Posts Tagged ‘refugee week’

Celebrating Sanctuary London 2014, Southbank, June 15

Posted on June 6th, 2014 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


Words by Amar Dhillon

Celebrating Sanctuary London returns to the Southbank at Bernie Spain Gardens on June 15 

The annual free festival – regularly drawing crowds of more than 20,000 people – will launch Refugee Week UK with a bang. Featuring live music, dance, comedy, art installations, poetry and spoken word, workshops and food, Celebrating Sanctuary is a monument to, and showcase of, the artistic talent and cultural contribution of refugees in London. Also to look forward to this year are exclusive collaborations that bring together the sounds of Ethiopia and Poland, Syria and the UK.

Afrikan Boy – (Nigeria/UK) the grime MC known for pairing Nigerian beats with London bass. Following the internet-hit ‘Lidl’, the London MC has appeared on MIA’s album Kala, collaborated with DJ Shadow on what Zane Lowe termed ‘hottest record in the world’ and is now working on a debut LP.

Somali Party Southall – (India/UK, Somalia/UK) ‘Little India meets Little Mogadishu’ in the percussion of Kuljit Bhamra MBE and voice of Abdulkarim Raas, fusing Panjabi beats with Swahili vocals.

Rafiki Jazz – (Brazil, Gambia, Mauritius, Senegal, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, UK) Self-defining as ‘where beatbox meets berimbau and Brazil greets Banjul’, this eclectic collective will present their second album At Kriol Junction with their newest member, spoken word artist Sister Elements.

Katy Carr + Haymanot Tesfa – (Poland/UK, Ethiopia) Musician and songwriter Katy Carr has released four albums with her group, Katy Carr and the Aviators. Haymanot has garnered a reputation for her soulful voice and Ethiopian Jazz style since coming to the UK. This exclusive collaboration will explore personal narratives as well as cultural influences.

Gabby Young and Other Animals + Jewan Mohammed – (UK, Syria) Gabby Young’s personal genre of circus swing meets Kurdish vocalist and versatile musician Jewan Mohammed in a truly unique venture. A member of the migrant and refugee group The Crossings Band, Mohammed has already performed with various celebrated Syrian artists.

Click here to full details.

Afrikan Boy – ‘Hit Em Up’

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Africa Special! Refugee Week UK

Posted on June 7th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Diabel Cissokho

East London plays host to an exciting showcase of African talent this month 

This June during Refugee Week (June 16-23), Celebrating Sanctuary and dynamic London-based promoters Focus Organization have given visitors a special opportunity to enjoy some of Africa’s most exciting music at London’s Rich Mix on June 21.

Africa Special! will celebrate the contributions of African communities to the capital, featuring performances from two of London’s most prized African acts – Harare and Diabel Cissokho, as well as a DJ set from self proclaimed king of British Afro-eccentrics AJ Holmes.

Harare, formed by ex-Bhundu Boys member Kudaushe Matimba, have been crowned as one of London’s most compelling Zimbabwean dance bands. They will be rousing the audience with a blend of styles, ranging from jit jive to traditional hypnotic mbira rhythms. Senegalese Diabel is now well established in the UK following a long successful stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, and performances at Glastonbury and WOMAD.

Africa Special! is sure to serve as a symbolic reminder to all of the effect African culture has had on our society. 

Date: Friday June 21 (7pm – 1am)
Venue: Rich Mix
Tickets: £5 Adv, £7 OTD Available Here

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Celebrating Sanctuary London Festival 2013

Posted on May 27th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Etran Finatawa

Celebrating Sanctuary returns as part of Refugee Week

Returning to London this year is the highly anticipated Celebrating Sanctuary London Festival (June 16, 21 & 23). Once again, the festival kick starts Refugee Week (June 17-23)

The annual free festival celebrates the artistic heritage of the UK’s refugee communities – shedding light on their contributions and their influence on cultural life in the capital. For the first time, this year’s Celebrating Sanctuary not only launches Refugee Week, it also returns to Bernie Gardens on the Southbank and to Rich Mix throughout the week. Last year’s festival played host to over 25,000 visitors, with this year looking set to exceed those numbers. 

Headliners this year include:

Etran Finatawa (Niger) Featured in the upcoming issue (July 2013, #93) the African desert-blues four piece come together in solidarity with Celebrating Sanctuary to raise awareness on turbulent political climate in the Sahel region, whilst sharing its rich musical heritage. 

Sam Carter & Lucky Moyo (UK/Zimbabwe) An exciting collaboration between BBC Folk Award winner Sam Carter and Zimbabwean Lucky Moyo, whose choral music draws inspiration from his travels throughout 30 countries – he will be joined by his six-piece African choir. 

Lokkhi Terra (UK) Spanning the sounds of Bangladeshi folk and Cuban rumba, the London based fusion band treat listeners to a melting pot of sounds inspired by the musician’s varying backgrounds. Lokkhi Terra will also be playing at this years Songlines Encounters Festival (June 8) at Kings Place. 

Katy Carr (UK) Nominated for her latest album at the Songlines Music Awards 2013, Katy graces Celebrating Sanctuary with her band The Aviators, telling a musical story to the audience that evokes  an emotional response to the struggle of being a Polish refugee in WWII.

Yiddish Twist Orchestra (UK) Multi-cultural magpies Ben Mandelson and Natty Bo invite us on a journey through London’s diverse musical history; including ventures into klezmer from the East End’s Jewish population, calypso from London’s West Indian communities and rock’n’roll – all with a dash of Latin dance music. 

The Embassy of Refugees (UK) A dramatic art installation by London architect Natasha Reid; the curved timber pavilion inspired by a tree canopy’s natural refuge will host a series of talks that explore the issues surrounding ‘sanctuary’ in art, history and politics. 

More details and announcements will be announced on June 13 on their website

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Two Nights at the Museum

Posted on June 30th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Casablanca, Refugee Week & An Axolotl Odyssey June 22 & 23

South Kensington was the place to be last weekend, with two very different musical events, coincidentally at two of London’s biggest museums – the V&A and the Natural History Museum.

The penultimate event in this year’s Refugee Week took place in the glorious environs of the Victoria & Albert Museum – with the themes of flight, refuge and identity resonating loud and clear in the programme, which included screenings of the classic black & white film, Casablanca, plus music.

Gnawa dub by Moroccan musician Simo Lagnawi echoed around the Grand Entrance, where the piano took a central role during the evening, with British Latin-jazz pianist Alex Wilson performing the first of several sets. The wonderful Jewish Algerian pianist Maurice El Médioni (pictured above) performed in a secluded corner of the Sculpture Gallery, alongside oud player Khyam Allami and percussionist Vasilis Sarikis. Despite having never played together before – and having very different approaches and musical styles – the trio drew a large, enthusiastic crowd crammed in alongside the statues, who evidently delighted in hearing octogenarian Medioni’s unique Arab-Andalusian, boogie-woogie tinged music.

Then time for some refreshment in what is surely one of London’s most ornate and beautiful cafés – for this particular night recreated as Rick’s Café, with a grand piano taking centre-stage. This is where Palestinian singer Reem Kelani sang a rousing set of songs with her trio of musicians on piano, double bass and percussion. Kelani is a dynamic performer and got the audience’s full attention with her engaging and passionate introductions to the songs, many by the Egyptian composer Sayyid Darwish, from her forthcoming album. She dedicated one to the revolution in Tunisia, ‘Babour Zammar,’ by Hédi Guella. A prominent political singer in Tunisia, Guella died shortly after the revolution last year. The song – more commonly known as the ‘Anthem for Emigration’ by Tunisians – speaks of the emigration of young Tunisians to work in Europe. 

Saturday night and another museum – this time the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum – for an altogether different musical affair. The event Live and Roar: An Axolotl Odyssey was commissioned by Pestival, as part of London 2012 Festival and featured novelist DBC Pierre paying homage to the axolotl, accompanied by half a dozen musicians including Bellowhead’s Andy Mellon and Seth Lakeman’s double bass player, Ben Nicholls.

Having previously had no idea what an axolotl was, I can now say that I’ve been fully enlightened. This endangered species from Mexico is a type of salamander possessing the amazing ability to regenerate their body parts. DBC Pierre grew up in Mexico City and had his very own pet axolotl, therefore making him the perfect man to pay tribute to this curious little amphibian. His quirky, amusing eulogy was enhanced by film footage of the creature and scenes of life on the lakes around Mexico City, accompanied by an evocative music score, written by Mellon and Nicholls. Mellon’s mariachi-esque trumpet sounds lent a distinctly Mexican flavour to the whole event – one of the more bizarre yet entertaining events I’ve been to in quite some time.

Photo of An Axolotl Odyssey by Pestival

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