Artist Profiles: Neil Sparkes

Neil Sparkes – Photo by Phil Houghton

Neil Sparkes is a visual artist, musician and poet whose work resonates through both artistic and popular cultural worlds.

Sparkes is widely known as vocalist and percussionist with indie world beat dance group TransGlobal Underground with whom he toured the World from 1992 to 1996 and world fusion pioneers Temple of Sound.

Sparkes has performed on international stages across the globe for many years on the frontline of world music dance and dub. His passion for Jazz has been at the core of his many collaborations notably with UK saxophone legend Dick Heckstall-Smith.

As a musician and producer Neil Sparkes has worked with Peter Gabriel, Los De Abajo, Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali (nephews ofNusrat Fateh Ali Khan), Jah Wobble, Natacha Atlas, Adrian Sherwood, Hossam Ramzy and Linton Kwesi Johnson among many others.

Sparkes’ poetry is published by Billy Childish’s Hangman Books with a new collection Drums In The Rain (2006).

“The Rhythms Inside My Head” includes visionary watercolors created in Mexico City; Afro-Cuban inspired imagery and Studies for a series of artworks commissioned by Jah Wobble. Masks faces of friends, musicians and musical motifs populate his visual world alongside pictures inspired by life on the coast in South East Kent. His pictures are personal and iconic rhythmic and infused with a love of color and texture.

Sparkes’ work draws from world cultures he has lived and worked with researched and experienced.

His visual art practice interacts and influences his music and text and show a complete vision for his energy and combine new images ideas and visual invention continuously in his work.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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