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Conscious lyrics to ignite your conscious; Hip-hop turns up the volume on Human Rights!
Set in an underground, Concrete basement, in Shoreditch, on a Saturday evening hip-hop and lyrical talent exploded on an intimate stage in the name of Human Rights! When Aruba Red tweets the Restless Beings 'Human Writes' gig to be 'The official Roots/John Legend pre-party' you know you're not going to be disappointed! With a massive line up of the most established and upcoming artists in conscious music, Restless Beings supporters were certainly in for something special!
Despite the winter freeze and the forecast for snow, over 300 activists and appreciators of real music attended to help give a voice to the voiceless! Welcomed by the usual Restless Beings goodies of lollipops, badges and pencils, a hub of good vibes and shared love of musical talent resonated from the offset, with the illusive DJ Snuff playing classic hip-hop tunes to warm the guests up.
Opening up the night was a talented 15 year old, Sindy, followed by RYU & Onoe. Muslim Belal, moved the audience with his account of his transition to Islam calming the audience poignantly. Mohamed Yahya with Serena, and Poetic Pilgrimage blessed the stage and got the crowd moving, with their upbeat progressive tracks and the positive rapper, Logic MC also performing with Crazy-haze most definitely got the "People's Army" mobilised. Later, Lady Ny had the audience mesmerised with her beautiful voice and also sang with the illustrious Purple. Pugnacious MC, currently a SOAS undergraduate student also bought raw talent to the stage with his tracks! Restless Beings were then blessed with a surprise appearance and support by the artist that Benjamin Zephaniah describes to be “One of the best lyricists in the Western Hemisphere” - LOWKEY! Performing the iconic 'Long live Palestine' and 'Terrorist' the crowd were reminded lyrically of human rights issues around the world. The message was further reiterated by the Iron Braydz performing a Restless Beings favourite 'Free'.
Employing the true beauty of hip-hop and conscious music, audience participation was key in raising the atmosphere. This was conveyed in abundance in the Open Mic session of the gig which aimed to promote boxfresh talent. Out of 500 applicants, 10 artists were chosen to perform for 2 minutes to impress both the crowd and the judges- consisting of the established artists. The Open Mic artists, for some being their first organised performance, included Electric, J Kas, Zak, Sunshine, Mitz, Curious, Ruthless MC, Farhat, Little Moh and Suspect MC. All performed with their own original sound and style and the judges then painfully selected the two acts they thought to be the best- Sunshine and Curious! Both were very different in the style, Sunshine enthusing her melodious soulful tones to champion love and peace. Curious, on the other hand, by day a secondary school teacher, employed cleverly articulated lyrics to win the crowd round. After another performance, this time for 3 minutes, the crowd chose Curious to be the winner of the Open Mic Competition, with screams and cheers that reverberated off the concrete! In an industry that places more power and value with the audience, rather than a record label, the prize for Curious is invaluable as he is set to be endorsed by not only the crowd, but by the established artists/judges and Restless Beings! Among social mediums alone, his voice can be projected to over 250,000 people with RB and artist followers combined!
To close the show, following the more up tempo tracks, the crowd were able to sway to a more serene acoustic set by Natty, performing 'Coloured Souls'. Other highlights of the night were Natascha of Aruba Red, a long time supporter of Restless Beings, performing an impromptu collaboration with our Open Mic Champion, Curious, beat boxing!
The underlying message of the gig was to raise awareness and charge the activism of human rights around the world. As a hub for activism and social change, and after the success of Project 1- helping the street children of Dhaka, Restless Beings launched Project 2 earlier this year. This project consists of the issues of Uighur Women's Rights in Kyrgyzstan, the persecuted Rohingya people in Burma and Bangladesh and the marginalised Roma Gypsy community in Eastern Europe. Despite living in a so called 'modern' society, it concerns, in different ways, the restoration of basic human rights, which are greatly lacking for such communities as they live in stateless conditions. Our aim is the restoration of these basic fundamental rights on these communities that have been discriminated against, and displaced on the basis of who they are, how they are and what they believe in.
The spotlight is on them and change is coming, with YOUR support!
Despite the gig being more to do with raising awareness of the key issues behind the persecuted communities, a staggering £1,500 was raised, all of which, will go straight towards the human rights project! The support of the artists and the audience was humbling and it is testament to the movement of change out there. However, although the gig is over, the process of change continues. The importance of those post event 'Monday morning discussions' at work, school/university , the gym-wherever, helping to spread the word of change cannot be forgotten.
Voice the Voiceless and stand up for Human Rights!
Reggae / Soul / Poetry - Chart-topping Natty effortlessly fuses many genres and vibes into a melting pot of sounds which can be described as the gritty yet uplifting soundtrack to many young people's lives growing up in the UK today. As well as his success in the UK, Natty's music has been welcomed globally with open arms, leading to performances all over Europe, Jamaica as well as hitting the number 1 spot in Japan. A musically motivated and accessible artist with an intelligent message.
Reggae / Dub / Political Soul - Nitin Sawhney's London Undersound / iTunes 'Best of 2008' / fresh and rebellious songstress, whose style falls somewhere in between MIA and Finley Quaye / reaching top 10 playlist on Jamaica's biggest radio station, being selected by BBC Radio 1 as 'Hottest Homegrown' and chosen as 'Alternative Jam' on BBC 1Xtra.
Hip Hop / R&B / Soul - A great love of all music and voracious work ethic has not only earned her great respect in the UK grime scene but led to her guesting on major release albums from the likes of The Streets, Mitchell Brothers, Ironik and Plan B. Ny has also featured on 1Xtra and Kiss FM playlists with her solo material. Ny has appeared at festivals across Europe including Glastonbury, Pukkelpop and Roskilde.
Rap / Hip Hop / Experimental - Labelled as a 'rapper' by society, his main aim is to promote a positive message through his music. He has supported the likes of KRS-ONE, Immortal Technique and Saigon to name a few and is also the general at the People's Army.
HipHop / Spoken Word / Jazz / Afrobeat / Soul / Music They are a rare act, unafraid to express themselves through the art of rhyme, covering personal, socio-political, uplifting and insightful themes from war and colonialism to peace and freedom.
Mohammed Yahya is a Mozambican born Rapper/Spoken Word Artist who was forced to flee his country of birth during the civil war. He impressively delivers soulful street poetry with hair raising honesty in both Portuguese and English allowing him to reach a wide audience across the world.
Grime / Experimental / Progressive - Purple Simba is one of London's most explosive underground grime MC's who has colaborated with artists across the country, creating an eclectic and progressive sound, slowly shifting the concept of UK grime.
Experimental / Hip Hop - Iron Braydz has rocked audiences alongside members of Hip Hop royalty (US and UK) including M1 of Dead Prez, Public Enemy, Saigon, Immortal Technique and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan. A bold thought provoking rapper.
Poetry / Actor / Writer - Ashley Chin now known to most as Muslim Belal. He is not only a spoken word poet, but a successful British actor lead roles include, ITV drama 'The Bill' BBC Film 'Storm Damage' ITV drama 'Holby Blue' & 'The Fixer' and will also be seen in new series of 'Law & Order UK' ITV. His poetry combines spiritualism with social issues and his own personal history.
Poetry / Hip Hop - Student and also part time rapper and poet, an emerging artist in the Bri-Hop scene who is not afraid to creatively articulate the injustices and imbalances he see's in the world today. Manager of various HipHop events across the University circuit who has also performed alongside some of UK's biggest artists.
RYU & ONOE
After ONOE'S appearance on Kiss 100's LOGAN SAMA's chosen ones show earlier in the year both himself and RYU set about creating the FUNK MAFI to push the musical boundaries of there creations. Hailing from the murky depths of a west london RYU FONIX & ONOE CAPONOE are the front men of a up & coming force about to sweep the nation (FUNK M.A.F.I.) Combining what they call space man hip hop, funk, dubstep, human beatbox,electro and elements of live percussion along with the lyrical styles of one of the best UK rap new comers of 2010. A fresh duo to watch out for in 2011.
Aspiring music producer/actress; 15 year old Sindy Czureja also known as Lady Beats combines a fusion of beat boxing and singing to create a 21st century sound. Juggling GCSEs, a member of the school student council as Head Girl, performing in the school play and living life as a teenager, this young artist is working towards achieving her dreams. A star from 'Bust a Rhyme' and 'Under the Stars'; this young lady is definitely someone to keep an eye out for.