Johnny Marr, Maxine Peake, Peter Hook, Rowetta, Brix & The Extricated, Mark Radcliffe, Factory Acts and many more native and adopted Manchester music icons feature in the innovative album MANCMADE /// ACTS OF HOPE, released on the 24 April 2020 (order link here for CD and digital download). 100% of sales proceeds will go Greater Manchester’s Mental Wellbeing Charity MancSpirit, supporting their ‘Creative Change’ project to engage creatively with homeless and vulnerable people at a particularly difficult time.

Artwork by Paul Evans

Combining edgy music talent with a big heart, the album could be said to uphold two things Manchester is best known for. It was curated by Manchester-based Ben Guy from the band narcissus and will be released by the city’s newest record label, 42’s Records.

This fundraising album features tracks donated by a wide array of talent from across the Manchester music scene; expect an exciting array of genres, from up-and-coming alternative artists to household names. One of the album’s many highlights is a collaborative piece between the legendary Maxine Peake and Johnny Marr titled ‘The Priest’… highlighting that this really is cutting-edge content. Gaz Whelan and Rowetta unite for a punchy ‘Show Me The Truth’ featuring Suga Mike, there’s the innovatively titled ‘302: Come The Revolution – Thieves Will Die!’ from cult favourites MANRAy featuring Peter Hook, and a piece from Mark Radcliffe and Paul Langley’s electro pop outfit UNE… just some further examples of many innovative collaborations on the album.

Innovative content is celebrated with suitably fitting artwork, designed by local artist, designer and photographer Paul Evans (AKA painted.papillon.smile), combining classic Mancunian imagery with stylish design. And the multi-media approach does not stop there! The album after all features gifted wordsmiths as well as musicians, with the final track 'Our City' serving as a kind of ‘theme tune’ to the project featuring music from narcissus, along with Dave Viney delivering the savvy spoken-word he is known for. Now a video (YouTube link here) has been released ahead of the album, allowing all to enjoy the track for themselves…

Other items on the album include ‘Never Wanted This’ by CityLife award winners LIINES, the beautiful ‘Wanderlust’ by James Holt, Salford-based dark electro duo Factory Acts with ‘Car Crash’ (Kerbside mix), ‘Wolves’ from the much-loved Brix & The Extricated, ARGH KiD (previously interviewed by Haunt here) with ‘Neighbours’ and much more! According to SoS (Susan O’Shea) of Factory Acts, a duo also featuring Matt Davies:

“When Ben from Narcissus asked us to become involved in the project we jumped at the chance. For the CD, we reworked a track called Car Crash (Kerbside Mix) which has been brilliantly engineered and mastered by Simon ‘Ding’ Archer who runs 6Db Studios. The track is about how when groups of people go out in town on a weekend, individuals often feel pressurised to behave in a particular way, and end up feeling lonely and empty – so what starts out as fun and full of expectation ends in a ‘car crash’.

“It’s a privilege to share a CD with artistes that we have great admiration for, some who have even inspired us to make music in the first place. However, what is more important to us is that the proceeds from the CD go to a charity committed to working creatively to support people’s mental well-being in the city, particularly with those who are homeless or experiencing social isolation. I spent several years working in the homeless sector in Cork and Dublin, so it is something I feel really strongly about. We hope that the cause and the content strike a chord with people. It’s got brilliant artwork too so please buy the CD, and if you can afford it, the poster and T-shirt too!”

CDs, downloads and a range of merchandise will be available online, with recent photographs even showing Johnny Marr wearing a slick black t-shirt bearing the title of the album… an item that is set to be popular! Combining cool aesthetics with exciting new music, the album and its related content highlight a particularly striking way of charity fundraising at a difficult time – with 100% of all proceeds going to the MancSpirit charity.

According to Damian Carr, co-founder of MancSpirit:

 “Everything we do is aimed at improving mental wellbeing by creating social connections, providing entertainment and offering people the opportunity to join in, make friends and have fun.

“Our ‘Creative Change’ project started with us visiting people struggling with homelessness on the streets, in hostels and day centres, to listen to their needs for creative activity.  We create & facilitate that creative activity to help their mental wellbeing, help them re-engage with the amazing support services out there and, hopefully, help them off the streets and into their own home.

"We value those people and organisations that share our vision of caring for others, helping those that help others, getting stuck in and getting things done. When Ben and 42’s Records offered to support our ‘Creative Change’ project it was exactly what we were about. Greater Manchester’s musicians, artists, writers & designers – Our Creative Community – stepping up, getting involved and taking positive action.

“With the arrival of Covid-19 we soon realised that the project needed to be expanded to include other people who had become isolated, especially the elderly.

Every CD, T-shirt or poster you buy provides us with the funds to expand and develop this work across the whole of Our Greater Manchester."

Artwork by Paul Evans

The origins of the charity also has its roots in part of the title of the album ‘MancMade’, as the charity stems from the MancMade®️ online platform, founded by Paul Ludden, who is also co-founder of MancSpirit. MancMade®️ is known for its continued support and celebration of Greater Manchester based creative talent across the arts, entertainment and business communities, bringing people together on its social channels and promoting the work of local people. No stranger to supporting the local community in an engaging way, MancMade®️ also has a production arm and a popular podcast series. According to Paul himself:

"The MancMade /// Acts of Hope Album has taken a huge effort from Ben Guy, (narcissus) Phil Morris and Andy Wood (42’s Records). When Andy called me to say they'd like to support the charity by putting together an album we had a chat about the artists we could approach. From the start it was massively important to me that this album had a fair chunk of new, up and coming artists involved. The 18 tracks they've come up with absolutely backs that up and they've even managed to get a few Manchester legends involved too.

"Our City, by Dave Viney, is especially poignant for both me and Damian. It's been the unofficial anthem for the MancSpirit Charity since day one. Hearing Dave's beautiful words now backed up by an amazing narcissus track sums up everything about this album and everyone who has helped to bring it to life".

The album and merchandise are available to buy at the 42’s Records website: https://42srecords.tmstor.es/

Images provided by 42's Records

By Emily Oldfield 

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