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Soul-funk legend Leee John performs in Woodbridge

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 July 2020

Leee John has performed a special set in Woodbridge Picture: MARK-ANTHONY ABEL

Leee John has performed a special set in Woodbridge Picture: MARK-ANTHONY ABEL

Archant

Eighties singer Leee John has pre-recorded a special lockdown session to support live music venues in the county.

Leee John has recorded a special set which will be broadcast on Sunday Picture: CARL STICKLEYLeee John has recorded a special set which will be broadcast on Sunday Picture: CARL STICKLEY

The singer, founder of the soul-funk band Imagination, performed in Woodbridge to help raise awareness of the plight of local venues during this time.

The performer took to the stage at the Riverside Theatre to record a special live lockdown session as part of the virtual Woodbridge Festival.

He had been due to perform live this year when the festival was cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The performance included the songs ‘Music and Lights’, ‘In the Heat of the Night’, ‘Body Talk’ and ‘Sensuality’.

Woodbridge Mayor Sue Bale and Leee John Picture: MARK-ANTHONY ABELWoodbridge Mayor Sue Bale and Leee John Picture: MARK-ANTHONY ABEL

He then took part in Q+A with festival DJ and Noise of Art founder Ben Osborne about British black music and the need to protect grass roots venues.

“I started out when I was very young,” said Leee.

“I started working venues like this. It’s a blessing to come to a venue like this, you can have an intimate show and you can see people clearly. It’s more up front and personal.”

Leee said the trauma and upheaval caused by the coronavirus meant music now was more important than ever.

“We are helping people through music, it’s giving them an escape,” he said.

Leee is no stranger to Suffolk having performed in Ipswich during the 1980s.

“There was a lively soul, funk and jazz movement in Ipswich, we want to revive that again,” he said.

While in Woodbridge Mr John met with mayor Sue Bale and young Black Lives Matters campaigners from the town.

Ms Bale said: “People have been completely starved of live events and music has been a bit of a medicine for people.

“Woodbridge is a great place to do this and the ability to stream online is a godsend.”

Leee’s set will form part of a bigger virtual lockdown festival with further performances from J.S & The Lockerbillies, Suffolk singer songwriter Peter Hepworth, and choir Pop Chorus.

The lockdown gig will be broadcast on Woodbridge Festival’s website and from associated social media channels this Sunday, August 2, from 7pm.

Although the festival is free fans are asked to donate money to the Save Our Venues campaign which aims to protect music venues.

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