Abigail Ward (aka Sulky Giro) is a queer DJ, artist and musician from Lancashire, UK.
She thrives on creating absorbing multi-genre musical road trips that are guaranteed to elicit an emotional response, be that on a dancefloor, at an art gallery or in your headphones.
Twelve years as a counter jockey in Manchester’s best-loved independent record shops, Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange and Kingbee, inspired her open-eared eclecticism. A well-schooled crate digger, she excels at stitching together oddball tunes from disparate sources and is not afraid to produce new edits of tracks in order to create the perfect audio collage.
Her abiding musical passions include rare soundtracks, krautrock, deep soul and reggae, but she is equally at ease banging out underground house in a sweaty club, or live-streaming a leftfield pop set from her studio in Hulme. The thread that runs through all of her musical selections is a sense of mystery, melody and a certain voodoo groove.
Also a broadcaster of some repute, Abigail has curated sets for BBC 6 Music, NTS and Reform Radio. As a presenter she is celebrated as much for her subversive badinage as for her musical choices.
Abigail is a co-founder of Suffragette City, an annual large-scale club event celebrating female, trans and non-binary DJ talent, which raises funds for local grass roots charities.
Her most recent bookings include Manchester International Festival, Manchester Psyche Fest, The Riot at Mayfield Depot and Homobloc, where head honcho Luke Unabomber (Electric Chair, Homoelectric) described her thus:
‘She’s like a young Mancuso. Her selections are insanely magical. She’s got that thing. You can’t contrive that or buy or replicate it. It’s deeply esoteric and natural and perfectly balanced. One of the unsung heroes.’
Abigail is a co-founder of Manchester Digital Music Archive, an online community archive established in 2003 to celebrate Greater Manchester music and its social history. She left the organisation in 2020.
Abigail is a songwriter, lyricist and music producer. She is currently undertaking an Arts Council-funded Developing Your Creative Practice project to further her music production skills.
She is also a creative facilitator for Drake Music – a charity that opens up access to music for Disabled people of all ages.
Her work as an audio producer includes:
- Unity is Strength, a podcast exploring rebel women of the trade union movement, commissioned by Manchester Histories
- Not Going Shopping, an audio documentary commissioned by Manchester Pride marking 30 years since the enactment of Section 28
- The Lapsed Clubber Audio Map, a podcast tracking the rave scene in Manchester, commissioned by Manchester Metropolitan University
- Superbia, an audio installation of queer poetry for 2019’s Superbia Gallery, commissioned by Manchester Pride
Curator | Producer | Writer
Abigail has written music features, reviews and sleeve notes for a number of outlets including the Quietus, Red Bull Music Academy, LTM Recordings and Piccadilly Records.
In 2008 she edited and co-designed ‘1 Top Class Manager – the notebooks of Joy Division’s manager 1978-80′, a book about Rob Gretton published by Anti-Archivists.
She recently acted as Consultant Curator on New Order’s box set re-release of their debut album, Movement.
Other clients include: Manchester Metropolitan University, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester Academy, Cultureplex, The Lowry, People’s History Museum, University of Manchester, Liverpool John Moores University
- We Are Dynamite! Rock Against Racism 40th Anniversary exhibition at NIAMOS
- Queer Noise: The History of LGBT+ Music and Club Culture in Manchester at People’s History Museum
- Defining Me: Musical Adventures in Mcr – a major exhibition exploring music & identity at The Lowry
- Moss Side Stories: an online exhibition celebrating music and club life in Moss Side & Hulme
Selected public speaking engagements
- Queer Noise: The History of LGBT+ Music and Club Culture in Manchester, University of Salford
- It’s Alright: A Celebration of Manchester’s Rave Heritage 1985-1995, Manchester Metropolitan University
- We Make Music Inclusive Music Festival, Amnesty International, London
- Putting Women Upfront, Women in Music panel, Ladyfest, Islington Mill