About Isabelle Tudor

Hi I’m Isabelle I’m an Economics student based in Sheffield with roots in Leicestershire. The land in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire has nurtured and allowed new musical talent to bloom, harvesting particular success over the past couple of years. I’m fortunate enough to have seen the blossoming of some the area’s musicians, from spotting them perform at small pub venues and following their growing support. I’m now witnessing the fruits of success for bands such as By the Rivers, Leicester and The Natterjacks, Chesterfield, through recognition at publications, radio stations and festivals. As perhaps indicated, I’m a radio enthusiast – for many years I have tuned into certain shows religiously and given one off programmes ‘cinema like’ attention. Not only am I a fan of the distribution of new and local music through introducing shows but of specialist programming. This interest has inspired me to present my own show, Soul Galore and I now schedule the specialist and off playlist shows at Forge Radio – the university station. I’m an advocate of talent Born in Britain and its promotion. I’ll writing about a variety artists local to Sheffield, Leicester and Nottingham, their gigs, theirs tracks and journeys.

Anya Rasaiah

Introducing Anya Rasaiah. Rasaiah is a Marketing and Advertising student at Lancaster University and currently on her year in industry with Samsung Electronics. She manages to find time to create and exhibit unique multimedia works. Not only mixed in media but her pieces manage to combine reality with conceptuality. I caught up with her to discuss early inspirations, lucky breaks and the luxury of time.

When was your first experience of Art? What draws you back to the canvas?

I properly fell in love with street art and graffiti when I was 10. I remember being hooked after reading Philip Ridley’s ‘Scribbleboy’ then, and after some really unique experiences at a young age, art quickly became a huge part of my life. It’s really street art in particular that feeds this love, and despite my current mediums and use of canvas, there’s a lot of reference to tagging and handstyles in my work. I used to be that total nerd, making stencils, stickers and squeezers all the time. In terms of what draws me back to the canvas, its for love and opportunities. Art gave me my first lucky break at Saatchi & Saatchi aged 15 thanks to two Shepard Fairey (Obey) recreations, and so much has unfolded as a result of that. Art literally forces opportunities and doubles up as therapy/an outlet, and since discovering that it’s been a bit of a love affair ever since.

How do you approach your pieces, in particular the layering? Is is planned or do you wait for the inspiration to come in stages?

Right now I have the luxury of time when painting, (often a different story for graphics). The output is always introspective, and so creating a plot for the piece takes time to articulate, let alone execute. But yes, the inspiration definitely comes in stages. My unusual process tends to take some time; I build the layers of mixed media and literally hope to see something within them, a shape or sign, which relates to how I’m feeling and thought process. I then turn said shapes into something, and integrate it into the plot if it’s relevant enough. So mine’s definitely an unconventional method, and incredibly frustrating at times, but every one of my pieces is constructed in this way, and it fits together every time.

Are you experiencing a change in direction? The works on your website are predominately feature faces however your recent Facebook updates show something different. Tell us about the Stepper project.

You’re right, there has been a subtle change in direction. Thanks to the aforementioned luxury of time, my work now has even more layers and themes, often capturing a journey over time. The decision to feature faces depends on the theme, but the piece I’m working on currently is set to. Unnamed at the moment, the piece will depict a muse, someone that consumes thoughts, invades and fuels the mind.. But ‘Stepper’ means an update on a work in progress, a phrase I nabbed from artist Ian Francis. But my work now is less of a project and each canvas is designed to stand alone. One canvas has to say it all, however cryptic the emotion is within that.

Are you working on anything at the moment? And what’s next?

So whilst working full time this year for Samsung and juggling life, I have a piece on the go at the moment (Stepper updates on Facebook), and I’m working on a project for D&AD New Blood. But next steps will hopefully involve some social enterprise work in branding for small businesses and charities over summer. And then it’s back to uni for my final year, with the ambition to go onto to work for an ad agency very soon!

Rasaiah’s works have been exhibited at The Sultran Gallery in Lancaster. Follow Rasaiah’s updates by liking her Facebook page.

By The Rivers

By the Rivers are about to embark on their acoustic tour. It was in their acoustic set up that I first unearthed By the Rivers. I stumbled across them on YouTube, where SB TV had caught them at Alexandra Palace. They performed an acoustic version of ‘Where You Gonna Go’ in an A64 session. I was hooked, a cliché I know but, I hadn’t heard anything like it. By the Rivers contemporary twist on Reggae cannot be ignored.  Members Nile Barrow and Jordan Birtles from Leicester formed the six piece in 2010 and have been friends since early childhood. Their catchy melodies and insightful lyrics echo issues that affect their youthful generation. ‘… when they’re coming after you? They don’t need evidence, they don’t need proof’, the social comment made parallels that of a favourite band of mine, super group Mongrel.  I couldn’t leave it there.

Immediately I wanted more, however my searches were running dry, the top result Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon.  With limited material available online – I needed to see this band live. When I finally got hold of a ticket I was rattled with excitement to what ‘new to me’ material I may hear.  It was a long wait but I got by on the One Word Single featured on Spotify which contained B-Side Take Control.

My first By the Rivers gig could not have been in a more perfect setting at a more perfect time. I’d just finished my A Levels, two years of slog, hard slog, over. I was lost I didn’t know what to do with time. DBE were hosting an End of Exam party across two venues. One of these being my favourite bar in the Midlands, The Orange Tree, it was here I completely shook off my two years of schooling. I’d never seen the Orange Tree more livelily – it was full to capacity. The energy and enthusiasm that By the Rivers bought to the town was like nothing before. The six piece filled the stage, the eye contact made between themselves and the audience was evidence that they couldn’t be enjoying their performance more.

Over the past two years Boney M’s hit has now been pushed to the bottom of the search page. YouTube is a now flood of By the Rivers singles, sessions and festival highlights and on Spotify you can stream their self-titled debut album. The band achieving success in reaching a top spot in BBC East Midlands Introducing’s ‘Countdown of Most Played Artists 2013’ and through recognition from reggae pioneer David Rodigan.

Their UK acoustic tour begins in Nottingham this February going on to Bristol, Hay on Wye, Loughborough, Norwich and Leicester. You can also catch them in Sheffield and Birmingham supporting The Selecter on their 35 year anniversary tour. Can’t wait till then? You can download the acoustic track ‘Board that Train’  for free now.