here before for the processes used to make the decals and transfers Butchers Printed Products designed and printed for the trades of the city and beyond. I’ve repurposed some of the kit and one of the original spaces to create a community photography resource specialising in analogue process, one of the few left in the UK.

Q) What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The accents of the people who live here; the diversity and the unexpected discoveries. The cultural heritage: Balsall Heath was an important centre for Surrealism; Steel Pulse and Black Sabbath.. what more could you ask for?

Q) The worst?

The constant – if diminishing – need for certain spokespeople for the city to apologise for it and compare it to other places. All this world city shit. It just is itself alright get the fuck over it!

Q) What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

Dad’s lane allotments / Icknield Port canal loop on a misty November evening / The Lamp Tavern

Q) What one thing would you change about the city?

Add a proper river

Q) Favourite Brummie saying?

Everything anyone says

Q) What is Brum Spirit? What does it mean to you?

It’s the roots, the counterculture, the number 11…

Q) What has happened recently that gave you Brum Spirit?

Photographing The Feast Project’s inaugural awards ceremony in the Council House

Q) Tell us about your creative goals for the next year, what do you have bubbling away?

Big plans for long form photographic commissions, international exchanges and residencies through the Some Cities site, and collaborations with various institutions…

Rebel Spirit, in association with IDFB 2014

What a great time we had, running the fourth edition of Rebel Spirit – our celebration of Birmingham’s underground music scene – in association with International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014.

As part of IDFB‘s Paint the Town Red Series – a series of events throughout the festival which drew attention to the city’s varied social dance movements – we put together a really eclectic lineup – a bunch of artists from all walks of life, who had the pleasure of whipping up PST’s main room into a light hearted frenzy of dance and movement.

Forro in Brum leading the dance

Global roots venue PST has a 15 year history springing from the Jamaican blues dance movement.

Where better for breakdance initiative Open Circles to join forces with Northeastern Brazilian social dance enthusiasts Forró in Brum, Nottingham School of Samba featuring pioneering Afro Brazilian choreographer Irineu Nogueira, and Capoeira Cordão de Ouro Birmingham, for an open floor event where everyone got a chance to try out new moves?

Forro in Brum at Rebel Spirit by Dan Burwood

Brazilian reggae and hip hop star Jota III joined forces with DJ Destruction Turntablist Champion DJ Feva and DJ Silence to host proceedings, with guest appearances from old school reggae vocalists Pablo Rider, Lionart and Juggla. It’s not every day you see roots reggae, hip hop, samba, forró, breakdance and capoeira join together all under one roof!

Some Cities Portraits from Rebel Spirit by Andrew Jackson

Almost 200 people joined us for a welcoming vibe, home cooked Jamaican food and a roof top after party that took us through to dawn. Image makers from Izuna Visuals and Some Cities created gorgeous photos and video of the night – so even if you didn’t make it, you can get a little sense of what went on. There are also a few shots on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

We were thrilled to discover, when the dust had settled, that proceeds from ticket sales had raised £400 to support social dance movements in Birmingham. Any excuse for a boogie ;).

Adeus por agora!

For those of you who haven’t been to or even heard of Espirito Brum until right now, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? This summer, we like to think has been our best yet with even more dates, even more venues, and much more Braziliance than ever before!

With the help and support from all you lovely lot we have gone from being a weekend long festival to a three month long extravaganza ensuring you all got the most from our home grown British artists and our visiting Brazilian friends. We have made ourselves quite at home in Kings Heath so a big thanks to all the residents who welcomed us into their community, showing the spirit of Brum and embracing the spirit of Brazil!

So without further ado let’s take a look back at Espirito Brum 2013:

We kicked off with a celebration of all things Espirito Brum and teamed up with local foodies “Brum Yum Yum” and June 8th brought live music from our veterans Oye Batacuda, North London new-comers Defkon1,  and EB favourite and Birmingham’s own Mendi Singh. We were also lucky enough to host quite the treat for the crowds when Moshka Medicine Men took to the stage, offering their fresh and unique sounds, Rohit Ballal and Ste Scott came together with a Sitar and Bass Guitar fusion and last but certainly not least was Danni’s People, a Birmingham funk band, because it’s always nice to finish on some funk right?

We felt like a part of the community in Kings Heath and to prove it Brazilian artist Ficore and Kings Heath original Hoakser collaborated on the graffiti masterpiece that is the ‘Welcome to Kings Heath’ community inspired mural, taking prime place on the side the high street. Of course, it could not possibly have been complete without the inclusion of the Kings Heath Monkey Man who visited the proceedings the day before his 60th Birthday. We hope those of you who made suggestions to what should be on the wall had your creative visions realised as it has recently been finished – what do you think?

Ficore also kindly started another creative collaboration with our favourite independent clothing boutique People Shop. Ficore painted fabric which was made into a bespoke dress by in-house designer Mr.Christian! Wait till you see the picture of this beautiful dress – luckily it’s for sale so one of you lucky girls can get your hands on it!

This year we have had some of the best international collaborations, we saw the return of Mendhi Sing and Wanderson Lopez, after their successful tour of Brazil with their guitar and tabla concert. The pair graced us yet again at Jazz at The Spotted Dog (which was free entry so no excuses), and they continued to impress us at the Kings Heath Community Cinema Project, where they showcased their fantastic music, joined by Joelle Baker and cinema visuals from Expurgação.

We think everyone enjoyed the first event at Kings Heath Village square so much that we just had to have another one, only this time it happened to coincide with the hottest day of the year! With temperatures scorching we were really feeling the espirito of Brasil! This time we had the privilege to be shown how to Forrό in Brum with the quick stepped demonstrations to get all you Brummies dancing. The live jamming session with Flautins Matuá meant everyone was up on their feet and get involved with the fantastic interactive folk performance.

There were also drumming workshops for all the family, in conjunction with Our Big Gig – the nationwide event to encourage interaction with music. We were also joined by Brummie lads New Killer Shoes who gave us a taste of their ska and reggae inspired acoustic set, while we were of course fed by the food heroes Brum Yum Yum.

All summer we gave you teasers of the fabulously rebellious Don’t Cut off Your Dreadlocks video with Brazilian reggae singer and rapper Jota III featuring Pablo rider who performed live at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath for the launch of the video. The video, which has been played on MTV Brazil and broadcast over FM radio in Sao Paulo, was filmed around Birmingham by 144 Media, and features many of our glorious landmarks, mostly in Digbeth showcasing some of the area’s finest examples of graffiti and street art. If you haven’t seen it go check it out here! You can also download the single here.

After the energy and vivacity of Espirito Brum 2013, we were drawn to a more contemplative end. At All Saints Church, Kings Heath Community Cinema screened ‘Waste Land’ directed by Lucy Walker and co-directed by João Jardim and Karen Harley. The film, that documents the journey of artist Vik Muniz as he travels to his native Brazil to visit the largest rubbish dump in the world, captures the lives of the people who live there and how the power of the human spirit

So, take a deep breath and wipe away those tears as you can always keep in touch with us via Facebook  and Twitter. And don’t forget it all kicks off again when we head to Brazil in Spring 2014! See you next year!

 

 

DONT CUT OFF YOUR DREADLOCKS

This weekend saw us take over The Hare and Hounds pub, in Kings Heath, with our posse of Brazilian and Birmingham heavy weights in the world of Reggae and Hip Hop, and we brought you a night filled with exclusives and hot musical mash ups.

If you couldn’t  make it down, you missed a corker, however there is no need to worry as we will give a round up of the entire night, it won’t quite be the same BUT we will tell you all about an amazing competition we have running!

Ok so first things first, big thanks to all that came along to support Espirito Brum, we had the amazing launch of the “DON’T CUT OFF YOUR DREADLOCKS,” the up coming single from Jota III,  who has been involved with Espirito Brum since 2011 at our first ever event, and every year he brings us exclusive material –  this year was no different!

Jota III hot footed to the UK  from performing with Digitaldubs in Rio to the launch of the music video to the single “DONT CUT OFF YOUR DREADLOCKS,” which was filmed in Birmingham by local film producers 144 Picture, Sound and Music and was a culmination of the international collaboration between the Brazilian artist and widely respected dub producers G-Corp, which also features veteran toaster Pablo Rider.

Jota III is known for sharing the stage with heroes like Ja Rule and Racionais MCs, opened for Steel Pulse and for his performance in the Hare and Hounds pub he brought along big names from Birmingham with support coming from; Pablo Rider, Munchbreak and DJ Switch for a night filled with live reggae, dub and hip hop. Brighton mashup king Cut La Vis also joined the lineup, and brought a little of the South Coast’s underground vibes to the mix.

We are holding a brilliant competition to mark the  launch of Jota’s single “DON’T CUT OFF YOUR DREADLOCKS,”  which is now playing out on FM across Sao Paulo State right now, the video will be aired on MTV Brasil, and the project  also looks set to open doors to the Brazilian live circuit for the great artists Jota has worked with in Birmingham.

So to win tickets to see DJ Maseo (Del La Soul) at the Hare and Hounds August 17th with Jota himself as your date, head to our Twitter and hit RT on the tweet below and help us spread this video around!

Hit RT to win!

Hit RT to win!

 

 

RT competition: DONT CUT OFF YOUR DREADLOCKS Full video! RT to win DJ Maseo (de la soul) 17.08.13 with @Jota3officialhttp://t.co/3hsV39c2ae

— Espirito Brum (@EspiritoBrum) July 26, 2013

OR if your not on Twitter then head over to our Facebook and share the status here!

CALL OUT FOR MUSIC VIDEOS!

Calling Out: Music Video Submissions!

So as you know Espirito Brum is about to embark the second instalment of fun this weekend in Kings Heath, the temperature and entertainment is set to reach an all time high, with many great activities taking place through out the day and night this July 13th!

We are teaming up again with the fabulous foodies Brum Yum Yum for BYY take over on the Village Square in Kings Heath.

This looks yummy right?

Alongside Brum Yum Yum and Hare and Hounds we will be providing music, performances, and dance tutorials all day long – have a look at our event here with Flauntins Matua, Forro In Brum and many more making the day a treat for all the senses 🙂 Did we mention its also free admission?

As for the evening, well we have that covered too, because we are good like that, and Kings Heath Community Project special edition bringing Wanderson Lopez, Mendi Singh, and Joelle Barker playing live accompaniment with their “Intuitive EP Launch” and cinematic visuals from Expurgação – take a gander here.

Which brings us on nicely to the “CALL OUT!” We have some free screen time up for grabs, and we thought what better way than to call out for video submissions, so all the musical talent in the house hold your hands up, because we wanna’ see you, and we would quite like a lot of other people to see you too!

If you want your band, or your favourite bands video to appear at the cinema screening this Saturday then drop us a line to hello@espritobrum.org with links and a 150 blurb about yourself, or the band you want to recommend.

What are you waiting for get in touch and lets share some musical love about 🙂

 

“EARTH WITHOUT ART IS JUST EH”

Earth without art really is just ‘eh’, and we truly believe this at Espirito Brum. That’s why this year, the city’s favourite cross cultural celebration has embraced all things art and has teamed up with a few of Brazil’s finest creators to deliver you some amazing artistic events this summer!

I Love KH

If you haven’t spotted it already, keep your eye out for the spectacular graffiti mural on the side of Mariano’s Cornish Café. The poignant piece is a creation by the wonderful visiting Brazilian artist Ficore and Kings Heath home body Hoakser, who have joined forces to mark the arrival of the cultural exchange in the bohemian suburb. If you want to get a look at this creation head to the Facebook page 🙂

The community inspired work of art explores the merging cultures of Birmingham and Brazil, and we think it’s fab!  The artists have even placed a focus on suggestions from local residents about their favourite things in Kings Heath, including the famous Kings Heath monkey man, who visited the mural the day before his 60th Birthday!

"Monkey Man"

Here at Espirito Brum we’re also really excited to tell you about another creative collaboration in Kings Heath. Graffiti painter Ficore is going to be working together with our favourite independent clothing boutique People Shop, painting fabric to be made into a bespoke dress by in-house designer Mr.Christian!

We were so excited to speak to Allison Saddler from the People Shop about this one of a kind opportunity, who told us: “We are really looking forward to working with Ficore and being a part of Espirito Brum. Shops like ours need to work together and to collaborate with other organisations on interesting projects more often. This keeps the excitement alive.”

Following this, Espirito Brum will be keeping its creativity flowing right through to the very end of the programme, and our final event is set to close the festivities in true artistic style! We have got together with Project U-Neek to organise an art trail around Kings Heath BID. We’re going to be putting prints of the exhibited works online for sale and at a special charity auction held in Loco Lounge August 8th, with all profits will be divided between the exhibiting artists and two amazing charities, find out more here.

Hand in hand, Espirito Brum 2013’s arts events work to inspire a community and showcase emerging artistic talents in a way that it has never been done before. As you can see, Kings Heath is Birmingham’s place to be this summer, and this is not one to be missed!

THIS WEEKEND SAW THE FIRST EVENT OF THE SUMMER…..AND WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

As promised this is our round up from the weekend 🙂

 

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who came and took part in Kings Heath Village Square take over, where we teamed up with street food pioneers Brum Yum Yum and Kings Heath local heroes the Hare and Hounds, who kept the drinks flowing all day.
If you missed our first event then you missed out on a real treat, but never fear we have loads more for you to get involved in!

 

ESPIRITO BRUM A5 Yellow - 240513-01ESPIRITO BRUM A5 Yellow - 240513-02
The day began with the sun high in the sky and the wonderful aroma from the street food market drifting through the air, who by the way we would like to give a massive shout out to those lovely folks for bringing their tasty treats to Kings Heath:

 

There was a great array of delicious food on offer, the Churros were exquisite, the waffles were wonderful, the burgers, ribs, chicken skewers, and deli delight boxes were all mouth-wateringly-good – so many to mention but all we will say is the Espirito Brum team had happy full tummies at the end of the day!
In the Muzikstan tent is where you could find us, busily changing the staging and tinkering with sound levels for most the day. All our performers delivered high energy entertainment all day to the raptures of support from everyone in attendance.

 

There is always such a great vibe in Kings Heath, and this weekend it felt like we had the seal of approval from local residence, and for that we would like to thank everyone that came, danced, clapped, and sang along with our artists, what a lovely bunch you are 🙂

 

So performance-wise, here goes, we had Birmingham renowned Oya Batucuda, who as always whipped up a samba storm, with children of all ages (including the big ones) dancing along to traditional Brazilian sounds.

 

Up next, it was the turn of North London new-comers Defkon1, who took to the stage just after 1pm. Defkon 1 is an upcoming artist, who blends together elements from grime, soul, dubstep, and UK hip hop. He was accompanied by his musicians who hail from Toulouse, Pretoria and London. They create eclectic and contagious performances, if you missed them on Saturday then be sure to check out their Soundcloud as Defkon1 are definitely ones to watch.

 

Next up we had Espirito Brum favourite and Birmingham’s own Mendi Singh. This is Mendi’s third appearance at Espirito Brum and he never fails to capture the attention of any crowd with his classical tabla music. You can catch Mendi performing next at the Kings Heath Community Cinema screening on July 13th, with visuals from Expurgação, and  live accompaniment alongside Wanderson Lopez, and Joelle Barker.
Then came quite the treat for the crowds when Moshka Medicine Men took to the stage, offering their fresh and unique sounds, Rohit Ballal and Ste Scott come together with a Sitar and Bass Guitar fusion. If your a fan of Indian ragas with jazz and funk inspired bass lines, then be sure to check out Soundcloud and support these guys!
Last but not least comes Danni’s People, a Birmingham funk band, because its always nice to finish on some funk right? We think so anyway! With female vocals from Danni Mayer, combined with funky bass and drums brought a soulful sound to the day, check out more from this band on Soundcloud or follow them on twitter.

That’s all for the music side of things, we hope we have covered all the bases and see you at the next event!!

ESPIRITO BRUM IS ALMOST HERE!!

This weekend will see Birmingham meet Brazil once again, as we welcome the return of our favourite (we may be a little biased here) annual get together: Espirito Brum!

Our cross cultural celebration, previously based in Digbeth, is back for the third year with our best set list yet, AND if that wasn’t enough excitement we have moved to a whole new location- Brum’s cultural gem, Kings Heath.

We think the bohemian vibe and beautiful scenery will be the perfect home for our cultural exchange project, which works to inspire communities, whilst promoting culture and heritage, bringing you collaborations from some of the best artists from Brazil, Birmingham and the wider UK.

This year the Espirito Brum programme includes even more dates, spread out over the summer, and promises some spectacular acts and events in the months to come.

All the fun begins this Saturday in Kings Heath village square, where you can dig into some tasty street-eats from the lovely Brumyumyum, with traditional Brazilian music and entertainment from Oyabatucada to kick off one hot summer, even if we do say so ourselves.

To mellow it down in the evening why not head over to Kings Heath community cinema. The cinema will be screening one of its most highly requested films ever – Charlie Chaplin classic ‘The Kid’. If you haven’t seen this before, you really must., and what’s more, the experience will include a live baby grand piano accompaniment from one of Brum’s finest musicians, Mike Hurley, guaranteeing a film experience like nothing before.

Also, be sure to save a space in your diary for Project U-Neek, an art trail which hosts local artists work will take place through out a variety of unusual locations in Kings Heath BID, the map will be coming soon!! Prints from the art trail will be available to buy online and at the charity art auction taking place on Thursday 8th August,  with all profits being donated to two brilliant charities, both working to improve children’s lives, one based in Kings Heath Triple P and the other based in Brazil called Meninadanca.

We hope you enjoy this years Espirito Brum, as long as you enjoy eating good food, meeting great people, discovering new music and the celebration of  art, you really shouldn’t find anything not to like about it!

Keep checking in with us and make sure you follow  us @EspiritoBrum , like us on Facebook where you may even stumble across the chance to win lots of great prizes.

See you this weekend!!!!