L19 Guest Blogs: Meet Jane Muller of Khula Arts and Music & Love Band
Leeds International Festival 2019 was a blast. We saw so, so many amazing events come to fruition around the great city which is Leeds, bringing in talented, innovative and inspiring individuals from the city, region, nation and beyond!
We thought we would catch up with some of the people behind those great Leeds International Festival 2019 (L19) events, to see how the festival went for them, see what the future holds, and hopefully inspire more exciting and diverse events to be submitted for our L20 Open Call!
First off, we spoke to Jane Muller of Khula Arts, and Music and Love Band. They originally pitched as a stand-alone event, and ended up being a crucial player in our amazing L19 Family Day, with both their dynamic performance of Zimbabwean Township rhythms and their drumming workshop. We caught up with Jane and asked her some questions about their Leeds Int Fest 19 experience…
Q: How did you find out about Leeds International Festival?
“I saw the Open Call for proposals to get involved in L19 on Facebook last year and was eager to contribute to the event.”
Q: Why did you want to get involved?
“The Leeds International Festival has a dynamic and energetic image and we really wanted to be part of its vibe. We are passionate about promoting internationalism and exploring the fusion of cultures and musical influences. We thought this was the perfect platform.”
Q: Tell us about your event. What did you submit, and did it evolve before its final iteration at the festival?
“Khula Arts offers African music, dance and drama performances and workshops, and also has a network of musicians who are based in the UK. We submitted a proposal offering a selection of performance and workshop options, and then worked with the L19 Team to discuss and agree which options would work well as part of their overall Festival plan.
We agreed to contribute to the Festival’s first Family Day held in The Cube, and ran a drumming workshop aimed at families to give them a taste of West African music.
This was followed by Music and Love Band performing on The Cube stage. Music and Love is a multicultural band of Yorkshire-based musicians, some of whom originate from Zimbabwe, Gambia and Mexico. We fuse traditional African instruments such as djembe, balafon, ngoni and sabar drums with guitars and saxophone, and strong melodic vocals. We perform high-energy kwela music, inspired by the Zimbabwe Townships, and always summon the audience to dance. The audience embraced us on the day and really enjoyed our vibe!”
Q: What did the festival do for you / your brand / your event?
“The Festival gave us a great platform on which to perform. Festival staff were really well organised and professional, and co-ordinated our input effectively.”
Q: What do you think of Leeds’ creative landscape?
“Leeds is a vibrant city and is building, with its community, an exciting and inspiring atmosphere in which to live and be creative. Yorkshire Sculpture International and the relocation of Channel 4 HQ this year are creating a really positive buzz, and I hope the momentum will continue to build so that L20 will be even more fabulous next year.”
Q: Is Leeds changing? How are festivals and events shaping the city?
“Leeds is on the up. It is building in confidence and beginning to stand out as a vibrant, creative city. Festivals draw people into the city and breathe a positive and inspiring energy into its bones. They encourage people to inhabit the city centre in a different way, and explore its buildings and spaces. Leeds is diverse and should celebrate this at every opportunity.”
Q: What’s changed, personally or professionally, from you having taken part in L19? How did the event go for you?
“Khula Arts and Music and Love Band received great feedback on our workshop and performance. The tech support and Festival Team were really organised and a great support. Since L19 we have performed at the Opening Party at Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield, and will be headlining the opening party of the Leeds-based World on Our Doorstep Festival on 23rd September at Seven Arts Centre, Leeds.”
Q: What advice would you give to someone entering the open call for L20?
“The application process is simple and concise. Leeds International Festival staff welcome your ideas and conversations, and offer a good partnership to enable you to bring your idea to life. So, definitely have a think on the brief they give, have a clear view of what you want to offer, fill in the form (it’s simple and straightforward) and see where the adventure leads you.”
Thanks very much to Jane, and to Khula Arts and Music & Love Band, who you can catch on 23rd September for their headlining slot for World on Our Doorstep Festival at Chapel Allerton’s Seven Arts Centre.