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Today the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall today revealed the musical responses on the theme of racism, individual and systemic from three Black Birmingham artists.

Each piece was featured on Jazz FM throughout the day before being broadcast across Facebook and Instagram.

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At its best, this is what art should be doing: reflecting what’s happening around the world back at us and making us think about it in a different way.
Anne Frankenstein

In addition to today's broadcasts, the music charity responsible for Town Hall and Symphony Hall are delighted to announce two more commissions as part of this series. Ashley Allen and Namywa will both record their new music on the theme of racism, individual and systemic, for an online broadcast later this year.

Ashley Allen

A growing presence in the Birmingham Jazz & Gospel scene, keyboardist Ashley Allen has performed alongside the likes of Dionne Warwick, Gregory Porter, Aynsley Lister, Julie Dexter, and Omar. Ashley is known for his creative fusion of Jazz, Soul and Hip Hop, whereby he has forged his own sound. He will be performing material from his forthcoming debut album featuring a plethora of Birmingham stalwarts in the line up for his band.


Hailing from Birmingham, Namywa is an international recording artist and songwriter speaking truth to power, with a fearless lyrical approach to subjects that mean a lot to her. Whether singing with just a guitar accompaniment or a full band her unique singing style is leaving music lovers feeling that once again, the world may see another great voice emerge from the region that amongst others, gave the world Joan Armatrading and Laura Mvula.

Namywa’s music is inspired by artists like Amy Winehouse, Diana Gorden, Paloma Faith, Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott. Using life as a muse Namywa writes songs that deliver on true emotions, surprising listeners with a voice and aura way beyond her years, blending genres of R&B, Soul, Jazz and Pop music.

In the live setting, she is quite simply a force of nature, with her striking styling and accomplished stagecraft, making her the focal point of an exciting live band. Namywa accompanied by her live band has supported the likes of Public Enemy, Brian Jackson, The Floacist, Jimmy Cliff, Teedra Moses, Jacob Banks, Etta Bond and played ahead of Gregory Porter and Snarky puppy at Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Loved by fans from all over the West Midlands Namywa has been nominated for Best Solo Female 2020 in the same category as formidable artist Lady Leshurr and Ruby Tuner. Namywa’s live music is a collection of dramatic, powerful songs perfect for the makings of a great debut album. Fans have long awaited the release of new music from this heartfelt songwriter and 2020 promises great things from Namywa and new music for fans to live with.

Central to Town Hall Symphony Hall's Jazzlines programme is its work supporting the creative and professional development of artists throughout their career. Commissioning new work, such as this, is one way of doing so.

Town Hall Symphony Hall's Jazzlines is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner and supported by Arts Council England under the National Portfolio Organisation scheme.

PRS Foundation supports organisations from across the UK which have been selected as PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners. These organisations are working at the frontline of talent development in the UK, supporting a broad range of individual music creators across different music genres and UK regions. This reflects PRS Foundation’s commitment to supporting composers and songwriters of all backgrounds either through direct investment or by helping organisations which nurture music creators and promote their music to audiences at home and overseas.

The Arts Council (ACE) is the national development agency for creativity and culture. By 2030 ACE want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. Between 2018 and 2022, ACE will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help deliver this vision.

Jazzlines is also supported by other generous individuals and organisations.

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