Q & A With Tom Peel

 

You may remember the very talented Tom Peel, who performed as part of Muzikstan Midsummer Festival, June 28th at The Old Print Works. Tom is what we would call an honorary Brummie,  he may not have the accent but he has chosen to perform his folk songs in Birmingham for the past 9 years, so we thought he would be a great person to have a little chat with all about #BrumSpirit.

Muzikstan 8

Name: Tom Peel

Occupation: Musician & Founder of northsidestudio

From: I grew up in Kingsclere, near Newbury in Berkshire

Live: Great Barr

 

Tell us about your job? 

I write and perform quirky abstract folk songs, mostly for guitar but also for archaic forms of analogue equipment including Reel-to-reel tape, VHS, and Cassette, it is also not uncommon for me to wear these machines during a performance.

As well as this I run northsidestudio which puts artists though a crowd funding process in order to fund a professional recording project.

How and why did you get into doing what you do?

I started writing and playing songs in my early teens, inspired by the words of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan – it was all about what they were saying – Bob can make 10mins of the same 3 or 4 chords into such phenomenal song just because of the words.

The vintage audio fascination was inspired by my University degree in Music Technology – I loved learning about the explosion of creativity that came about from the discovering sounds could be reproduced, manipulated, looped distorted etc. Its mind blowing that we’ve only been able to do this in the past 150 odd years. If you went back in time and recorded Shakespeare, playing it back to him would probably melt his brain, right after he’d said “naaa I don’t sound like that to I? Ugh I hate the sound of my own voice” *brain melt*

What is your professional highlight to date?

northsidestudio successfully crowd funded Samuel J Lawrence’s EP project, this was a great feeling to make another young artists aspirations of recording their first EP a reality and facilitate that has been amazing. Check out his Facebook page.

What do you have bubbling away creatively this year?

The Tom Peel Subscription Club has been brewing for the last few months, this is an exclusive song subscription service where members enjoy the next 24 songs I write as they are written and recorded. We’re currently on song 8 of 24 members also receive a t-shirt, membership card, the last Tom Peel album, personalised type written letters, etc. You can even go platinum and have a song written for you or whoever/whatever you like.

Also next year I will have been in Birmingham for 10 years so i’m currently recording a 10 year best of Tom Peel CD to be released around next autumn.

What is the best part about working in Birmingham?

The love! Recently I’ve felt everyone getting involved and joining in for the love of it, there is so much more awareness for independent shops and cafes etc. Inclusivity is my all-time favourite thing and I feel that in Birmingham especially this year at the Luna Festival and The Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival.

The worst?

The recent reports of over burdened social workers dealing with kids is appalling, hopefully the recent media coverage will have provided the necessary kick in the preverbal to sort it out. Saying that there are other areas of social care that are amazing Autism West Midlands for one are a bunch of genius’

What is your favourite place in Birmingham?

My church in Handsworth! We meet at Hamstead Hall school on Craythorne avenue 11.30 every sunday. Its full of honest and genuine people, we are an autonomous church so there is no vicar or pastor, we just all chip in which makes it a wonderful place to learn and grow spiritually from each other. Is a worldwide church community that was established in Birmingham in the mid to late 1800’s.

More commercially – Peel & Stone, not just because of the name, but Carl Finn who runs it is an inspiring entrepreneur, putting people and good good food at the centre of everything he does, make sure you check out their blog too.

Culturally the IKON gallery – they’re on the button when it comes to contemporary art always provoking thought and discussions.

What makes you proud about living in Birmingham?

Its current sense of growth and adventure, rising up out of the concrete is a very real and flourishing creative industry with support from promoters and the public.

What one thing would you change about the city? 

Bring in a Birmingham version of the Oyster card! That would be so good for getting about.

What one thing you would champion?

I would champion the recording and production of talented artists with out the budget to record professionally through crowd funding programs at northsidestudio!

Where do you take your friends when they visit you in Birmingham? 

I’d start in Digbeth (free parking of course) then amble along the canals, to Brindley place and pop into the IKON gallery – its amazing I love that place! Then after a mooch about town, whisky tasting in the Whiskey Shop in the Western Arcade on a friday 4-6 – its only £12 for the year and you get to have free tastings and 10% off everything in the shop! Maybe some street food back in Digbeth. Then to Kings Heath for some music at the Hare and Hounds, or the Vic in town.

How do you see the city 20 years from now? 

In 2034…I will be 47…golly…its not my habit to look that far into the future, I put my faith in God for tomorrow and the days, months and years to come that we will all still live in safety with the freedoms we enjoy now to be who we are, also in the furthering of equality, unbiased education and justice for the neglected and oppressed. That there will be no room for corruption or partiality in our councils, institutions and businesses. That ultimately this city will be granted wisdom and understanding to allow those things to flourish and be established.

If you want to catch more of Tom, you can find him playing at the Hare and Hounds supporting Kieran Leonard this Wednesday (July 16th) –  find out more here. Also we highly recommend a visit to the subscription club  – got #BrumSpirit written all over that!

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!

 

 

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 🙂

 

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!!!!