Review: BBC Urban Proms – Keeping it Real


The Urban Proms were my fourth Proms this year and they were hands down the highlight of this summer.


Jules Buckley conducted a 90 piece orchestra, with artists Laura Mvula, Wretch 32, Maverick Sabre, Lady Leshurr, Fazer and Jacob Banks performing a re-arranged version of their most popular tracks.


Laura Mvula was the main reason for me to book my ticket and it was a revelation to discover Lady Leshurr, whose Busta Rhymes rapping style sent the crowd completely wild (and the orchestra maestros too). Laura’s “Father Father” was an emotional piece that showcased her classical music training and impressive vocal skills.


Another personal highlight was Wretch 32’s rendition of “Traktor”, made even more powerful with the orchestral arrangement.


Great performances by Maverick Sabre and Jacob Banks too.

If you think about it, mixing an orchestra with RnB is not new: just cast your mind back to Motown in the Sixties. Orchestra arrangements were constant features in popular music, and it was great to see the return of an orchestra-rich sound accompanying popular artists.

The finale, Bob Marley’s “One Love” united all performers back on stage for an uplifting end to one of the most unique concerts of the decade and a first for the Proms (urban music was never featured at the Proms before).