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 Soweto Kinch

Soweto Kinch

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photo by Karl Dixon

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photo by Karl Dixon

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Born in London, England on 10th January 1978 to a Barbadian father and British-Jamaican mother, Soweto Kinch is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians to hit the British Jazz and Hip Hop scenes in recent years. He first became interested in music at the tender age of eight, playing clarinet at primary school. He quickly developed a fondness for the alto saxophone and was given his first instrument when he was nine. After meeting Wynton Marsalis four years later he discovered and became passionate about Jazz, first concentrating on piano and later, in his teens, focusing on saxophone. His family had a strong artistic influence on him, his father being a playwright and his mother an actress. Having this theatrical background exposed him to performance and meant that he was often surrounded by musicians and other artists such as Jazz tap dancer Will Gaines and percussionist/bebop vocalist Frank Holder. Moving to Birmingham aged 9 was key to Soweto’s development, and the city has continued to play a crucial role in his unique identity He cultivated his interest in the Jazz tradition alongside a passion for Hip Hop culture, joining the group Pentalk in 1994. Soweto is one of only a few artists who’s appeal traverses underground and mainstream audiences, and who is equally respected in Jazz and Hip Hop circles. Soweto is essentially a self-taught musician who has supplemented his musical education by gathering information from books and transcribing Jazz recordings. He was also fortunate in attracting the attention of two of the most important Jazz luminaries in Britain, saxophonist Courtney Pine OBE and double bassist Gary Crosby, both of whom were key mentors. A series of his recent recordings have also seen him extending his skills as an MC and producer, and again drawing plaudits from Hip Hop luminaries on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Mos Def, Rodney P and Ty. Soweto made the practical decision to become a full time musician fairly recently. Graduating from Oxford University in 1999 with a BA in Modern History, he was set to pursue a career in journalism or to undertake post-graduate studies. However, the offer of a place within the core band of Tomorrow's Warriors and with Crosby’s professional bands persuaded him to choose music as a career path. In 1999 Soweto began organising and developing his own arts/music project in Birmingham, The Live Box. The project is still going, entering its 8th years as a weekly jam session, and involves Soweto organising special events and workshops for young musicians (aged 6-18). Soweto continues to programme special events to raise the project's profile, and get alternative culture on the map, and his previous guests include, Jazz saxophonist Steve Williamson, vocalist Eska Mtungwazi and hip hop act, Ty, Wynton Marsalis, and Ursula Rucker. A healthy respect for Jazz pioneers, and an enterprising spirit, and passion for alternative culture at a grass roots level, have really set Kinch apart from many artists of his generation...

www.soweto-kinch.com www.myspace.com/sowetokinch
The New Emancipation
Soweto Kinch Recordings
2010