I'm Georgia, and I'm currently studying English at the University of York. I'm also the Director of a theatre company that I set up from scratch and enjoyed a successful run this year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a play I wrote myself. When I'm not studying or directing, I'm often looking for musicians or film makers for various fund raising events I hold through the year on and off campus. That or sitting under a blanket with a cup of tea enjoying the luxury of budget heating in the Yorkshire Winter (if you're not familiar with it, trust me, it's chilly). I have a passion for all things creative and love getting stuck into a new project, which is why I'm thoroughly looking forward to getting involved with the Born in Britain campaign.
“ALERT! ALERT! ACTUALLY DECENT BAND PLAYING IN YORK ALERT!”
Now, upon reading the above on my Facebook news feed, my naturally inquisitive mind wants instantly to investigate. And, the (slightly over-egged) announcement is quite right, these guys are a decent band!
British Sea Power are a six-piece band variously originating from Cumbria, Yorkshire, Ealing and Shropshire who are currently based in East Sussex and on the Isle of Skye. Their multi-instrumental style (guitars, bass, keys, drums, a viola and a cornet) gives them a wonderfully rich and unique sound that seems to have thrilled their fans and reviewers alike. The Sunday Times have called them “the best band in Britain” while a Rolling Stone review dismissed the entire line up of the Reading Festival as “puerile drivel” and adding “we’re off to see British Sea Power”.
Far from starting out, British Sea Power are ten years more mature than their debut album (released 2003), but their new album Machineries of Joy sees them really hitting their stride. Their hard work and perseverance really shows: a recent poll of BBC 6 Music listeners on the most important tracks of the stations lifetime but British Sea Power’s track, ‘Remember Me’ at number 9. Putting this into context, that’s just above Radiohead and just behind Johnny Cash.
If you want to check out this band properly, visit their website – http://www.britishseapower.co.uk/ – where you can find links to all of their social media, videos of their performances as well as tour dates, so you can appreciate them live.
Known to everyone as Yoshi, Yoshika Colwell is an undergraduate at the University of York and everyone who knows her know about her voice.
Singing live gigs across the city at various cabaret and jazz nights, Yoshi wows audiences wherever she sings with her beautiful smooth tone and alternative covers. She has a range of covers on Youtube under the title ‘Live in the Living Room’ where she re-discovers well known songs in a simple, yet beautiful style. Listening to them, you wouldn’t know she hadn’t written them herself. My personal favourite is her cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Soul Rebel’ – believe me, it’s nothing like you’ve heard that song before!
As well as her beautiful covers, Yoshi also provides the vocal track for the radio drama Trimble, produced by URY (University Radio York) and written by Edward Greenwood. The show is currently nominated in the Best Online or Non-Broadcast Audio drama catagory in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2014.
I thoroughly recommend listening to Yoshi and checking out her music. Not just because she’s a lovely person, but also because she’s an incredibly talented musician. Her soundcloud has a lot of good examples of her music – https://soundcloud.com/yoshikacolwell – but check out that aforementioned Bob Marley cover – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqzxYuV_Pwc
Hailing from Bristol, this singer-songwriter has just hit number 5 on the BBCs ‘Sound of 2014’ list. And he’s only 19.
According to his page on the BBC, he was first spotted in 2012 by BBC Bristol who were “championing his bluesy, acoustic ballads”. Since then, he’s had a slot on the Glastonbury Introducing Stage as well as recording sessions at Maida Vale (the BBC recording studios in London for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term).
Zane Lowe recently described him as “One of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around”, and I would have to agree. George’s vocals are far beyond his years, and his bluesy style is reminiscent of the greats like Bob Dylan and his hero Woody Guthrie. He fits very nicely into the emerging style in the industry, creating a beautiful vintage sound and merging it beautifully with modern accoustic tracks.
In spite of his recognition from London, George stays true to his roots, playing a lot of gigs in Bristol and sticking around his hometown. According to him, the town is exciting and “things are happening”.
To hear more of George’s songs or to see where you can see him live, visit his website: www.georgeezra.com
I found Ailene Gray on the internet. She appears to be an undergraduate student, just like me. But unlike me, she can draw some very pretty pictures.
There is a site online which I’d never heard of called the ‘just us’ collective. It showcases student illustrators and artists and gives them the chance to appear in exhibitions and publications in the coming year. Hundreds of people submit their work and you can vote online for your favourites. The top fifty get accepted into the collective. This voting page is where I discovered Ailene Gray.
On the site, the artists are given the opportunity to describe themselves alongside examples of their work. Ailene’s says:
“Escaped from Bedford to somewhere with more sea and less Bedford to study Illustration. If ink was a person, me and ink would be in love. The first inspiration I can remember was seeing the concept art for ‘The Ocarina of Time’ instruction manual when I was 6. I’m a mother to two rats, I’m obsessive and my insides are made out of bread.”
I liked her description.
As well as the evident quirkiness of character which this artist displays both in her work and her words, I think Ailene’s illustrations are marvellous. The three pieces shown offer a fantastic range – one shows intense intricacy where another appears haphazard and amusing. In spite of this, they all exude a style that shows true artistry – you can tell they all came from the same artist. Her whole page exudes personality – her succinct use of language only supports the fantastic artwork she submits to be judged.
Adam French is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from the North-West of England. His life as a solo-artist has been relatively short, yet he has already accomplished a lot. He has been featured as a top story on the National BBC ‘introducing’ page, as well as recently completing a tour of Southern Africa.
He’s received wonderful reviews for his music both live and recorded and has now produced a music video (featured) for his new single ‘Shiver’, starring Hollyoaks actress Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove and directed by Dean Straffron.
Adam spins himself as a new, innovative musician and has a genuine love for what he does. He is described by reporters as being incredibly hard-working and seems dedicated to his career. His style has all the workings of indie magic, and his emotive lyrics are thought provoking and well thought out. It’s evident that this is a musician who has worked hard at perfecting his craft and it seems the time has come for that hard work to start paying off.
Adam has also mastered the art of the ‘hook’ – his songs are catchy, almost addictive – and he achieves this with ease (and without the mass irritation caused by most ‘catchy’ tunes). After listening to his single a couple of times you can’t help but find yourself singing a few of his lyrics under your breath throughout the rest of the day. And what’s more, you don’t hate him for it!
If you want to find out more about Adam and his work or listen to more of his music there are several places you can go. Check out his Twitter @AdamFrenchUK or like him on Facebook – www.facebook.com/adamfrenchmusicuk
Alternatively, just visit his website www.adamfrench.co.uk and there are links to all of his social media, bios and much much more!
Diogo Guerner caused rather a stir recently among the press at my university after winning the prize for best fiction in the Yorkshire Region for his film Snapshot at the 2013 Royal Television Society Awards.
Diogo is now a third year student on the BSc in Film and Television Production course at the University of York and directed his winning film in his second year. The judges said Snapshot stood out because of the way “a simple story was so effectively told with assurance and real skill, with the quality of the script matched by the quality of the camera work”. They also commented on the great use of special effects and overall high standard of direction.
When asked, Diogo said: “It was a great honour to receive the prize for best fiction film at the RTS Yorkshire Television awards. I’m really proud and excited to have Snapshot representing Yorkshire but also the University of York at the RTS national competition.”
He also wanted to thank everyone involved in the project and thanked his department and fellow students for their hard work and commitment to the cause.
The head of the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at York, Andrew Higson, commented on his pride in his student. The aims of the course are to create world-class film-makers of every kind, and he commented that he was happy his students were rising to the challenge.
A talking squirrel isn’t what everyone looks for in a friend, but ‘Gary the Party Squirrel’ and his African adventure is what Luke Malkin is currently shooting in Tanzania. Luke; a film-maker originally from Stoke is currently living in Tanzania and working as a teacher. Some people just have all the fun!
The film he’s currently working on is a spin-off from a show that was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 called “Squirrel Party”. It was an extremely successful show parodying Saturday morning children’s television, and Luke’s puppet, Gary, has since taken on a life of his own. Luke is the fictional children’s entertainer and Gary is, well, Gary, and they are struggling through the jungle in a futile search for the non-existent ‘Dark Green Squirrel’. Sounds a riot!
Luke did an MA in Digital Film Production at the University of York, and his final project, “Shed” (see production still far left) was a stunning and very moving piece of cinema. The 30 minute film was an adaptation of a play by his friend Tom Crowley, and followed the lives of a group of friends who had grown up visiting a shed in the woods in a small dead-end town. It was about growing up, getting out and letting go, and was a fantastic production. The whole film was shot inside a wooden shack they built within one of the York production studios and the logistics of the build were incredible.
Since that project, Luke has worked in Spain, making virtual learning films with the Virtual School as well as advertising films for a large independent Seville hotel. His portfolio is building and is set to be a big name in the film industry in a few years time.
If you want to check out more of Luke’s work, including his digital show reels, visit his website: lukemalkin.wordpress.com. There’s links to a lot of his films on youtube as well as an up-to-date blog of what he’s up to at the moment.
I am a fan of Tim Minchin, and as such, I follow him on Twitter. So, naturally when I read the tweet, “Tim Minchin: Gig Tip: Saw @ManosDaughter live the other night. Huge fan. Unique sound, brilliant lyrics, beautiful vocalist. Next gig Dec 6th @Cargo_LDN.”, I decided to check them out.
Upon doing so, I was amazed that this band hadn’t crossed my path before. They are an extremely talented trio, producing a wonderful collection of alternative electronic music, most of which cannot be described as anything less than hauntingly beautiful.
Hailing from London, the group consists of Sarah Carter (Vocals), Matthias Garrick (Synths, programming) and Dan See (Drums). They have been described as a mixture of Little Dragon, Florence and The Machine, with hints of Portishead. When seen live, (by audiences other than Tim Minchin) they have been described as “an explosive three piece, with their almost anthemic choruses and thought provoking lyrics”. They really do provide a really interesting listen, and go particularly well with essay-writing or coursework (something of a preoccupation of mine at the moment!).
Their influences range from The Invisible, Foals, Everything Everything to Bon Iver and Moloko. Mano’s Daughter make songs and song-writing the heart of their sound. The story and production values both play an equal part in this band’s finished product.
Check them out at http://www.manosdaughter.co.uk/ or just search for them on Youtube. Their own written stuff is incredible, but also I can thoroughly recommend their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Towers’ which is just stunning.
Originally from Iceland and now living in London, Odinn is a graduate of the University of York whom I had the pleasure of meeting in my first year. Evidently a very talented multi-instrumental musician, just listening to him play is a wonderful experience, but it is his composition that sets him apart from the norm.
During his time as a student, Odinn began writing and producing scores for several of the theatre shows and films he became involved in during his spare time and his Masters degree in Digital Film Production. This has only spiralled, with his music now featuring in multiple shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The King’s Head Theatre (London), The Last Refuge Theatre (London) and many more.
Odinn’s acoustic and ethereal style is beautifully unique; his work has that invaluable quality of the greats like Zimmer and Williams – you know when you’re listening to Odinn Hilmarsson. And when you do listen to his music, you get that other-worldly prickling feeling reserved for finding something truly special. That and the chills usually caused by musical genius.
You can find his newest song Tomasina on his Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/gangleri – as well as teasers from his current projects and other experimental work.
Alternatively, you can find more of Odinn’s finished work at http://odinnhilmarsson.bandcamp.com/, or follow him on Twitter @odinnthehole. I can’t recommend highly enough giving this talented emerging artist a listen – you may just get the chance to boast, “I heard it before he was a household name”.