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SoundCity Partner Spotlight - Carousel


Carousel has been celebrating and supporting learning disabled peoples’ creativity for over thirty years.  It’s the passion and ability that defines these musicians, rather than the fact that they have learning disabilities. 


“If one single act this wonderful weekend sums up the spirit of the Supernormal Festival, it is Zombie Crash, who are equally hilarious and chaotic and brilliant and more punk rock than the distilled soul of Jimmy Pursey, whose clarion-call oik-punk the band occasionally resembles.”

Dale Kattack, Nightshift, Oxford’s Music Magazine, September 2013

That is the effect that Zombie Crash has on most people who see them. It is the band’s passion and ability that defines them, rather than the fact that they have learning disabilities. It is the ethos that runs through all of Carousel’s work – in film and performance as well as in music.


Carousel has been putting learning disabled peoples’ creativity first for over thirty years and is recognised internationally for its inclusive approach and the excellence of its projects. For musicians and DJ’s Carousel provides a supportive environment that encourages individuality and is dedicated to promoting the work beyond the learning disabled circuit.


There are currently six bands working alongside Carousel, under its music division Shut Up And Listen. Pop rock quartet Beat Express have been together for over ten years, writing and composing their own material and performing in the UK and Ireland. A newcomer to the fold is singer songwriter Daniel Wakeford, star of TV’s The Undateables and a contender for European Song Festival 2014 – he sang his power ballad Black of Lonely in Stockholm last May.


Sharing the skills of learning disabled artists who have worked with Carousel for some years is also important. From April to June this year, Shut Up And Listen ran a digital music project at Blatchington Mill School. Over six weeks, a small group of young people worked with Carousel’s learning disabled practitioners using state of the art accessible technology and created a piece that was performed in Brighton Dome.


“All students seemed to really enjoy it and always seemed excited when the lesson was mentioned. Even the shy students who normally would refuse this kind of lesson enjoyed taking part and using all of the different equipment.”

Teaching Staff, Blatchington Mill School, June 2014


Coming soon is the popular I CAN DJ course, which offers ten learning disabled people the opportunity to learn music and video projection making.


As a vibrant and necessary company on the Brighton music scene, Carousel has been involved with Brighton and Hove Music and Arts Service for many years. SoundCity offers a great platform to share experience and its reach into the community is welcome for an organisation that straddles youth and disability arts. 


So, how does it all sound? The best way to hear Carousel bands is to visit Shut Up and Listen on the website or download a podcast of the monthly radio show which gathers up the best of learning disabled music from around the world, interspersed with news features.


Or come to a gig. Zombie Crash are supporting High Wycombe rockers Jettblack in London on 31 July, and other Carousel bands will be at The Blue Camel Club in Brighton on 8 September and at the regular Rock House event on 16 September. You can find out about all Carousel activities, and how to apply for the I Can DJ course, on the website



Carousel has been celebrating and supporting learning disabled peoples' creativity for over thirty years

A music taster day for children and young people supported by the Fostering & Adoption Service

In September, every pupil in Year 7 will have the opportunity of learning to play a musical instrument or learning to sing. Find out more and apply online

25 pupils from Brighton & Hove have been nominated to receive two years' of tuition and support as part of Awards for Young Musicians Furthering Talent programme

Calling all those professionals who are working in music with children and young people in Brighton and Hove.  Sign up for our SoundCity Conference/Joint Practice Development Day

BHMA will be a champion for the new BBC initiative called Ten Pieces, aiming to inspire a whole generation of children to get creative with classical music.  To be launched in the Autumn with special screenings

Planning for our annual concert at the Brighton Centre is well underway. This year, we'll be featuring some newly composed numbers by pupils at Downs View, Hillside & Downs Park Schools

The Brighton Youth Orchestra String Ensemble and young dancers from Brighton & Hove wowed the Music for Youth's National Festival judges recently, winning the Innovation Award

The Great Escape, one of Europe's largest festivals for emerging bands, took place recently in Brighton. More than 400 acts performed in Brighton & Hove over 3 days in 35 venues

Our young musicians in BHMA Big Band and Concert Band kick-started the open air performances on the Brighton Festival Fringe City stage attracting one of the biggest crowds of the day

Our most advanced dance students (members of our satellite Centres for Advanced Training) will perform in the summer showcase at The Place, the UK's premiere centre for dance

Mon 6 and Tues 7 Oct for primary schools at the Brighton Dome studio. For secondary schools performances, visit

Drum Kit teacher Sam Glasson tells us of his love of percussion, his musical family and starting off with knitting needles on his mum's bucket

If so, would you be interested in meeting up with other players, sharing old photographs or helping current members of BYO reach their potential?

Workshop for oboe and bassoon players - free for anyone learning through the Music Hub – 20 places available.

Exciting new training opportunity for adults involved with music making and singing with children and young people.

The sound of music filled the studios and corridors of the Music Centre as over 450 young people took part in vocal and instrumental courses, forming bands and ensembles and learning new music in a range of styles.  

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