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Mellow Baku

Mellow Baku is one of the newest editions to Leicester’s urban music hall of fame.   Despite this, her exceptional vocals and insightful lyrics have made her someone to be celebrated. Jazz hero Courtney Pine has described her as “a new voice in British music, with an original blend of reggae, soul, jazz and fine pop…superb voice, brilliant music.”  With high accolades such as this, it’s clear that Mellow is something of a lyrical force to be reckoned with.

Born Mellow Harmony Avstreih, Mellow Baku spent her early childhood listening to soul, reggae and jazz. With Rastafarian actor and writer Shango Baku as her father, and a mother who was once a seventies blues singer, Mellow cut her teeth on sharp melodies, smooth sound waves and serene lyrics.

Mellow later moved with her family to a Christian commune, away from trappings of modern culture. There, she developed skills in harmonising, playing guitar and songwriting, using elements of gospel and folk.  After relocating to Leicester, as a fine art student, the young singer began fashioning her own soul-folk tunes, performing them locally.

Mellow has since moved onto making appearances at Edinburgh International Music Festival, The North Sea Jazz Festival, BBC Live events, Camden’s Jazz Café, Birmingham Jazz Festival and at various venues in the US.  She has performed alongside, and collaborated with, a variety of high profile artists from the urban, jazz and folk scenes, including experimentalist Soweto Kinch. In recently supplying vocals for reggae queen Michie One, Mellow had creative encounters with the likes of Jimmy Cliff and Rebel MC.

2006 saw the Leicester-based songstress receive backing from Arts Council East Midlands to further develop her work.  Her EP ‘Mellow Baku,’ was produced by Tony Briscoe – someone who has generated hits for Artful Dodger, Craig David and Beverley Knight. It made the Radio 2 play-list and one of the stand out tracks, ‘Siren Sound’, featured on 2Funky Arts’ best-of-Leicestershire urban artists compilation Tha Lo’Down.

Mellow is soon to release her debut album ‘Patchwork Prophecies’ – supported by hip hop artist Baby J and produced in Leicester’s Deadline Studios. She also collaborated with Baby J on his Babyfood album. Other recent endeavours include performances with El Pussycat and Soothsayers.

Mellow’s cultural background inspires her music in various shades of jazz, roots/ reggae, Afro-centric influences, urban gestures and exquisite threads of storytelling and poetry.  Mellow Baku certainly has the ‘compelling vocal strength and self-composure of someone who is destined to hit the big time’ (69 Magazine).


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