Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Carleen Anderson & Collaborators Celebrate Songs Of The Civil Rights Movement @ Brighton Festival 2018

Carleen Anderson has been hailed by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, as 'phenomenal and one of a kind' and now, for Brighton Fesival 20018, she's joining ranks with virtuoso pianist Nikki Yeoh, and Mercury Music Prize-winning rapper Speech Debelle.



On stage together for the first time, they will perform unique interpretations of iconic songs from the Civil Rights movement such as Mississippi God Damn, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and many more. 

This special concert at Brighton Dome Concert Hall also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights. 

Born in Houston, Texas, and reared up on the sounds rooted in Gospel music inherited from the Pentecostal church where the pastor, David Anderson, Sr. her paternal Grandfather, and her Grandmother Alberta, raised Carleen from an infant.

Her association with Soul music was inherited from her birth mother, Vicki Anderson, who James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, often claimed as his favourite vocalist. 

Carleen toured with her stepfather, Bobby Byrd, the founder of James Brown and the Famous Flames, who also had a celebrated solo career in his own right. 


It's from these roots that she's created the Cage Street Memorial, a hybrid theatre art form categorised as a Tribal Opera, written and performed by Carleen Anderson. A 21st century telling of the ages.

She told recently told Ebonyonline.net: "Cage Street is the dead end road where my grandfather, David Anderson Sr. built the family home in 1933. 

"It is an area that was originally set aside for the newly freed slaves after their emancipation. 

"Grandfather was a carpenter by trade and an Evangelist by calling. In addition to building churches, grandfather also built homes for his congregation who had been displaced. 

 
"When this church burned down in 1960, he built another church, his first brick structure, in 1962 and named it Cage Street Memorial.
 
"So later I took to writing what I had longed to do since my early youth about my Grandparents" life and the impact of cultural society and political government on a little girl who grew up on the sheltered lane of Cage Street."

Having relocated to relocated to the UK in June 1990, where she was recruited as the vocalist and songwriter for the band, The Young Disciples, they released a critically acclaimed album entitled, Road to Freedom, that included a popular hit song called, Apparently Nothing

Carleen then signed a solo deal and her second album, Blessed Burden, was co-produced in 1998 with Paul Weller

The album included her celebrated cover single of Paul McCartney's Maybe I'm Amazed and her own composition, Woman in Me.

Carleen was the Head of the Vocal Department at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music where she taught vocal performance from 2002 to 2007. 

In 2013 Anderson sang the lead role of Isolde in Julian Joseph's music compositional re-imagining of the legendary Arthurian story of Tristan, performed at the Royal Opera House.

Alongside her work on the Cage Street Memorial, Anderson is being internationally commissioned to compose and arrange music for several Human Rights projects.

A Change Is Gonna Come - featuring Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, and Speech Debelle - at Brighton Dome Concert Hall, on Tuesday 22nd May 2018. CLICK HERE for more info.

by: Mike Cobley




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