“Stupid fool. You’re a boffin from music school. Let me give you a tip, Mr Intelligent Black Man, put down the microphone and stick to the sax, man.”
Soweto Kinch is an award winning jazz saxophonist and rapper living in Hockley. Wikipedia biography.
Quotes from the excellent 12 minute interview on Podnosh (mp3 link) where Soweto talks about his new CD A Life In The Day Of B19 – Tales Of The Tower Block, a concept album documenting the lives of three men from Lozells.
“Part of my reason for staying here is the belief that there’s immense talent in this area and the opportunity to do something different, something unconventional, something that wouldn’t or couldn’t be created in Harlem or Los Angeles or London for that matter.”
“The areas and places that are abandoned, not thought to produce anything of worth or merit, are actually… the richest areas for inspiration.”
“All too often people advertise the negative aspects of this neighbourhood and they demonise an area but yet the individuals that I know and the sense of community that’s still here, despite all of this negative press, really inspires me and keeps me moving.”
“People all the time have great ideas and want to put on a show on a patch of grass here. I myself wanted to stage something underneath the Hockley flyover. But there’s no department within Birmingham City Council that’s set up to endorse something like that. It’s a very mundane attitude towards council responsibility.”
“I hope to inspire others, certainly within this area and areas like this up and down the country, to see their immediate surroundings as a the richest and most valuable vein of creativity they can tap. All too often we’re clutching at the wind and trying to replicate some American model of success, trying to build Miami, The Bronx or Compton in Dudley and Oldbury. It just doesn’t work. So it’s a matter for artists and people from all walks of life to start taking their immediate surroundings as the benchmark.”
“If you have all these problems with unemployment, gun crime, race riots, I’m a firm believer that the best way to combat them is not through a negative campaign – put down your guns, or put down your drugs. People just don’t listen. It is pick up something else, take up something else, take up a different calling and those other things will fall away”
Interview with JazzNation from 2004.