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Went to a brilliant youth performance by Kinetica Bloco the other night in the foyer of QE Hall on London’s Southbank.

It was a carnivalesque celebration of London themed songs with dancers, steel band, drummers and a large section of brass. It was inclusive of many levels of musical ability but arranged so well that the impression it made was of a very musical blast! The deep bass drums resonated through my body. Then the poly-melodic arrangements were like wave after wave of exhuberant sound and movement. There were three conductors all with their own passionate approaches and set of signals. The free-wheeling complexity all gelled like a dream under Mat Fox’s laid-back, good humoured and mobile musical direction.

The tune list:

Hum Allah by Pharaoh Saunders

Dance with Me by Dizzie Rascal

Remedy Mash Up by Sam Agard

Caravan by Juan Tizol

English Country Garden trad.

Israelites by Desmond Dekker & Leslie Kong

Streets of London by Ralph McTell

Down by the Riverside trad.

London Calling by The Clash

A Nightinggale Sang in Berekely Square by Manning Sherwin

Colonial Mentality by Fela Kuti

London is the Place for Me by Lord Kitchener

The costumes, made by Kinetica, were on a multi-colour union jack theme backed with African fabrics. Unbelieveably this was the culmination of a 8 day intensive spring school with 90 14 – 25 year olds. But it has to be said some of the young people had been working together for a few years often going on to be trainee leaders.

The thing that was of interest to me for this blog was (apart from the playlist) that, although the whole thing could be see to fit into the years dominant themes of Queen and country, the content and arrangement of the material totally undermined any old sense of jingoistic nationalism or old-school patriotism. This was young working class Londoners being true to their own cultures, having a great time and getting rammed with skills and confidence at the same time. It left me with a sense of London pride that I don’t often feel.

Apparently its different each time. Recommended.

In a similar vein see my blog on ‘We Sing U Sing’ choir here:


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