Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From BookBrunch: Manchester indie flipped eye goes on the road

Written by Liz Thomson   
Monday, 20 April 2009 09:01

Flipped Eye Publishing, the award-winning small press based in Manchester, has unveiled a house band, l'8 Quintet (pronounced lit quintet), to mark its eighth anniversary. The brainchild of publisher Nii Ayikwei Parkes (who is a finalist for the UK Young Publishing Entrepreneur of the Year Award, to be announced at the LBF next week), the band will play a series of gigs with literary guest musicians such as Roger Robinson and Hisham Matar from July. The gigs follow their official debut at the Southbank Centre on 20 May at a gala evening to celebrate Flipped Eye's milestone and to launch a nationwide series of readings and performances, F8.

The gala launch is described by Parkes as "a fun-filled evening to remind us all why we fell in love with words". Drawing inspiration from the kinds of literary evenings that saw Langston Hughes jam on stage with jazz greats, the programme consists of a quiet session, with readings from short stories and novels, and a "punctuated" session where writers will jam with l'8 quintet while mingling with the audience and enjoying wine from Chile and Argentina, sponsored by South American wines online.

The members of l'8 quintet are keyboardist, trombonist and arranger Dave Holland, saxophonists Chris Rand and Rob Sell, trumpeter Mark Crown, and bass player Hedi Pinkerfeld. Although a young collective, members have played with some of the biggest names in contemporary music, including Courtney Pine, Estelle, Jason Yarde, Finley Quaye, Denys Baptiste and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Parkes, who was born in Ghana, where he has set up a Writer's Fund to promote writing among the country's youth, is a former Poet-in-Residence at London's Poetry Cafe and was British Council Writer-in-Residence at California State University in Los Angeles. Between 2001 and 2005, he was Resident Poet at Borders Charing Cross Road, hosting monthly open mike sessions; he now runs the African Writers' Evening at the Poetry Cafe. Parkes was featured in Granta's New Writers 15 in June 2007 and is credited by the Arts Council as one of the people who, through Flipped Eye's Mouthmark pamphlet initiative, helped inspire Faber's New Poets series of pamphlets. He also has a novel, Tail of the Blue Bird, due from Cape in June.


l'8, left to right: Hedi Pinkerfeld (bass), Mark Crown (trumpet/flugelhorn), Rob Sell (saxes/flute), Dave Holland (trombone/keys/strings) and Chris Rand (tenor sax)


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