“There’s so much inspiration here, Manchester has a unique creative energy”

The city is all set to host the renowned Manchester International Festival this summer, so we caught up with one of the headline acts, Afrodeutsche.

Afrodeutsche at Manchester International Festival

Among the talented artists gracing the festival’s stages is Afrodeutsche, an exceptional musician and composer who embodies the city’s spirit of creativity and innovation.

Having lived in Manchester for 18 years, Afrodeutsche has carved a unique path in the music industry, fusing classical compositions with electronic beats and captivating vocal elements.

Her boundary-pushing style has garnered critical acclaim and established her as a prominent figure in the contemporary music scene.

The Manchester connection

Afrodeutsche’s connection to Manchester runs deep.

Having worked in London with acts like Rokyskopp, The Knife and Moby, she ended up settling in Manchester, drawn in by the city’s ‘creative energy’.

She said: “I had friends who lived in Manchester, and I used to visit them at weekends back in the day.

“We would go to Liverpool and then return to Manchester. I would then head back to London. During those visits, I fell for someone who was a jazz musician.

“Every Friday, I would come to Manchester, get off the train, and walk down to Matt and Phred’s where he would be playing. I would sit, eat pizza, and listen to jazz.

“But on Monday morning, I would be so stressed and distressed because I had to leave this place that I was falling in love with.”

Manchester Camerata

After settling in the city, she told us how in many respects, her upcoming collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Factory International and Manchester Camerata is a match made in heaven.

She continued: “In terms of content, it is a perfect collaboration, Manchester International Festival and Factory, and The Manchester Camerata.

“All of these institutions stand for unique creativity, really pushing the envelope and trying cutting-edge stuff.

“For this year’s performance with Manchester Camerata, we’re creating modern psalms.

“I’m combining live vocals, classical piano, the Manchester Camarata, and my electronics to create something unique.

“My electronic style has its own distinct sound. It’s a journey of faith, where I’m writing psalms of worship, all inspired by Handel.

“The performance starts with a cool vibe, taking you through time, and builds up to a grand finale with a full orchestra, vocals, and electronics. I wanted to create an experience that would make people want to come back to the venue, even if they’ve never been there before.

“I wanted it to feel like a place you’d want to return to. By incorporating candlelight, I aimed to transport the listeners back to the 1700s when orchestras were enjoyed in that ambience, without any modern lighting distractions.

“Classical music sometimes feels elitist to people, but I wanted to create a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy it without feeling excluded. It’s meant to be a place where they can feel comfortable.”

The city’s vibrant energy and rich musical history have been significant influences on her artistic journey.

Manchester’s creative energy

Inspired by iconic Manchester bands, as well as the renowned electronic music scene, Afrodeutsche found herself drawn to the city’s unique creative energy.

During her formative years, Afrodeutsche immersed herself in the world of music, exploring various genres and styles.

Her early exposure to classical piano nurtured a deep passion for composition, which she later expanded upon.

It was during this time that Afrodeutsche began to experiment with electronic music, infusing it with her classical background to create a truly distinctive sound.

She released her own music independently, captivating audiences with her mesmerising performances at local venues. Collaborating with fellow musicians further expanded her artistic horizons and pushed her to continually evolve her unique musical style.

Now, Afrodeutsche is gearing up for her highly anticipated performance at the Manchester International Festival.

Known for its commitment to showcasing groundbreaking works and fostering collaboration, the festival is the perfect platform for Afrodeutsche to share her innovative compositions with a wider audience.

She said: “I actually started out working for MIF as a guest liaison, so to be up there playing is such a great thing.

“Hopefully it shows to any fledgling musicians, that it can give them a bit of hope no matter where they currently are in life. I played back in 2016 at Festival Square. So to be asked to play this year, it’s such a great privilege.

“With the Factory International space, it’s so unique. Having been inside, I felt like I was transported to another city, another space.

“I could have been anywhere in Europe, or even America. It was extraordinary—the scale, the shape, the ambition behind it. You have to respect what they are trying to do there, it really could be groundbreaking.”

Afrodeutsche’s performances at the festival promise to be immersive experiences, transporting the audience to new sonic realms.

Her ability to blend classical, electronic, and vocal elements creates a captivating and evocative atmosphere that resonates deeply with listeners.

Through her music, she seeks to connect with audiences on a profound level, eliciting emotions and sparking a sense of awe and wonder.

Beyond the Manchester International Festival, Afrodeutsche’s ambitions as a musician extend to breaking new ground and inspiring others.

Manchester’s creative spaces

When asked about the creative spaces in Manchester, she was adamant that the city’s rise and rise must not crowd out creative people and endeavours, that make the city what it is today.

She said: “Over the past 20 years, I’ve witnessed many changes in Manchester.

“Places like Factory International become even more vital to provide a stage for people to perform.

“As for gentrification or the city becoming a second London, I believe it’s about elevating the city without separating it from what makes it great.

“Making people aware of the immense creativity here, without putting it on a pedestal.

“I think it’s about elevation. Lifting up the city and showcasing its creative abundance. It’s not just about music or the Hacienda. Manchester is a city of art, amazing theatre, and everything you could ever want creatively.

“Even the food scene has been elevated. So, while there’s space for grassroots and DIY collectives, there’s also room for elevation and growth.”

She aims to contribute to the ever-evolving musical landscape by exploring new avenues of expression and collaborating with artists from diverse disciplines. Her vision transcends boundaries, with a firm belief in the unifying power of art to bring people together.

Manchester’s diversity

Her ability to seamlessly blend genres and push musical boundaries reflects the spirit of Manchester itself—a city that embraces diversity, fosters creativity, and encourages artists to defy conventions.

When asked to describe her sound, she said that it was something she’d struggled with throughout her career.

She said: “I’ve struggled with this throughout my entire career.

“Recently, someone called me a polymath, and I had to Google the term because I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. But I realised I agree with it because I have a deep love for sound.

“Sound, for me, is a powerful means of translating life. It helps me understand the day-to-day experiences. My music acts as a translator, allowing me to make sense of what I’m going through. Since my discipline spans various genres, I work with whatever resonates with me at that particular moment.

“For example, I recently released a single with the black artist database, and it’s jungle music. It’s a far cry from what we’ll be doing at MIF.

“The jungle scene was just starting to emerge when I was younger, and it captured my ears.

“I was drawn to its beats and breaks, and that fascination has stayed with me. But there are other aspects of sound that I explore as well. I see sound as landscapes that can translate and make sense of a director’s visual creations.

“I can achieve that with audio. Additionally, my classical background brings in a timeless language where words are unnecessary. Classical music has a universal understanding and communicates purely through emotions.

“Maybe you can listen and tell me what you think? haha”

Manchester’s creative spirit

Afrodeutsche’s presence at the festival is a testament to the city’s ongoing commitment to celebrating and nurturing local talent.

At the Manchester International Festival this summer, Afrodeutsche’s enchanting music will not only captivate audiences but also reaffirm Manchester’s status as a hub of artistic brilliance.

Join Afrodeutsche at the Manchester International Festival this summer, and witness the magic of her genre-defying compositions firsthand.

Prepare to be transported to new realms of sound and experience the creative spirit of Manchester.

You can get your tickets here.

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