A huge congratulations to Ezra Collective for not only winning the 2023 Mercury Prize with their album Where I’m Meant To Be and but being the first jazz act to do so, shining a light onto organisations like Kinetika Bloco who support and nurture young talent.
In his acceptance speech Femi Koleoso, drummer and also former Bloco member commended “This moment we’re celebrating right here is testimony to good, special people putting time and effort into [helping] young people to play music … let’s continue to support that,” highlighting grassroots organisations that played a key role in the development of the band. This was a huge moment for the music industry to at long last recognise the thriving scene that is British Jazz, and the organisations that work day in day out with young people who play music.
For every young person at home watching the win, this was a testament that you can make a successful career out of music and dance. At Bloco we are fortunate to have so many positive role models like Femi Koleoso and Ife Ogunjobi who make these achievements tangible and are so grateful that they continue to use their platform to support the next generation coming through organisations like us.
We hope that government funders, as well as the music industry, pay close attention to the important message they make about music education and the greater impact it has on young people. This year we had the opportunity to play on stage with Ezra Collective at the Eventim Apollo, Glastonbury and had a visit from Femi at Summer School where he passed on wisdom, advice and even joined in to play with us.
These are all experiences our young people will never forget. Playing on stage in front of thousands is not the norm for many. However, making these opportunities possible for young people affirms the message ‘This Is Where I’m Meant To Be’.