A Change is Gonna Come

Music for Human Rights concert planned for Birmingham Town Hall.

A Change IS Gonna Come takes its title from the classic Sam Cooke song of the same name, and sees four strong artists – , who are all at the top of their game – explore issues around inequality, from the birth of the Civil Rights Movement to today’s challenges

Four of the most gifted soul, jazz and hip hop artists explore the power of protest songs in this not to be missed collaboration.

Leading an incredible sextet are supremely talented queens of their trade: the soulful Carleen Anderson, jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia and Mercury Prize-Winning rapper Speech Debelle. On stage together for the first time, they will perform unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today.

Alongside such classics as A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke) and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gill-Scott Heron) this special concert also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh, highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights.

“Life translated in art throughout the ages, in Greek Mythology, Shakespeare and various expressionistic forms have always addressed the issues of the inequities in social and political power,” says Carleen Anderson. “Whilst contemporary creatives who speak out against injustice are sometimes influenced by a commercially beneficial objective, in grateful contrast are those artists who, as ever, are compelled by a universal incentive to be a reminder of the equal opportunities yet to be addressed and achieved.”

Born in Texas, Mercury-nominated Carleen was reared on the sounds of the Pentecostal Gospel church where her Grandfather was pastor, and whose family was friends with Martin Luther King.She is known for her role as featured vocalist with The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Dr. John, Ramsey Lewis, Nigel Kennedy, Paul Weller and more. Her ambitious Cage Street Memorial project traces 100 years of family life and national politics in a critically acclaimed album, book and live ‘tribal opera’, recently performed at London’s Barbican to high praise.

Since her emergence on the British jazz scene in the mid-90s, pianist Nikki Yeoh has proved to be an improviser, composer and all-round adventurer who has continually sought to broaden her musical horizons. She has led her own bands in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, performed with DJ Pogo, Neneh Cherry and The Roots and composed works for John Surman and Joanna MacGregor. Nikki received The Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year Award 2017 for her long awaited solo album Solo Gemini.

Speech Debelle is a rapper and musician from South London, probably best known for winning the Mercury Music Prize for her debut album, Speech Therapy (2009), most of which was co-produced by Big Dada label mate Wayne Lotek. In 2012 she released her second album, Freedom of Speech, this time with production from Kwes (Warp). She has also been politically and socially active with a number of charities and movements, and hosted the BBC documentary Hidden Homeless.

London-based saxophonist and composer, Nubya Garcia, is one of the leading forces behind the resurgence of jazz-influenced sounds in the UK. Nubya has recently played Worldwide Festival, Ronnie Scott’s, Brazil’s Urubu Sessions with Jazz re:freshed and British Underground, and began 2018 at Winter Jazz Fest. Last year she was awarded the Steve Reid Foundation Award and released her debut recording with Jazz re:freshed. Nubya is also involved with bands Maisha, Nérija, Theon Cross Trio, Joe Armon Jones’ and Maxwell Owins’ Idiom amongst other projects.

The band also features the incredible talents of bassist Renell Shaw who has collaborated, recorded and toured alongside artists such as Rudimental, Skepta, Nitin Sawhney, plus drummer Rod Youngs who has played with Gil Scott Heron, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine, Sia, Jocelyn Brown, and Jazz Jamaica All Stars, amongst others.

A Change IS Gonna Come is at Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday 29th May. For more information and tickets see: www.thsh.co.uk