A Celebration of Lewisham’s Rich Contribution To UK’s Contemporary Music Scene, Curated by Dave Okumu.
Curated by Deptford resident, Mercury Prize nominee and award-winning songwriter, producer and musician, Dave Okumu, presented in partnership with FORM and the Albany, Love is Attention invites artists from Lewisham and beyond to perform in a series of live performances in venues across the borough, showcasing its vibrant contemporary music scene, during Lewisham’s tenure as London Borough of Culture, a Mayor of London initiative.
Home to Dave Okumu, Kae Tempest, MNEK, Jessie Ware, Novelist, Moses Boyd, Ray BLK, TIZRAH, Mica Levi and more, Lewisham is home to some of the UK’s most innovative musical talent. Love is Attention is the first part of the Revolution Through Music programme which will bring internationally acclaimed talent all hailing from Lewisham to unique and intimate venues across the borough throughout the year. The programme tells the story of Lewisham’s activist musical heritage and celebrates its grassroots musical culture that has evolved from the borough.
Bringing together a cohort of artists from Lewisham and beyond, Okumu has curated a diverse range of musical talent from across genres for Love is Attention, all celebrated in some of the borough’s most exciting spaces for creativity. Catford born Drummer Moses Boyd will bring his incredible live show to the Albany; boundary pushing sonic experimentalist Klein will take over New Cross club Amersham Arms for a hybrid club event; Lewisham based Aquarii Records will present an evening with Ezra Collective member and label founder Joe Armon-Jones and friends including Hak Baker, Fatima and more; Rosie Lowe and Duval Timothy will present SON, an immersive listening experience at Lewisham Arthouse. Excitingly – BRIT-nominated artist Jessie Ware will join a swathe of musical talent on stage for an all-star band “Lewisham Connections” event with multiple guest vocal performances, at Blackheath Halls – alongside Dave Okumu, ESKA, Yasmin Lacey, Rosie Lowe, Tiberius B and more. The event will also focus on songs from Jessie Ware’s seminal album “Devotion” – produced by series curator Dave Okumu – a record celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
There will also be a classical music performance from Ruby Hughes in St Peters Deptford and Lewisham collective Steamdown will perform and present a weekly series of emerging talent at Matchstick Piehouse, enabling new talent to play alongside high-profile artists in an explosion of sounds from London’s most musical borough.
Dave Okumu said:
“I often reflect on its meaning as I seek to place love at the centre of all that I am, and all that I do. Love has many qualities and characteristics. Perhaps the most important being a quality of attention: the attention we give ourselves, each other, and the world we inhabit. In my view, performance is an act of Love through a particular attentiveness, and each artist I have invited to perform embodies this message via genres as varied as cutting edge pop, jazz, classical, electronic and experimental music.
Having lived all over the world and in many other areas of London, I’ve been a Lewisham resident for over a decade, and I’ve never experienced a richer, more diverse sense of community anywhere else. So in curating this series of performances in the borough, I want to celebrate and engender the vibrancy of our community through the wealth of talent that exists here…it’s going to be a beautiful season”
The Revolution Through Music programme is split into different strands to reflect the rich variety of genres in the borough’s musical heritage. Following Love Is Attention in March, May sees Linton Kwesi Johnson, Chares Hayward, Test Department, CURL, Worldwide FM, Saxon Sounds Unit 137 and Black Obsidian Sound System bringing to life Rebel Music, tracing the borough’s activist history and the importance of Sound System culture to Black, LGBTQIA+ DIY Punk Hardcore and Rave communities. In August 2022, Beyond Borders, a series of global music events will take over the grounds of the Horniman Museum and Gardens to explore South-East London’s Contemporary and Jazz Scenes fusing the sounds of Lewisham’s global communities. In October, MOBO Award nominee Novelist curates Underground Lewisham, spotlighting the borough’s thriving Grime, Afrobeat and Drill scene and the new genres of tomorrow, at venues and pop-up spaces across the borough.
Lewisham’s rich musical history spans decades, from Sound System pioneers Smiley Culture, Dennis Bovell, Saxon Sound and Jah Shaka; Jools Holland and iconic 70’s band Squeeze; post-punk experimentalists Charles Hayward and Test Department, to landmark events such as Rock Against Racism and globally recognised artists such as Blur, Dire Straits and Kate Bush. Embracing contemporary, pop, grime, afrobeat, jazz, global, classical, punk, electronic and experimental, it offers a journey through the diverse musical talent of Lewisham’s past, present and future with performances in large and intimate venues as well as outdoor and green spaces.
Creative Director of We Are Lewisham and Chief Executive/Artistic Director of the Albany, Gavin Barlow said: “It’s brilliant to be kicking off Lewisham’s London Borough of Culture year with live music from such eclectic and talented artists all hailing from the area. Dave Okumu has curated a line-up that feels authentically Lewisham and it’s fantastic to bring internationally renowned talent to residents’ doorsteps. Live music has always been the lifeblood of the Albany, from being the site of Rock Against Racism gigs in the 1970s through to more recent collaborations with Steamdown, so we’re thrilled to continue this as part of London Borough of Culture and celebrate Lewisham’s contributions to contemporary music.”
The Mayor of London’s London Borough of Culture programme puts culture at the heart of local communities, where it belongs. It shines a light on the character and diversity of London’s boroughs and brings culture to everyone, so that all Londoners have the chance to be part of something extraordinary.
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “I’m delighted that Revolution Through Music will bring people together from across Lewisham and the capital in celebration of the borough’s thriving and inspiring music scene. With pop, jazz, classical, electronic and experimental music – there will be something for everyone. We created the London Borough of Culture programme to use the power of arts to entertain and inspire, and it’s great that Dave Okumu can share his passion for music with the borough he loves.”
Tickets for Love is Attention go on-sale 10am, Thursday 3 February 2022 and will be available at thealbany.org.uk