Meanwood Festival goes global with DJ set live from Kenya

The line-up for this year’s Meanwood Festival has just been given an international boost thanks to DJ connections at a local radio network.

Kenyan DJ George Ouma Odhiambo - aka DJ Jojo - will stream a set live from Nairobi on Saturday 6-7pm with Meanwood Radio for Meanwood Festival 2020.
Kenyan DJ George Ouma Odhiambo - aka DJ Jojo - will stream a set live from Nairobi on Saturday 6-7pm with Meanwood Radio for Meanwood Festival 2020.

The popular festival - which organisers are this year taking online due to the coronavirus pandemic - showcases the creative talents of people from in and around the area.

And a recent addition to the bill is a line-up of DJ sets courtesy of online radio station Meanwood Radio - including a live link-up with a DJ in Africa.

Kenyan DJ George Ouma Odhiambo - aka DJ Jojo - will stream a set live from Nairobi, featuring Benga music, from 6pm to 7pm on Saturday July 11 as part of a five-hour set alongside four Meanwood DJs.

Sam Pennells - aka DJ Sammy P - of Meanwood Radio

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    DJ Jojo runs a 'Jojo Records' in Kenya and in 2009 he founded ' Jojo Records Foundation' to promote Benga music beyond Kenya and to create a library of Kenyan and East African music history.

    James Heselwood, 32, who launched Meanwood Radio two years ago, along with fellow DJ Sam Pennells, 29, said he made contact with DJ Ouma Jojo during lockdown.

    “I saw his stream online and followed him and he followed Meanwood Radio and suggested doing something together so I asked if he wanted to do this event. So there will be four DJs from Meanwood and one from Nairobi, Kenya.”

    Meanwood Radio features DJ sets, primarily on Facebook and Mixcloud, recorded by James and Sam and other local DJs who send their mixes into the station.

    DJ James Heselwood, founder of Meanwood Radio, which is taking part in this year's Meanwood Festival

    James said its fanbase is “growing quite fast” with over 600 followers on its Facebook page and a collection of over 150 shows on Mixcloud, but this is the first time Meanwood Radio has taken part in Meanwood Festival.

    He said: "We were planning on getting involved physically this year, and then coronavirus happened and it all got cancelled. They [festival organisers Meanwood Valley Partnership] suggested we could do something online instead and this seemed to be the perfect thing."

    He added: "Meanwood is a really vibrant place and it's good for us to get involved. I would love to do a physical event next year."

    Ron Baker, one of the Meanwood Festival organisers, said: "This is an exciting addition to the Meanwood Festival Online programme. Great to have Meanwood Radio on board. And Meanwood reaches out to Nairobi - amazing!"

    The Welcome Back to Leeds website features advice on what shops are open, where to park and more.

    This Saturday, the DJ set starts from 4pm with Meanwood DJ Jamie Tregurtha playing soul and funk records; James Heselwood playing reggae, funk and afro from 5-6pm; DJ Ouma Jojo from 6-7pm; Joe Hughes with disco and house from 7-8pm and Sam Pennells, aka ‘Sammy P’ with house and techno from 8-9pm.

    Search ‘Meanwood Radio meets DJ Ouma JoJo’ on Facebook or visit Meanwood Radio's Facebook page or the Meanwood Festival 2020 Facebook pagefor more information.

    Meanwood Festival 2020 also has a YouTube channel set up for this year.

    As previously reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, submissions for this year also include songs, music, poetry - for young and old, photography and even a two-part story from six-year-old Alice Swales called 'Barbie Goes Camping'.

    The videos - most recorded specifically for the festival - include North Leeds Community Singers' (NLCS) 'lockdown special' performance of James Bay's Hold Back The River and Allerton High School year 12 music students virtually performing Keane's Somewhere Only We Know.

    Anyone wanting to contribute can email at [email protected]

    Welcome back to Leeds is an info hub designed to help guide you safely back to the city centre in the months ahead. #backtoleeds

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