As we set about “Letting Culture Loose” across the city, one of the ongoing aims of LEEDS 2023 is to shine a spotlight on the dedicated people and organisations working hard to bring creativity to their communities. From holding a performance extravaganza at Left Bank Leeds to delivering artist-led photography, textiles and sculpture to public spaces, we wanted to mark the occasion with the help of some of our favourite collaborators.
And so, as part of our launch day celebrations, we also teamed up with the excellent Sable Radio for an entire day of DJ sets, performance and conversation. Broadcast live from the Eat Your Greens kitchen in the centre of town, the schedule was jam-packed with a wide variety of entertainment. As an independent radio station and creative platform based just off Mabgate, Sable Radio are no strangers to producing high quality content. As their “made in Leeds, enjoyed worldwide” strapline attests, they’re internationally renowned for their workshops, podcasts and insightful programming.
An entire day of entertainment and artistic exploration
Kicking things off with a two-hour breakfast show, Yorkshire-based beatmakers Al and Will – hosts of Sable Radio’s at home series during the first lockdown – eased listeners into the day. Hot on their heels, the next DJ to step into the kitchen was Hopper, archivist and project manager at Leeds West Indian Centre, who shared some of his favourite roots and reggae picks.
As the day progressed, Lorina Gumbs – artist, costume maker and co-founder of Leeds based carnival company AnonyMas – took over the mic for a conversation with carnival photographer Leroy Wenham, exploring his images, memories and experiences. Next up, Ruby Fatimilehin – a writer and poet from Manchester studying English Literature in Leeds – was joined by Khadijah Ibrahim to talk about her collections of poetry and her recent People Tree Press anthology Weighted Words.
Lily Fontaine – music writer for Come Play With Me and the vocalist/guitarist in indie-pop bands English Teacher and Eades – got things moving in the late afternoon with her unique mashup of alternative, indie and pop sounds. Then Leeds-based writer Queenie hosted an episode of her monthly film review show, Deep End, discussing the themes of non-normative queer desire and water within film with activist Marai Larasi and artist/poet LA Warman, featuring the 2020 Mati Diop directed film Atlantics.
Mixing beats, meets and other auditory treats
Not much is known about the mysterious blackshyguy – aka Ty – except for his outstanding taste in music. The frequent collaborator of Leeds’ hip hop scene led listeners into the early evening with a mix of reggae, alt hip hop & rnb representing his mixed up mind.
Graphic designer and DJ Leon – also known by his moniker LUSCIOUS – was later joined by SpeedQueen co-founder Suzy Mason and New York based graphic designer and archivist Raver Jinn to discuss the past and future of queer rave art. To round out the night, Papi Chulo was in conversation with Mexico-based artist KEBRA discussing all things desculonizacion, and talking to Vania Belén Suárez about Latinx music.
The day was an incredible success with fascinating discussions, beautiful poetry readings and some top tunes, all served up with a side order of organic seasonal greens. We’re huge fans of Sable Radio and can’t wait to see what they produce next!