Lemn Sissay on Kermit

elspeth.swhmcr 20-09-2014 21-41-03


On 20th Sept (tomorrow night) at 8pm Kermit and me will  be on stage talking together at Gorilla in Manchester. Come. I cannot wait. To my mind Kermit is one the most powerful musical and lyrical forces to have come from Manchester since the stone age.  Roots Manuva cites his Ruthless Rap Assassins as “the roots of Grime”. I remember the assassins from my time in Manchester. Kermit Leveridge went on from Ruthless Rap Assassins to world wide success in Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape. He is the ingredient that elevated both bands.

This world beating blackalicious firebrand Mancunian is a cross between Flavor Flav, Skunk Anansi and Malcolm X.  After touring the world to critical acclaim, smoking crack with gang bangers in Compton, and crossing the near-fatal abyss of heroin addiction, Kermit rises again. His new recording projects, Blind Arcade is set to advance the left-field hip pop agenda. It’s f***ing beautiful.  He is the true voice of Manchester’s world beating musical culture. The Manchester music scene is clogged with melancholic white boys perfecting glum expressions, a nice turn of phrase and a rising harmony.

The true outsider cuts a shadow above them all. Kermit Leveridge does nothing by half measures. The man died. He actually died… then  came back to life. And if you want to know what coming back to life feels like listen to his Blind Arcade with Greg Wilsons devastatingly danceable soundscapes. There are more musical references than in an Old Grey Whistle Test Box Set. But if you don’t nod your head you musn’t have  a beating pulse. Kermit, Greg and I will be on stage together in Manchester  8pm tomorrow night.