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Bass Festival Gets to the Heart of Music and Heritage

Subscribe to RSS RSSWednesday, 21st April, 2010

BASS Festival (British Arts and Street Sounds), the UK’s only month-long celebration of Black music and art, returns to Birmingham in June with a citywide feast of urban music and culture.

Taking place for the fifth consecutive year, the month-long festival will see a range of music and arts events in venues across the city. This year the theme is DNA, looking at both personal DNA and the heritage of music. Organised by Punch Records, this year’s programme of events and performances is set to be bigger and better than ever before.

BASS Festival 2010 opens with the controversial ‘Protest: Fight the Power: Twenty Years of the Political Poster’, a startling exhibition of propaganda and protest masterpieces by graphic designers from around the world. Having toured Africa and Asia, this is the exhibition’s first time in the UK following its ban, and it will be open for the duration of the festival at the newly refurbished Devonshire House in Digbeth.

BASS Festival joins the opening season of the brand new ‘mac’ at Cannon Hill Park for two events, the first of which will feature Miami BBoy Rudi Goblen, and Birmingham’s award-winning hip hop collective Smash Bro’z, who have recently been invited to perform at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas. The double-bill of dance will examine the DNA theme through movement, from freezes to footwork, and trips to flips. The second event, Beyond the Ballroom, will reveal a remarkable piece of dance history looking at the rise of Jazz Funk and development of Acid Jazz. The event will feature film, dance and music, including a special screening of Dick Jewell’s film ‘The Jazz Room’ and a Q&A with acid jazz legend Snowboy. He will also be accompanying jazz dancers on the turntables, and signing copies of his acclaimed new book ‘From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: The History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene’.

Another exciting double-bill taking place as part of BASS will be Birmingham-based Kokumo’s ‘Genesis 9:25’ and songwriter Khadijatou’s ‘Sex, Lies and History’, both addressing DNA and heritage. Influenced by biblical myths, Kokumo will interweave music, dance, poetry and photography, alongside Khadijatou Doyneh, who will be delving into the African-Caribbean tradition of story telling and song writing to perform a humorous and savvy story with her band Slo’burn.

Other highlights of BASS Festival 2010 include Desert Boy, an acappella musical telling the story of music through the ages; from Mali to hip hop, and slave songs to rap. A rare visit from Jah Shaka’s notorious reggae soundsystem will bring dub-plates, thunderous bass and the trademark single deck to the city. Still defining conscious reggae and dub, this event is set to be the roots event of the summer. At the heart of this year’s festival will be Birmingham’s premier club night Funky Underground, whose organisers, Jezta and Felix, will be hosting ‘DNA: The Rave’, a journey to the centre of the funky sound with heavyweight support from DJ Pioneer.

For more information on BASS Festival and line-up announcements, visit www.bassfestival.co.uk.