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02 December, 2013

Music for Cities

Hallé St Peter's (Photo: Elspeth Moore)
Hallé St Peter's (Photo: Elspeth Moore)
Some 200 people attended the second Music for Cities event, organized by the community initiative, United Estates of Wythenshawe, supported by the prestigious Hallé. They experienced a unique collaborative event, marked by spontaneous interactions between the bands and the audience.

The recently restored and renamed Hallé St Peter’s in the heart of Manchester, normally resonates with the classical sounds of the Hallé symphony Orchestra’s rehearsals. But on 21 November it, thundered to the sound of rock legends, who worked together to deliver a spectacular musical event.

The event was not just about the music. Its main purpose was to raise funds for the work of UEW and the Hallé. In his introduction, Martin Moscrop from the Manchester band, A Certain Ratio, said: ’Having two members in the band who grew up in Wythenshawe, we were impressed by what the United Estates were doing to help young people in the area.  

Martin Moscrop and Denise Johnson from A Certain Ratio
Martin Moscrop and Denise Johnson from A Certain Ratio

‘This support they offer not only helps young people in a creative way but also in an educational and motivational way to give them a focus and help them to develop themselves as members of a very important part of Manchester’s community.’ 

The event began with a solo performance from Eli Cripps, part Nigerian and part Welsh, who grew up ‘all over Africa, particularly Kenya’. 

This was followed by a pulsating, jamming session by A Certain Ratio, the post-punk rock band who added funk and dance elements

Eli Cripps, a solo performance
Eli Cripps, a solo performance
to their sound.  Denise Johnson’s deep voice added soul to the music. The band had the audience enthralled swaying and rocking to the beat - bobbing up and down.

Then out of Moss Side and Wythenshawe came two rappers, Zee Major and Tom ‘Shawe’s Diamond’ Duffy. They didn’t disappoint the crowd.  Zee’s number, Headshot, was infectious and had several in the audience shouting the name, long after he had finished. 

The rappers were followed by Peter Hook and the Light, who showed deep commitment to the occasion.

Zee Major rapping ‘Headshot’
Zee Major rapping ‘Headshot’
They played several Joy Division classics. During some songs, Hook disappeared only to appear among the crowd with his bass at hip level. 

Hook ended the night with Blue Monday. He invited members of the audience on stage to sing with him. 

With everyone singing and dancing on and off stage, Hook quietly left the scene and drove off. Later, he texted a message to the organizing team: ‘The heart and soul in any town comes from its people! The willingness to help others is a wonderful human trait. The United Estates of Wythenshawe shows kids what is important in this world: peace, love and understanding! I am proud to stand with them! A great example to everyone everywhere. Well done lads!’

Commenting on the event, Martin Glynn, Projects and Events Manager for the Hallé, said: “We were delighted to get involved with Music for Cities particularly as their charitable aims are very similar to our own, and we were pleased to be able to host this year's event at our new venue….  

Peter Hook and The Light
Peter Hook and The Light
’Musically it was very different from what usually happens within the walls of the building but without doubt it was a special evening, enjoyed by everyone there and it seems entirely appropriate that the first gig of its type to take place in the venue should be for the benefit of the young people of Manchester.’

Music for Cities is fronted by Greg Davis, John Macaulay, Vikas Shah, and Kevin Matthews from the United Estates of Wythenshawe, which is part of the Initiatives of Change Sustainable Communities network.  

Photos by Don de Silva

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