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Corey Mwamba retires from live performance

Back in June 2018, the Derby based vibraphonist set the date for his final gig as 23 March 2019

Corey Mwamba’s show at Baby People Studios in his hometown Derby on Saturday 23 March will be his last.

The improvisor and composer announced his retirement last summer, noting that he had made the decision a few years ago. He will still be making home recordings, read his statement, adding that he will be focusing his energy on the British/Irish jazz and improv communities.

“My life isn’t a comic book and it certainly won’t be the fourth Avengers film, so I won’t be coming back,” he states. “I’m retiring from live performance for a number of reasons. Before I was put into the world of making music for a living, it was something I enjoyed. My relationship with live performance has always been shaky: I still get stage fright. Music has made me more sociable (and social); but also less empowered in terms of personal decision making. This has affected me physically, emotionally, and mentally.”

He continues, “I never planned to be a musician. I started when I was 16, and that was on a large ensemble improv gig with Steve Noble! But I was young enough to be told to do more, and I did. When I started making my own music, it was predominantly electroacoustic. But here at that time, making that music while black was not going to work – any conversation about black British experimental music is a short one, even today, and I am never included in it. So I focussed on vibes playing, as that was something more intelligible. But then the music I wanted to make was towards the totally improvised end. And I don’t live (and have no wish to live) in London. And so there was a rejection on that level too, including from the community who thought that improvised music wasn’t ‘real music’. And then there are The Usual Things, as well as my physicality being objectified (even in bands, by band leaders or managers) or ridiculed.

“And it has been difficult. But I am still here, I am proud of the music I have made, and thankful to those people who have really supported me through that music.”

You can read the full letter on his website, and listen to his music via Bandcamp.