SaNTINO @ Belgrave Music Hall

There’s something inevitably intriguing about an event you know very little about. There’s something even more intriguing about an event that doesn’t seem to quite know itself. The precursory advertisement for the SaNTINO event at Belgrave was somewhat ambiguous, but alluring enough to be attractive to Charlotte Bresh, and evidently to quite a few other people as well.

Upon arriving into a room of pink and purple hues, with both a catwalk and a stage set up for a range of musicians, there was the undeniable buzz of a supportive environment. The place was chock-full of students ready to support their model/musician buddies, perhaps still slightly unsure of what exactly they were in for.

After a brief, but necessary explanation from a somewhat unenthused compare, the nature of the night before us became clear, and finally, it began. We were first graced with a walk from Eden Keshia designs (my personal favourite). The powerful, intricate, avant-garde and yet intrinsically feminine designs swept the catwalk, leaving crumbs of velvet dynamite behind them. From then on, followed promising artist Nii, with his Nizlopi/1975-esque sunny performance, setting the event up for its full swing. As a complete fashion novice myself, I was utterly amazed by the warm-up show that RAG created. The designers’ ability to meld current trends with their own originality, alongside the professionalism of the models and in fact the entire production, was astounding to me- it truly demonstrates how lucky we are to be in the incredibly creative city that Leeds is. 

That being said, the collaborative nature of the event would have been nothing without SaNTINO himself. Dedicated to utilising and demonstrating the talent on the Leeds scene, he oversaw the entirety of the show for the night. Joining the energetic young rapper USNA on stage during his earlier set, SaNTINO made an already lively performance even more dynamic. It wasn’t until the very end, and unfortunately after a large portion of the audience had made their exit, that the artist made his headline performance. Following a history of anonymous music-making, the chance to see this eclectic performer live was truly an honour. SaNTINO’s onstage presence and movement are filled with an intrinsic musicality that flawlessly unites elements from an eclectic mix of genres, with playfully poignant lyrics,defying typical boundaries and showing huge promise for things to come. 

“Ultimately, this night was a love letter to the youthful student creative culture in Leeds. “

Even more amazing, as with the final Rag Fashion Show, all proceeds for this event went to LFRS- specifically charities Plastic Ocean and Hubbub. I highly recommend that anyone who can, attends the upcoming RAG fashion show at the end of February, it promises to be a thing of beauty.

Charlotte Bresh