Urban Music Leaders challenge PenUltimate!

MPA’s volunteer Dominique visits the Urban Music Leaders project…

Mid Pennine Arts have received an award from National Lottery’s Youth Music fund for an exciting project in Burnley and Nelson developing hip hop music with young people. The project will broadly explore hip hop culture: rhyming, beat boxing, urban art and turntablism. We will be working with young people to develop their skills as music leaders, teaching the techniques they have learned to their peers, with the chance to gain Arts Awards accreditation along the way.

So with this in mind we set off in Lucy’s car for Sir John Thursby Community College for a taster session and picked up some hip hop artists from the bus station on the way. Ben Mellor and Martin Stannage led the session and are part of PenUltimate, Manchester’s premier hip hop and spoken word collective.

We pulled up to the very impressive architecture of the college and were met by Mr Wilson the music teacher who helped Ben and Martin set up the space. We were then joined by a group of enthusiastic young people who had signed up for the session. Ben and Martin began by recording a short example of some beat boxing laying sounds over one another to compose a beat. It was incredible to watch and hear such a variety of beats and pops and booms all created by Ben and Martin’s bodies!

Then it was the turn of the young people to have a go, Ben and Martin taught a few bass sounds as well as experimenting with noises from the lips and throat for the ones brave enough to have a go. There were many questions to follow from the young people including challenging Martin to a free style hip hop poem; Martin accepted this challenge with impressive skill.

With the young people fired up to continue with the project in half terms ‘boot camp’ it was time to drop Ben and Martin back at the bus stop leaving Lucy and I to practice our beat boxing techniques for next time.

Visit MPA’s website for more information.

Urban Music Leaders Taster Session

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