Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester

Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester is at The Lowry from Sat 28 September – Sun 23 February.

Blues-ticket & Photo - Brian-Smith

SERIOUS LINE-UP: Blues-ticket & Photo © Brian-Smith

Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester looks to me like one essential exhibition. I discovered the show via http://www.northernsoul.me.uk and an excellent piece by Andy Murray. This is the the vibe.

“Manchester has a rich, diverse musical heritage – and every right to be fiercely proud of it. But you wouldn’t envy the man who tries to tell the entire story. This new exhibition tackles that challenge, avoiding the pitfalls in a smart, intuitive, roundabout sort of way.

Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester -  Denise, Joan and Jodie © Kevin Cummins 1977

Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester –
Denise, Joan and Jodie © Kevin Cummins 1977

“It’s the work of Manchester District Music Archive, a group of local music enthusiasts who know their stuff, and who recognize a cheeky acronym when they see one. First established ten years ago to lobby for a permanent museum devoted to Manchester music-making, they elected to change tack and create an online archive instead. Anyone can contribute to it by submitting their own scans of gig posters, photos, ticket stubs and other artefacts. Over the years it’s become a fascinating, sprawling repository of music memorabilia from every era. It’s completely subjective and personal, and all the better for it. After all, who’s to decide which parts of the Manchester music story are more important than others? Who knows which bits really matter, and which bits don’t deserve a look-in?”

“This exhibition attempts to recreate that idiosyncratic online approach within a gallery space, and with great success, too. Individual ‘co-curators’ – regular MDMArchive contributors, or esteemed guests – have each assembled their own scrapbook-style section within the gallery, with their treasured private belongings either framed on the walls or displayed in cabinets. In this way, they can share their memories, passions, influences: whatever it is about music in Manchester that matters most to them.”

To read more from Andy Murray’s informed take on the show check out the Northern Soul site…“Stuff to do. Stuff to think about.” – but all in all this sounds great. In the mix is the the Hallé Orchestra’s first performance in 1858, Bob Dylan and the Free Trade hall, folk club flyers, gig posters and ticket stubs, photos of Blues legends at the Twisted Wheel alongside images of smokey parties in Hulme, stacks of bootleg cassettes of Factory acts, glam rock sessions and cut-outs from Yanks records. All sounds good to me and this celebration of Greater Mad-chester’s wonderfully diverse musical heritage might just tempt me to head back to my roots to check it out.

Roger Eagle & Millie Small  - Twisted-Wheel 1964- Photography by Brian-Smith

Roger Eagle & Millie Small – Twisted-Wheel 1964- Photography by Brian-Smith

Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Manchester is at
The Lowry: Promenade Gallery, Pier 8, Salford Quays until February 23, 2013

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/event/defining-me-musical-adventures-in-manchester, http://www.mdmarchive.co.uk

About Paul Brad

Freelance journalist / Publisher Editor - Straight No Chaser magazine & From Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: A History Of The UK Jazz dance Scene by Mark 'Snowboy' Cotgrove / Music Fan: Interplanetary Sounds: Ancient to Future / Cultural Event Consultant & Activist / Nei Jia practitioner
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