Hackney Jam rocked the house

Young bands from across the borough put on a great showcase demonstrating their diverse musical talents at the Hackney Jam event in Stoke Newington.

Friends and family turned out in force at the Town Hall in Church Street on Wednesday 6 July to support the talented young people who took part in the highly successful, free, live jam session organised by the Stoke Newington Youth Forum (SNYF).

More than 250 people, including talent scouts, were entertained by the 12 youth bands from schools, colleges and youth centres across Hackney that had come together for the first time to perform an eclectic mix of music ranging from classical, calypso and jazz to soul, indie-rock, and hip hop.

The event was a youth-led production that aimed to bring young people together through a variety of musical genres. Rachel Piper, 17, SNYF member and one of the organisers, said before the event: “We wanted to get away from the usual stereotyping around the kind of music young people play and enjoy. It has been a lot of fun working on Hackney Jam, visiting the different auditions and having an input into the music for the showcase.”

The evening, ably hosted by local rising star Zak Sharif-Ali, opened with a lively rendition of popular hits including Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire by Petchey Academy’s Fushion Orchestra. This was followed by crowd pleasing performances from bands, including a jazz combo from Stoke Newington School, Skittlez steel pans from Young Hackney Stoke Newington Centre and Allanah Joy & the Scooters.

Mossbourne Academy’s indie quartet Sherlock’s Dead had the audience on their feet with their haunting lyrics accompanied by heavy drum beats and guitar riffs. Bass player and newest band member Zoe, 13, said: “I was nervous to start with but really loved the response we received from the crowd.”

Following the interval, where the appreciative audience were able to catch their breath and enjoy the food on offer, a rip-roaring performance of Rossini s William Tell Overture by a full orchestra from Stoke Newington School got everyone going again, cheering and clapping along.

An equally high energy and entertaining second half, which included a superb cover of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie by City Soul from City Academy, was rounded off by a soulful performance from SNYF’s own band followed by a roof-raising hip hop finale with original music and lyrics by HD from BSix College.

SNYF member and stage manager Jermain Jackman, 16, who also performed on the night, was delighted with the turnout and the positive feedback received. “Overall, It was a great event for us”, he said. “The energy from the audience, the brilliant performances from the bands and the support staff brought it all together and made the show a huge success.”

Hackney Jam was organised in partnership with Rising Tide and New Variety Lives, with support from Young Hackney, and was funded by the Youth Opportunity Fund.