As you all know, our most recent project was a series of eight ‘LIVEwire’ events. It was our biggest and most ambitious series of live events to date. And as with most things that we know and love, it unexpectedly ground to a halt and fell of the edge of the cliff when COVID-19 embarked on its world tour.

The fourth and final Leeds residency event and also the Colchester event took place online. We also hosted our fifth birthday party celebrations online, which saw all six Nymphs & Thugs artists on the same bill for the first time. And off the back of that, we started hosting weekly Insta sessions at the beginning of May, which we’re still doing.

But with physical events nowhere to be seen on the horizon, I had a think about how Nymphs & Thugs could respond to the pandemic in our own way. So, I took an idea for a project which I’d been working on since February, adapted it for COVID-19, submitted an application to Arts Council England crossed my fingers.

Towards the end of September, we received our National Lottery Project Grant funding and all systems were go. And today, finally, we’re announcing the culmination of our ‘LIVEwire x Lockdown’ project. I speak in more detail about the project in December’s column for The State of the Arts here.

The key headlines are that Nymphs & Thugs has signed four new artists: Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Saili Katebe, Kirsty Taylor and Sean Mahoney. These four artists have been delivering free poetry workshops to underrepresented communities of their choice. I’ve then commissioned them to create a piece in response, which sees them collaborating with an artist from a different discipline.

Suhaiymah delivered workshops for refugees and asylum seekers. Her poem will be accompanied with an illustrated video by artist Alaa Alsaraji. Saili delivered workshops for young black writers and has devised a piece in response with movement practitioner Deepraj Singh.

Kirsty delivered workshops for care experienced young people in Bradford and has teamed up with music producer SOULS. And Sean delivered workshops for boxers and boxing enthusiasts. His poem has been sound-scaped by Ize and is accompanied by an illustration from Sadie St. Hilaire.

All four of the singles will be released on Friday 11 December and are available to pre-order here. They’ll remain exclusively on our Bandcamp site until the new year, after which they’ll be available in all of the major digital stores and streaming platforms.

The online première event will take place from 8-9.15pm UK time on Thursday 10 December and will stream live on our Facebook page. I’ll interview each of the artists before giving each of their commissioned pieces a world exclusive share.

So…bloody exciting times for Nymphs & Thugs. I can’t wait for the commissioned pieces to be out there and also to develop a working relationship with four new artists. See you next week…

We mentioned this in the main ‘LIVEwire x Lockdown‘ announcement, but in case it gets lost amongst the ocean of info, here’s a special post for the online première event. It’s being streamed live on our Facebook page from 8-9.15pm UK time on Thursday 10 December.

Label founder Matt Abbott will chat to Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Saili Katebe, Kirsty Taylor and Sean Mahoney about their projects and also their commissioned pieces. After chatting to each poet, their commissioned pieces will received a world exclusive sharing.

Nymphs & Thugs | LIVEwire x Lockdown
‘LIVEwire x Lockdown’ première event on Thursday 10 December

It’s important to say that you don’t need a Facebook account to join the stream as it’s on a public page. But if you can’t stomach giving Zuckerberg the page view, it’ll be available to watch back on our IGTV channel and YouTube channel within a day or two.

All four commissioned pieces are available to pre-order on our Bandcamp site and will be released as singles on Friday 11 December. They’ll remain exclusively on Bandcamp until the new year, at which point they’ll be available through all major streaming platforms and digital stores.

Saturday’s episode was our Winter Warmer special, with our final studio-recorded episode before our Best Of special in December. Our usual mix of art, culture, books, poetry and activism, blended with some banging tunes!

You should be available to find it in your regular podcast provider, but if not, it’s available to stream in full on our site here.

Roaring 20s Radio | Episode 12: Winter Warmer

Our 26th weekly Insta session features Ella Dorman-Gajic. Ella is a poet, playwright and performer from Brighton. She is the co-founder and host of Off the Chest, a sell-out poetry night. She’s performed poetry sets and theatre pieces around the country, including at Edinburgh Fringe, The Arcola, The Orange Tree and Norwich Arts Centre. This month a scratch of her new play will be on at Brainchild’s Digital Hatch.

Continue reading “Insta sessions #26: Ella Dorman-Gajic on 1 Dec”

We’re immensely proud to have released ‘Birds‘ by Tongue Fu, which is a collaboration featuring Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule and Hollie McNish. This is a digital-only release, with 100% of the profits going to Black Minds Matter UK.

The track is part of a Tongue Fu project – produced by Chris Redmond – which was supported by Arts Council England’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds.

We commissioned Leeds-based artist Saifur Rehmaan Manzoor-Khan to create the illustration for the artwork, and Liz Counsell edited the video. If you’re interested in featuring us on a site or in a publication, the press release is here.

Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ official video

The single is priced at £5, with an option to pay more if you can afford to. It’ll remain exclusively on our Bandcamp site until the New Year, to maximise our revenue. The Bandcamp purchase includes a HD copy of the video and also a PDF booklet containing the lyrics and sleeve notes.

Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ on Nymphs & Thugs

Huge thank you to everybody that’s already supported the release. Black Minds Matter UK is an increasingly vital cause, so every retweet or share makes a difference and obviously every purchase means the world!

We were dead excited to partner up with Tongue Fu (again) to present a special Facebook Live gig on Thursday 12 November. The gig featured live performances from Amyra León and Chris Redmond, as well as the world première of the ‘Birds‘ video.

Nymphs & Thugs x Tongue Fu gig on Thursday 12 November

The event is also available to stream back in full on our Facebook page and IGTV channel.

Continue reading “Facebook Live gig with Tongue Fu on 12 Nov”

A group of artists and producers have come together to release a single supporting Black Minds Matter UK. ‘Birds’ is a collaboration between the renowned Tongue Fu collective and three leading poets: Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule, and Hollie McNish.

The single is available to purchase from our Bandcamp page and will remain exclusively on that site until the new year. 100% of all profits will be donated to Black Minds Matter UK.

Continue reading “Tongue Fu single release for Black Minds Matter UK”