The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol. 3
BY The City Talking
The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol.3 is our third film touring the histories and sources of music in the city.
No single documentary can tell every story from a city like Leeds, but with this volume we add to the collection of memories and sounds in our first two Music in Leeds films, following threads of noise and attitude across years and genres.
In the late 1970s, students of art at Leeds Polytechnic like Marc Almond, Tom Morley and Frank Tovey were exploring the possibilities of performance, led by tutors like Jeff Nuttall. In Leeds, art students performed experimental art on drum kits, with synths and through microphones, to crowds in venues like the White Elephant Gallery and The Warehouse. Soft Cell, Scritti Politti and Fad Gadget left Leeds for London; but their stories and sounds remain rooted in the performances, politics and sleaze of bedsit land.
In 1984 in the Adelphi Pub, a group of jazz fans decided to formed a collective called Leeds Jazz. Their mission was to bring international music to the city, and for 25 years they did; at packed venues like the Trades Club and the Irish Centre — and later The Wardrobe and Seven Arts.
In another club in 1984, called the Coconut Grove, Gip Dammone met Lubi Jovanovic. The sound of their jazz belonged in clubs — the kind that housed dance floors and house music. And so they began the search for a new kind of jazz club, with a New York-style smokey atmosphere, but a new Leeds beat. A century of jazz distilled into moments is told by the Dig! family, Steve Crocker of Seven Arts, and up to date with Roller Trio and Malaika Shaw.
The story of Chumbawamba is about a group of friends looking for the right stage to get their message heard. For almost fifteen years, they lived in a squat in Armley, attended protests and played gigs across the country. Then they wrote a song called Tubthumping and an album called Tubthumper, and everything around them changed. But the group of friends collectively known as Chumbawamba kept doing what they’d always done. More than ever, they had something to say; and Tubthumping was their pass onto some of the biggest stages in the world.
You can watch the trailer below:
The City Talking: Music in Leeds, Vol.3 is made by The City Talking and produced by Hebe Works in partnership with the BBC; direction is by Lee and Stacey Hicken, and narration by Johnathan I’Anson. The film is supported by LeedsBID.