LINK 2016 PROJECT – NEETs SHOWCASE
Canterbury College’s Canterbury Youth Music Project, in partnership with Canterbury Festival and Ultimate Artists, funded by the Youth Music Network culminated in a showcase on Thursday 4 August, in which a group of 16-23 year olds performed an eclectic mix of covers and original material from a wide range of genres, putting the skills they have gained throughout the project to the test. Alongside the showcase, the group also worked towards their Arts Award Bronze qualification.
Canterbury Festival’s LINK initiative aims to build connections between local communities and the wide variety of creative opportunities found in East Kent. This year, Canterbury Festival worked closely with Canterbury College’s Music department on a 3-week Summer Intensive Music project for young people aged 16-23 who are, or are at risk of becoming, not currently in employment, education or training (NEET). The project has allowed young people to work with professional musicians and gain lots of experience in both or either music performance, or music production. This year the project included three fantastic visiting artists: Congo Natty, Merlin Rhys Jones and Joshua Alamu.
Congo Natty aka Rebel MC has a career dating back to his early hit with Double Trouble, ‘Street Tuff’, but is probably most respected as one of the pioneers of Jungle - perhaps the first uniquely UK-born bass music.
Merlin Rhys-Jones is a guitarist and composer best known for his work with Ian Dury. He has played guitar and performed with a number of top acts and producers, including Mo Ahijo’s African/Funk fusion band Koush, Ellis, Beggs and Howard, Tom Robinson, Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode), The Blockheads and Baxter Dury.
Joshua Alamu has many different skills within music and education, his dedication to vocal excellence sees him travelling the world, giving lectures on singing, and working with well-known performers, major labels, management companies and on TV shows such as ‘The Voice UK.
‘A number of young people wrote their own material for the first time for this showcase, and for a lot of them it was their first time using professional studio equipment, so the project definitely helped to develop skills in both of these areas. Working with a range of professional musicians also helped to boost their confidence which was evident in the assured performances they gave at the showcase. What really made this project so successful for me was seeing every young person rise to the challenge and enjoy themselves at the same time!’ Canterbury Festival’s Programme and Participation Manager, Niamh Lynam-Cotter.
The performers will also be reviving their material to perform as a part of bOing! Festival in Canterbury on Saturday 27 August 2016.
"As you know I attended yesterday and I was so impressed, the young people were so talented and had clearly gotten a lot out of the course. The diversity of the group and the way they were all able to express themselves and gain an invaluable experience was incredible." (Audience member, Kent County Council)