Attenborough Arts Centre will be launching a National touring exhibition entitled ‘Let’s Play Vinyl’ from the 14 October to 24 November.

The exhibition – launching in Leicester this October during Black History Month – uses portraiture and interviews to shine a light on new and more diverse sound systems, which are pushing through the traditions of reggae and vinyl.

Interviews and portraiture by photographer Elliot Baxter will reveal defining characteristics of the new generation that is becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity and the greater emergence of female sound system operators.

The exhibition will begin in the Balcony Gallery at Attenborough Arts Centre on Saturday 14 October, and remain on show until Friday 24 November 2017. It will then continue on to Goldsmiths University of London, Birmingham City University and The University of Huddersfield.

Sam West, Visual Arts Officer for Attenborough Arts Centre, said: “We are really excited and proud to launch this touring exhibition that celebrates the diversity of the new generation of sound system operators. Leicester is home to a thriving music scene and the exhibition really is a must-see for our cultural city.

“On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October we invite audiences to participate in our hands-on workshops including ‘How to build a sound system’, Toasting workshops and the opportunity to bring along and play your own vinyl on our sound system.”

The exhibition forms part of the Let’s Play Vinyl National Tour developed by Let’s Go Yorkshire in partnership with the University of Leicester; Goldsmiths, University of London; Birmingham City University; and the University of Huddersfield.

Let’s Play Vinyl runs from the 14th October to the 24th November.

Talking Sound Systems runs on 14th October from 1pm – 2:30pm
What is the future of sound systems and is vinyl really making a come-back? Join us for a public discussion as we talk about the next generation of UK sound systems and their operators with a panel will including Mykaell Riley, Helene Henry, Paul Huxtable and Vijay Mistry. Book online here.

Play Your Own Vinyl with DJ 745 runs across both days from 3pm – 6pm
Get a chance to play your own reggae vinyl through the Heritage HiFi sound system. DJ 745 will begin the session with an inspiring DJ set before facilitating this immersive experience which forms an intrinsic part of the reggae sound system tradition. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own vinyl – you’ll still get a chance to operate this incredible HiFi! Book online here.

Toasting Lyrical Workshop runs on Sunday 15th October from 12:30pm – 2pm
Are you an inspiring lyricist, performer or rapper? Toasting is a style of lyrical chanting over a reggae rhythm or beat found in ska, reggae, dancehall, and dub; it also exists in grime and hip hop and influenced the development of MCing. In the late 1950s, deejay toasting was developed by Count Machuki who would play the latest hits on his sound system at parties and add his vocals to the music. These toasts consisted of comedy, boastful commentaries, half-sung rhymes, rhythmic chants, squeals, screams and rhymed storytelling. So come along and learn to compose your own lyrics and toasts over dub beats and perform them in front of your family and friends in a friendly celebration.  Book online here.

Have You Ever Played Vinyl Family Workshop runs on Tuesday 17th October from 12 – 1pm and 2pm – 3pm
We all know playing music through your phone just isn’t the same as the physical experience of holding a record in your hands. So bring your family along to this workshop where you and your children will get to operate a 60s Dansette record player and experience music in a tactile and physical way – perhaps for the first time ever!

Then let’s get creative through our fun arts and crafts activities where you’ll get to design and create your own colourful decorations using vinyl records that will be displayed in our main exhibition. Book online here.

Chris is a Sparrow.

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