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Blog: Meet Collective X

We catch up with supergroup Collective X ahead of their gig here in May.

Who are Collective X?

Collective X are a family of musicians, producers, poets and dancers who create music and live experiences together.

There are so many producers, poets and performances who are a part of the collective. How did everyone come together?

Collective X was founded by vocalist and producer Alya Al-Sultani in response to the increasingly hostile environment immigrants and people of colour have found themselves in Brexit Britain. Many of the musicians and artists have worked together before and under Collective X, our family has grown and new music has emerged as a result of us getting together and voicing our experiences through music, poetry and dance.

What should people expect from Love & Protest?

Because of why Collective X came together, it’s easy to think that the music is going to be angry, but we are each complex individuals with many emotions and ideas. The name Love & Protest came from this idea – that despite many things in the world deserving protest, we must also not forget to love each other and ourselves.

The album is characterised by amazing grooves, a funk and soul sensibility, seeking of freedom through improvisation, love and humour. Collective X features some fantastic performances from leading UK musicians, each a solo artist in their own right.

Love & Protest explores some important and serious subjects like the honour killing of Banaz Mahmod. Why is it vital to discuss these subjects using music and poetry?

This is a great question! After the initial shock or immediate feelings around something like what happened to Banaz, we need to process and move forward. Music and poetry voice something within us that is often difficult to describe. We also honour our sisters like Banaz by writing a song for her, recording it and it then always being there. Art is forever.

Collective X will also be joined by Cleveland Watkiss’ UK All Stars and TriForce. Is this the first time everyone is coming together, or have you performed together before?

This really is a lot of great music in one night. Cleveland Watkiss MBE is a former Jazz Warrior and was nominated for a MOBO last year. His new project brings all of his vocal prowess and musicality forward on his terms with a great group of collaborators including the extraordinary Byron Wallen.

Triforce are a relatively new band, signed by one of our favourite music labels Jazz Re:freshed. They are young and have an amazing hiphop-influenced sound – a true London sound.

And joining Collective X are special guests Heidi Vogel, probably the greatest female jazz singer in this country, and classical Indian dancer Maryam Shakiba. It’s going to be a show!

What else is planned for Collective X after the performance here?

Collective X are headlining Jazz in the Round at the Cockpit Theatre in June and then heading off on a UK tour including Manchester Jazz Festival, Greenbelt Festival and Marsden Jazz Festivals. We’ll then get back into the studio to make more music in different constellations and see what emerges. It’s an exciting time and we would love to connect to as many people as possible right at the beginning of this amazing journey.

Love & Protest

Making their Stratford Circus Arts Centre debut this season is Collective X - a supergroup of musicians, poets and producers.

Fri 11 May
Book now >>

Love & Protest

Fri 11 May

Book now >>