NYJO Learning: King’s Cross schools tour

July 2, 2024

Our multifaceted summer project for young people in King’s Cross, London, gets started on 15 July with a week-long tour of local secondary schools. The tour will be fronted by the singer SHANTÉH, who is one of the lead vocalists of renowned south-east London afro-jazz collective Steam Down and the UK Colombian jazz collective, Mestizo. She will be joined by NYJO Emerging Professionals Miles Pillinger on drums, Emmanuel Oke on piano, Amelia Wilding on bass, and Olivia Cuttill on trumpet. Together, the band will spread the word amongst King’s Cross communities of local opportunities coming up later in the summer with NYJO.

Modelled on our annual First Time Jazz schools tour, the band is designed to be young, diverse, and relatable, enabling young people in this area of inner-city London to see something of themselves in the musicians on stage. Together with SHANTÉH, they will create a set that balances figures in the jazz canon with more familiar and contemporary artists from the wider jazz universe including soul, R’n’B, and subgenres of UK rap. We want the visits to feel fresh, relevant, and inspiring, simultaneously introducing young people to a new musical world and welcoming them into it.



This is especially important for this tour, because it will help get young people involved in our upcoming summer project, taking place in a local community venue across 2 weeks at the end of the month. Again led by SHANTÉH but co-facilitated with spoken word artists Millie-Rose and Nomadic, the project will focus on creating poetry, lyric and rap content with young people on themes of identity and belonging.

This material will then by shaped into a final performance with more members of Steam Down on 25 August, as part of the Summer Sounds festival in Coal Drops Yard. Free to all, this means that the original schools tour is feeding through into a major headline performance. We want to bring young people along for the whole process, and are excited to get it started in local schools from 15 July.

To see the final celebration of the project, join us on 25 August in Coal Drops Yard. The festival is free and unticketed, so just turn up and enjoy the music, and find out more here.

Lucy-Anne (EP quote)

“Since joining NYJO, I’m so much more confident as a performer. Especially in terms of being able to entertain and keep the crowd engaged with you. It’s really nice to be able to feel that difference.” 

Lucy-Anne, NYJO Emerging Professional (Vocals)

Georgia (EP quote)

“It’s hard to just learn this music in the practice room but being immersed in the music at NYJO is a great environment to really push my playing. ” 

Georgia Ayew, NYJO Emerging Professional (Drums)

Sam Eastmond (MD quote)

"Giving them space to create whatever they wanted, without setting parameters of idiom or style helped them to conceptualise how they could bring these new concepts into their work without scaring them off, or mystifying the process."

Sam Eastmond, NYJO Educator

Jazzwise quote

"NYJO has never been conformist, never hewing to one particular line, never known for fawning replications and very deliberately these days a vehicle for new possibilities."

Jazzwise Magazine

Lydia (EP quote)

"The past year has been an absolutely incredible experience, pushing me way out of my comfort zone into playing with some of the greatest young jazz players of my generation and getting to call them my colleagues and friends has been beyond inspiring, and also an obscene amount of fun!"

Lydia Cochrane, NYJO Emerging Professional (Saxophone)

Anna (Learning national quote)

"[The NYJO residential in Cumbria] helped me to make friends with other young musicians. I enjoy playing a lot more and I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished. I feel more confident now. I have learnt different ways of coming up with solid melodies and also a little bit on harmonies. I think it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had."

Anna, NYJO Learning Widening Access participant

Briony (Learning U18s quote)

"I’ve felt very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing musicians, and I think that the environment at NYJO – which has fostered creativity and improvisation – has allowed my confidence and musical ideas to grow."

Briony, NYJO Under 18s

Oscar (Learning U18s quote)

"I think I’ve progressed a lot in my piano-playing. NYJO has helped me to flourish and really enjoy it. I’ve really enjoyed being engrossed in a high level of playing and learning things in a hands-on-way. I also like the diversity of perspectives and abilities of all the players and teachers which enables me to try things I might not normally."

Oscar, NYJO Under 18s

Jennie (Learning U18s quote)

"NYJO has got me listening to more jazz and learning more changes. It has also helped with working as a band. I’ve really enjoyed the free jazz, learning by ear, the people, and the atmosphere."

Jennie, NYJO Under 18s

Leah-Anais (Learning U18s quote)

"I love the people at NYJO. Everyone here is so encouraging and lovely and it makes the experience worthwhile. Though I have fun I’m still learning on the way which makes me feel productive too."

Leah-Anais, NYJO Under 18s

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