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The BrownBear Movement

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February 7, 2012

David Tracey

Last semester, BrownBear’s night Tag Yourself stormed Hannafords with the combined talents of great artists, both visually and musically, resulting in the bar having one of its busiest nights of the year.
The debut Tag Yourself was held at Knights Park back in May 2011. It was initially just a university project, but it picked up enough steam to turn into something big, thanks to a great turnout.

Hashim Riaz, a third year music student, and one of the founding members of BrownBear, explained the concept of the event as ‘a mash up of the arts, starting with acoustic acts, followed by bands, then 140bpm DJs, ending with drum and bass.’ These things alone make for a great night, but he decided to use his connections to graffiti artists and illustrators to create art throughout the night, allowing for the added bonus of audience participation.

A selection of acts comprising of talented Kingston University music students made for a great evening, and DJs from Lifestyle Recordings ended the night with a bang. Hashim said ‘We’re always meeting random talented people; there is something in us that can spot the potential in them. If we can give them a stage, we want them to come and play.”

While Hashim takes credit for the original idea, he dislikes the term ‘leader’. Instead, he prefers to see the core members of the movement as a collective consisting of Liam Sharpe, Ed Charmichael, Matthew Milne and Ben Taylor. Some were friends before university, others met during, but they were united by a love of music.

BrownBear also runs a radio show, The BrownBear Hour, which began as a shot in the dark: ‘We [Hashim and Liam] are registered sound engineers, and the woman we were working for at the time approached us and said ‘Guys, I do a Korean community radio show, and I like your music, would you like to be a part of it?’ We thought it was a bit unusual, but, being opportunists, we jumped at the chance.’

The show has gone from strength to strength, giving a spotlight to upcoming artists (some of whom have since become signed), and is now broadcast on both Korean radio via the internet and Kingston Green FM. They have also been broadcast on Fresh Radio (check out http://freshradio-kusu.blogspot.com).

If Hashim’s enthusiasm is anything to go by, BrownBear have some pretty big and exciting plans for the future, and will be a good stage for fresh talent in the arts. Keep up-to-date with the boys by searching for ‘The BrownBear Hour’ on Facebook today!