Now is not the time for silence.
The music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall are turning the volume up on three Black Birmingham artists, who have been invited to compose musical responses on the theme of racism, individual and systemic.
Fast-emerging British singer, songwriter and pianist Reuben James’ virtuoso jazz techniques and soulful, evocative voice have led him to be widely regarded as one the most exciting and creatively assured artists to have emerged in recent years. Although perhaps best known for his ongoing collaborations with Sam Smith, which have included co-writing songs for Smith’s 4 million-selling album The Thrill of It All, James has written for and performed with an array of international star acts including the likes of Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Brandi Carlile, Herbie Hancock, Elton John, John Legend, Tori Kelly, Little Mix, Disclosure and Liam Payne amongst many others. Reuben signed with Warner/Chappell in 2018 and has since been working on his own material, exploring the boundaries between jazz and pop.
Romarna Campbell is a drummer, composer and producer from Birmingham. From a very young age, music has been at the heart of everything that Romarna does, with a particularly large Hip-Hop and Jazz influence. Music has afforded her the opportunity to travel around the world, including studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She has also had the great honour and joy to perform around Europe and the US with many people, including Courtney Pine, Billy Childs, Soweto Kinch and more, as well as lead her own bands and projects with many of her peers and friends. Currently, Romarna is working on here debut EP.
BBC Young Jazz Musician winner Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous Birmingham community arts programmes. He first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, however, it was Holyhead School’s Jazz band with Ray Prince and Sid Peacock that lead him to pursue music, joining the THSH Jazzlines Ensemble, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra and many more. Handsworth-born Xhosa continually pushes his playing while studying with teachers and mentors including Mike Williams, Jim Bashford and David Austin-Grey; Performing regularly around Birmingham; Writing for commissions by the Ideas of Noise Festival and Bobbie-Jane Gardener’s ‘For-Wards’ others.
Central to Town Hall Symphony Hall's Jazzlines programme is its work supporting the creative and professional development of artists throughout their career. Commissioning new work, such as this, is one way of doing so.
Town Hall Symphony Hall's Jazzlines is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner and supported by Arts Council England under the National Portfolio Organisation scheme.
PRS Foundation supports organisations from across the UK which have been selected as PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners. These organisations are working at the frontline of talent development in the UK, supporting a broad range of individual music creators across different music genres and UK regions. This reflects PRS Foundation’s commitment to supporting composers and songwriters of all backgrounds either through direct investment or by helping organisations which nurture music creators and promote their music to audiences at home and overseas.
The Arts Council (ACE) is the national development agency for creativity and culture. By 2030 ACE want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. Between 2018 and 2022, ACE will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help deliver this vision.
Jazzlines is also supported by other generous individuals and organisations.