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All photos by Alan Taylor of Planet Vision
By Joshua Taylor
The Spectrums of Sound showcase made its return for the sixth year at the Victoria Hall theatre in Hanley on Thursday 26th November 2009.

Staffordshire’s premier arts and culture event once again wowed the audience with a dazzling and extravagant show that brought together dance and music from across the world. Over 100 members of the local community performed side by side with international artists to a packed Victoria Hall!

Doors opened at 5.45 with the group Kasanti performing alongside master drummer Jahman Sillah to welcome the audience to the event. During the day, the group had rehearsed with Jahman as part of the Spectrums of Sound workshop programme.

Alan Taylor photogalleries
Gallery 1 / Gallery 2 / Gallery3

The stage performances were opened by Samba Cultura; Stoke On Trent’s first band dedicated to the art of Samba. The set started from outside the auditorium and paraded through the crowds to the stage, playing a mix of traditional samba and more contemporary material, including an arrangement of the song “fix up look sharp”, arranged by the group leader Mika De Oliveira.

The evening’s master of ceremonies was a gentleman known on stage as The Entertainer, who as well as being a vibrant and witty host is a gifted dancer. The Entertainer, whose real name is Faraz Chohan, runs the Bollywood Academy Ltd in Birmingham, and attended the event along with several academy members who were part of Spectrums of Sound for the first time.

The second group to perform were the Burslem based group Capoeira Art Brasil. The group performed traditional Capoeira pieces in Portuguese, accompanied by an energetic dance routine that fused break-dance moves with martial arts and were led by founder Leandro De Oliveira, from Sao Paulo. The organisation is dedicated to bringing educational work in Brazilian arts to the community.

Schoolboy drumming sensation Jake Brown, aged 13, took to the stage next and enraptured the auditorium with two faultless set pieces played on his drum kits. As a scholar at the Royal College of Music in London, Jake has already been described by many professional drummers as a star of the future. Jake has at the 2008 Spectrums of Sound show. He was this year invited back to perform both as a soloist with his band The Fountain of Youth.

The Fountain of Youth is a band that formed 18 months ago who write and record all their own songs, including the three brilliant rock pieces performed at this year’s show. The band is made up of Jake Brown, on drums, Bea Morris, on bass, and Luke Bricket-Haycock, on rhythm guitar and lead vocals.

The fourth act was a collaboration of Planet Sound Community Arts and Evolution Dance Studios called “the Rhythms 4 Life group”. Combining theatre, dance and percussion to create a unique performance, the group put on a sparkling and comedic first half of their routine, before launching into an impressive mix that saw boxes of Tic-Tacs, broomsticks and metal bins fashioned into musical instruments in addition to fast-paced dance routines.

The first half of the show concluded with a spectacular and flawless Michael Jackson routine from the show’s host, The Entertainer. After wowing the audience with his moves, he was joined by his academy dancers who launched into a Bollywood sequence that involved members of the audience onstage!

The show was reopened after the interval by the young people of Madula and Kasanti, who performed their piece featuring African Singing, drumming and dancing.

Madula is based at Newcastle Community High school, and was founded over 10 years ago and consisted of just 20 young people. Led every week by Music teacher Steve Dawson, Madula has since become an umbrella term for a core group of 65 young people, as well as hundreds more across the Midlands who have benefited from Madula’s work.

Kasanti joined Madula on stage to produce a group of over 45 young performers. Kasanti consists of year five and six pupils from St Luke’s Primary School, in Silverdale, led by Mechele Carpenter.

Madula and Kasanti were followed by Drumschool, who performed their interpretation of rhythms from around the world using West African instruments including djembes and dun duns. The Planet Sound Community Arts Drumschool was formed 2001 and provided opportunities for people in the community at all levels. The performance was led and directed by Ade Waters and the group were joined by special guest Dora Da Cruz on vocals.

The grand finalé of Spectrums of Sound 2009 featured the Planet Sound Artists, who drew the audience off their seats and to the front of the auditorium for a dance.
Playing in the group were top Stoke On Trent based musicians Jack McCarthy on drum kit, Karl “the Jah” Waye on bass guitar, and David Pickstock “and barrel” on guitar.

The group was also joined by international vocal and dance starts Seby Ntege and Hassan Kayemba from Uganda. The two worked together to form the perfect duo to bring the audience to their feet dancing. Also on stage was master drummer from the Gambia Jahman Sillah playing congas and djembes. Leading the group on his red fender guitar was Planet Sound’s artistic director and co-founder Mr Will.

The group performed a variety of material bringing together the traditions and sound of African music and European music and instruments, such as the electric guitar. The performance featured two compositions by Mr Will, and a song by Jahman Sillah.
The band also played a traditional tune from Uganda called Obangina. For this tune members of Seby Ntege’s workshop were welcomed on stage to be part of the performance.

By the end of the evening no audience member was left in their seat, the whole venue up and dancing as part of the party atmosphere that is Spectrums of Sound!
Planet Sound would like to thank everyone who helped make this a memorable show, either as an audience member, funder, tech crew, or one of the great performers from the City!

If you have any comments about the show that you'd like to send to us, please click here to email us!

Spectrums of Sound 2009 links!
Gallery 1 / Gallery 2 / Gallery 3
Planet Sound Drumschool Website! / Samba Cultura online!
Planet Sound recordings & video on mypsace! /
Kasanti website! / Jake Brown online!
Mr.Will Music! / Seby Ntege website!
Jahman Sillah online! /!
The entertainer and Bollywood Academy online!