‘ten’ – Various Artists: Album Launch on April 4th
Early in 2001, the release of MAK’s (Manchester Aid to Kosovo) compilation, ‘Cohesion’, gave many music fans outside of this rainy Northern city the first chance to hear the then little known group Elbow. The band donated the sublime ‘Scattered Black and Whites’, whilst other emerging Manchester legends, Doves gave the album, ‘Valley’. In the intervening years both bands plus a host of other notable names included on that first album at the start of their careers (I Am Kloot, Badly Drawn Boy, Mr Scruff for example) have supported Manchester Aid in helping recovery from ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.
10 years on and follow up compilation’10’ sees the now familiar voices of Guy Garvey and Jimi Goodwin surrounded by a new group of emerging Manchester artists. This 18 track album, curated by The Travelling Band’s Jo Dudderidge, demonstrates how the poetic grandeur from the likes of Garvey, Goodwin et al has influenced a u-turn in the city’s musical output. Where the grey, overcoat of ‘dance-miserabilism has been cast aside, not to reveal a post-Oasis hangover, but in fact a deep, warmly humorous and slyly experimental slew of artists intent on reclaiming the Manchester music scene for themselves. From the skittering, hear stopping afro-folk of Josephine Oniyama’s ‘Fun In The Dark’ through to the gorgeous slow-core balladry of The Travelling Band’s, ‘Hindsight’, ‘10’ is littered with countless gems, each a gateway to understanding how Manchester found a new voice for itself in the late 00’s.
Manchester Music has funded much of the work of MAK (approximately a third of it’s total income) enabling it to create the 22 acre Manchester Peace Park in NE Kosovo at the request of children medically evacuated to Manchester. One of these children, Jehona Bogujevci, who survived the massacre of her family, went on to study graphics in Manchester. The artwork for ‘10’ is Jehona’s first commission since her graduation.
MAK is involved in art, education, ecology, sport and human rights as well as the Peace Park and music projects. The new republic of Kosovo remains the poorest country in Europe and its young people lack freedom to travel. So in 2009 The Travelling Band became one of the first British bands to perform in Kosovo. Playing at the Peace Park, in theatre’s, cafes, on the streets and even on horse drawn wagons, with the aim to inspire Kosovo musicians around them to get out, go public and make it happen.
It’s hoped the album will both facilitate more projects and encourage creativity. MAK has proved that linking recovery and creativity creates strength, opportunity and of course, great music.
Album launches are happening in April, with the likes of Badly Drawn Boy, Jim Noir, Liam Frost and, of course, The Travelling Band confirmed to perform, alongside some special guests. These are:
April 4th 2011 – The Deaf Institute, Manchester
April 7th 2011 – Union Chapel, London