We have recruited a team of musicians who are passionate about music making, currently perform and make music in at least one musical genre and have experience of working with young people. We have assembled a diverse team – instrumentally, musically and culturally – who have experience of, or are keen to work as part of an eclectic musical group. They all bring something culturally exciting to the ensemble of professionals to in turn inspire, nurture and support young people in their own music making individually and as part of ensembles.
Vocals / community engagement
Zeddie has developed her own unique style, integrating music and spoken word within her performance. Her band Transits have performed at Birmingham Pride, and at Birmingham Hippodrome. Her ethos is‘creationismthrough escapism’ which essentially uses art as a mean of both a therapeutic and cathartic release. Having worked with Beatfreeks she has been able to both execute this Ethos through facilitation and in her personal practice. She has performed with Fourth Cycle Theatre Company who have performed at the Birmingham Rep and the RSC’s Other Place Theatre. She has been a part of The Rep Actors Foundry and is working closely with Alexander Zeldin and TAWALA studio firsts, on her solo play which explores sexuality and religion through music and theatre.
Brass / Ensembles
Whilst performing as a jazz musician, Aaron became involved with traditional music at Birmingham Conservatoire as a member of the contemporary folk group The Old Dance School playing trumpet with electronic effects. Now known as The Fair Rainthey have become a nationally acclaimed touring and recording ensemble, releasing 4 albums under the Transition label. From 2011-2013 Aaron lived and studied in Göteborg, Sweden, studying with such musicians as Arve Henriksen (Supersilent,Trio Medieval), Anders Jormin (DonCherry, Bobo Stenson) and Jonas Simonson (Groupa). He has performed and appeared with, FOOD (IainBallamy & Thomas Strōnen), The Neil Yates & Mike McGoldrick Undivided big band, composer and ‘conductionist’ Sid Peacock’s SURGE featuring Django Bates, Beats & Pieces Big Band, Waste Paper Opera Company and balkan-folk festival favourites The Destroyers.
Woodwinds / Ensembles
Benjamin Hill is a freelance woodwind specialist based in the West Midlands who also specialises in performance and education. He performed on Fairport Conventions album 'Mythsand Heroes' and is one of the founding members of world-rock fusion group 'PunchThe Sky' who have performed at the Isle of Wight festival, Shambala festival, Blissfields and many more. Benjamin is also involved with the Jagermeister Brass band, Electric Swing Circus and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire LEAP ensemble.
Punch The Sky: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP2VpkIqsOo
Solo work: - https://benjaminhillsaxophone.bandcamp.com/releases
Spoken word / music production
AJ, aka Decipher, aka Chakraman, is a spoken word, rap and beats artist. He teaches music at Aston Manor Academy in Birmingham and delivers music projects for Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Punch and Positive Youth Foundation. As a performer he is well known on the circuit with his highlights including the Radio 1Xtra Live concert at the Genting Arena(NEC). In fact listeners of Radio 1Xtra will have heard his voice on some of the jingles/drops.
Spoken Word / Percussion
Joe Cook a.k.a Cookie is a musician, spoken word artist, workshop facilitator and event organiser from Birmingham. Joe’s main projects consist of reggae punk outfit Lobster and a folk band called Ire-Ish. Originally starting out as a lyricist for bands he was drumming for, he then moved into spoken word poetry. Joe facilitates poetry, rap, song writing, music and drumming workshops working in various colleges, schools, university, youth & community centre and pupil referral units as well as teaching drums weekly at a local youth centre. Joe has worked as Youth Engagement Officer for City of Colours, delivered workshops for organisations such as Beatfreeks, Birmingham Royal Conservatoire, THSH, Birmingham University, GAP Arts and Round Midnight.
David Austin Grey is a pianist, composer and educator. Having studied music at The University of Birmingham and Birmingham Conservatoire (studying with such musicians as Hans Koller, Liam Noble & Mike Williams), David is currently working with his own bands [Hansu-Tori, Neon Villages, One Many People, Little Church] and freelancing throughout the UK. Over the last few years David has worked with a number of well respected musicians including Soweto Kinch, Michael League, Black Voices, Martin Speake, Stuart McCallum, Bill Laurence, Robert‘Sput’Searight, Percy Pursglove, Eliza Shaddad, Chris Mapp, Lluis Mather, Yazz Ahmed, Adam Jackson, Nick Rundle, Gemma Weekes, Rachael Cohen, Michael Fletcher, Chima Anya, Musa Okwonga and New York based artists ‘iLLspokinn’ and Y? (aka.‘WhyG?’).
SoundLab Music Coordinator Percussion / Ensembles
George is Learning and Participation Assistant at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Events Manager(ComposerAcademy) at Cheltenham Music Festival and a freelance Animateur/Workshop leader & deviser. He also works with the Conservatoire’s Young Composers Project and is a founding member of the Conservatoire’s flagship Learning and Participation Ensemble. As a percussionist he has toured internationally with a variety of ensembles and played with some of the UK’s leading and most inspiring groups including: Birmingham Opera Company, Royal Shakespeare Company and Joe Broughton’s Folk Ensemble. He has appeared on recordings for UNICEF, the Alzheimer’s Society and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 2, 3 and BBC West Midlands.
Strings / Composition / Installation art
Sarah Farmer is a Birmingham based artist and musician mostly working with sound and violins. She is particularly interested in exploring science and technology through making stuff in a DIY fashion, using sound, found materials, wood and strings and the odd bit of electronics. As a sound artist she has taken part in residencies and exhibitions nationally and is a director of artist led studio group The Lombard Method. As a violinist and violist she has a particular interest in contemporary music and has performed new music extensively including for the RSC, Radio 3 and the BBC Proms. Much of Sarah's playing is outside the Classical repertoire and she can be found performing with the Bonfire Radicals, Alternative Dubstep Orchestra and Surge Ensemble as well as being active in the free improv scene.
sarahmfarmer.co.uk, and sarahmfarmerviolin.co.uk
Steel Pans / Piano
David is a proud born & bred Coventrian, whose parents migrated from Jamaica. As a teenager he was a founding member of the Phase One Steel Orchestra and his first job was teaching Steel Pans for the then Coventry School of Music. He is a multi instrumentalist known in Coventry for his multi roles within music: he has been a full time music teacher at Foxford School for over 25 years; has had many years experience as a DJ on the Reggae and R&B circuit; often seen leading the live music elements of Imagineer events; compare for many events including the Leamington Peace Festival and has recently started working for BBC Coventry & Warwickshire presenting two evening shows.