SoundCity Partner Spotlight - Carousel
Carousel has been celebrating and supporting learning disabled peoples’ creativity for over thirty years. It’s the passion and ability that defines these musicians, rather than the fact that they have learning disabilities.
“If one single act this wonderful weekend sums up the spirit of the Supernormal Festival, it is Zombie Crash, who are equally hilarious and chaotic and brilliant and more punk rock than the distilled soul of Jimmy Pursey, whose clarion-call oik-punk the band occasionally resembles.”
Dale Kattack, Nightshift, Oxford’s Music Magazine, September 2013
That is the effect that Zombie Crash has on most people who see them. It is the band’s passion and ability that defines them, rather than the fact that they have learning disabilities. It is the ethos that runs through all of Carousel’s work – in film and performance as well as in music.
Carousel has been putting learning disabled peoples’ creativity first for over thirty years and is recognised internationally for its inclusive approach and the excellence of its projects. For musicians and DJ’s Carousel provides a supportive environment that encourages individuality and is dedicated to promoting the work beyond the learning disabled circuit.
There are currently six bands working alongside Carousel, under its music division Shut Up And Listen. Pop rock quartet Beat Express have been together for over ten years, writing and composing their own material and performing in the UK and Ireland. A newcomer to the fold is singer songwriter Daniel Wakeford, star of TV’s The Undateables and a contender for European Song Festival 2014 – he sang his power ballad Black of Lonely in Stockholm last May.
Sharing the skills of learning disabled artists who have worked with Carousel for some years is also important. From April to June this year, Shut Up And Listen ran a digital music project at Blatchington Mill School. Over six weeks, a small group of young people worked with Carousel’s learning disabled practitioners using state of the art accessible technology and created a piece that was performed in Brighton Dome.
“All students seemed to really enjoy it and always seemed excited when the lesson was mentioned. Even the shy students who normally would refuse this kind of lesson enjoyed taking part and using all of the different equipment.”
Teaching Staff, Blatchington Mill School, June 2014
Coming soon is the popular I CAN DJ course, which offers ten learning disabled people the opportunity to learn music and video projection making.
As a vibrant and necessary company on the Brighton music scene, Carousel has been involved with Brighton and Hove Music and Arts Service for many years. SoundCity offers a great platform to share experience and its reach into the community is welcome for an organisation that straddles youth and disability arts.
So, how does it all sound? The best way to hear Carousel bands is to visit Shut Up and Listen on the website or download a podcast of the monthly radio show which gathers up the best of learning disabled music from around the world, interspersed with news features.
Or come to a gig. Zombie Crash are supporting High Wycombe rockers Jettblack in London on 31 July, and other Carousel bands will be at The Blue Camel Club in Brighton on 8 September and at the regular Rock House event on 16 September. You can find out about all Carousel activities, and how to apply for the I Can DJ course, on the website www.carousel.org.uk