The family at Elephant Walk are very proud of our youngest member of the movement Heru Hailstones who is now gaining a lot of attention on the UK Hip Hop/Grime scene following his recent Warm Up Session on SBTV.
As well as delivering a thought provoking and heartfelt session he received the unprecedented public backing of both award winning artist Akala ‘Kingsley’ Daley and creator of SBTV, Jamal Edwards. But it has been a long road and young Heru’s success is rooted deeply in the African Village principle that “It takes a village to raise a child”.
Heru is my youngest Son who first jumped on stage and grabbed a microphone at a street party on All Saints Rd put on by the late, great Daddy Vego (Peoples Sound in our local area of Ladbroke Grove) around 2005. At the time I was stage managing and performing with our family collective and youth drumming group Got2Remember (G2R) when he was 1 year old.
I started G2R in 2001 with my eldest Son Nathan (Subz) as an inter-generational bridge of communication and re-connection with African culture using the African Djembe drum and Oral tradition/Storytelling to reveal it’s survival and continuity through history, and connect and identify its value, multiple uses and rebirths within contemporary forms of modern black music like Hip Hop and Grime.
By 2007 Heru was 3 years old and fully engaged and regularly playing Djembe drum with G2R , and elder statesman of African music in the UK, Baba Adesose Wallace. This would count as his first year practically involved in the business and regularly drumming with the collective. Between 2001 and 2007, G2R produced and provided independently a wide range of projects, workshops, performances, and events in a variety of environments including schools, colleges, universities and grassroots local community centres across London. Heru was born into this movement and as I often explain, has been surrounded by the sound of drums, word sound power and community activity since he was in the womb.
He went on to spend 3 years studying with Baba Ade every Monday evening at a local community centre, the Harrow Club. This, along with everyday inclusion in his fathers various commercial and community based musical activities, laid the foundations for the development and expansion of Heru’s social conscience, musical potential and creative ability.
Heru was also heavily influenced by his 2 elder brothers Nathan (Subz) and Simba (Where’s Juntao) Subz, a popular figure in the ‘Grove’, had also grown up surrounded by music during the period of time I was a touring session musician (1990 – 2005) and was the instigator of what would become the foundation of the rap/spoken word element of G2R. Our regular musical collaborations and productions led to him inviting his close friends Zikko (Watusi87) and Meshak Jones to join G2R. Watusi and Meshak became leading members of G2R and Elephant Walk or HQ as it is now known became a central underground base for the development of local youth talent, knowledge of self and positive word sound power in the community. Watusi and Meshak would later go on to form conscious Hip Hop collective, RU1Fam. Whilst all this was going on Heru consciously and subconsciously absorbed the word sound power around him like a sponge and would often be able to repeat everyone’s verses word for word.
By 2009 G2R and the Elephant Walk family has expanded into a another phase of development with the birth of the Roots Renaissance and an even larger collective, Afrikan Revolution. We then ran monthly Roots Renaissance gatherings for the following 5 years at The Hootananny, Brixton, Favela Chic, Hoxton and the Flyover Portobello, Ladbroke Grove of which Heru took part in all. That alone would make 60 – 70 gigs, so I’d say that by the end of 2015 he’d have taken part in well over 100 live music events with a full band of an average of 15 artists and musicians on stage. This does not include workshops and a variety of other community, educational and therapeutic sessions.
It was also around this time that I was introduced to Akala by Ian Soloman Kawaal of May Project Gardens. This began a working relationship that would blossom into collaborations and develop in a true family sense with both myself and Heru now regularly working with Akala and The Hip Hop Shakespeare Family to this day.
It takes a village to raise a child and Heru is a true example of this principle. He has ‘paid his dues’ by old school standards and now has over 10 years of experience under his belt. We are looking forward to what the future brings and the future is shining bright. #comewego2017 #ittakesavillage #walklikeanelephant
Look out for special previews, releases and free downloads over the coming months http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rov7brsZ07g