Posts Tagged ‘wow’

Jude Kelly announces resignation from Southbank Centre to lead Women of the World

Posted on January 18th, 2018 in Recent posts by .


©Sara Shamsavari

Jude Kelly, CBE and artistic director at London’s Southbank Centre, has announced she will leave her current role in order to lead the global development of Women of the World Festival

Since joining the Southbank Centre in 2006, Jude Kelly has maintained the belief that art should be available to all, not just a privileged few. Through her bold programming and artistic vision, she has ensured the venue remains welcoming to all; over 26 million people visit the centre each year.

During her time as artistic director, Kelly has overseen a diverse array of projects, including Africa Utopia, Alchemy (celebrating the arts and culture of South Asia), Nordic Matters, classical and contemporary music festival The Rest is Noise, BAM: Being a Man, Imagine Children’s Festival and more. In 2015 she was awarded a CBE for services to the arts.

Perhaps her most notable achievement to date, however, has been founding WOW: Women of the World Festival in 2010. Now a global movement, the festival has been held 43 times, spreading to over 23 countries and across six continents. Comprised of theatre, talks, activism and more, the festival celebrates the talent, history and potential of females in all fields, while also underlining the barriers which continue to hinder the achievement of gender equality. Kelly plans to lead the further global development of WOW.

Read Jo Frost’s interview with Jude Kelly, and hear her exclusive Songlines playlist in the August/September 2017 issue (#130).



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Women of the World: Fatoumata Diawara & Angelique Kidjo

Posted on March 12th, 2013 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Royal Festival Hall, London, March 8

Words by Simon Broughton (photography by Roger Thomas)

I’ve been to many memorable concerts in the Royal Festival Hall, but few as special as this. Fatoumata Diawara, from Mali, having been a newcomer (and awarded in our Songlines Music Awards last year) has become a mature artist. She strode onto the stage with stature – elegantly dressed in red and yellow robes and turban. It was International Women’s Day and every mention of the fact drew applause. But Fatoumata has also become a musical ambassador.

As the South Bank’s artistic director Jude Kelly pointed out in her introduction, Fatoumata has recently pulled together many of the top Malian stars to record ‘Mali-ko’, a peace song for Mali and speaks for the women of Mali in many of her songs. ‘Moussou’ is a song paying tribute to the women of Mali – “women give birth to rich people, poor people, heads of state” – and she said she hoped to see a female president of Mali one day. Seeing the success of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Joyce Banda, President of Malawi – and given the current situation in Mali – one hopes it’s not too long.

Towards the end of her set, Fatou took off her turban and started dancing, flinging her head backwards and forwards, sending her beaded hair flying. One of her new songs, ‘Tounkan’, was a celebration of African women and African dance. Fatou neatly demonstrated the rhythmic and dance links between her native Wassoulou region and other styles in Ethiopia, Morocco, Congo, South Africa and more. “We are from the same African roots”, she said. The only disappointment was a muddy sound on the electric guitars, which would have been gorgeous if the musical lines had rung out clearly.

“We all come from Africa,” said Angelique Kidjo, in what made a natural progression from Fatou. Angelique, from Benin via New York, just exudes stage presence – she’s tough and pugnacious after Fatou’s stately elegance, punching above her weight. She entered singing solo, followed gradually by her band on piano, percussion, bass and guitar.  The topics of her songs include freedom, education and the horrendous custom of female genital mutilation. She paid tribute to her father who encouraged his daughters to do what they wanted to do and paid tribute to Miriam Makeba, a role model for Angelique, who used music to further a cause.

Kidjo took a circuit through the audience and then invited them on stage – much to the disquiet of the security guys – for some joyous final numbers, including her signature song ‘Agolo’ (which features on our Songlines Music Awards CD). Fatou returned in casual civvy clothes and many other girls from the crowd did spectacular dancing to Mamadou Sarr at the front of the stage on djembe. It really was a night to remember.


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Meklit Hadero to perform at the Southbank Centre, March 8

Posted on March 3rd, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Ethiopian-born singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero plays three special shows next week

Co-founder of The Nile Project and a prominent figure in the UN Women’s campaign for gender equality in Africa, Meklit Hadero was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US, where her musical talent has been nurtured for the last few years in San Francisco. As a deeply committed social and cultural activist, she has created a collective of young artists of the Ethiopian diaspora.

Meklit will be performing at for free at London’s Southbank Centre on Friday, March 8 at 5.30pm as part of the WOW (Women of the World) Festival. The evening will also see Fatoumata Diawara and Angeliqué Kidjo take to the Royal Festival Hall stage.

During the performance, Hadero will be drawing together the Amharic melodies of Ethiopia, her African hip-hop project CopperWire and her own original songs. Hadero is also appearing on Woman’s Hour this week (BBC Radio 4, Thursday March 7, 10am) and also recording a World on 3 session for future broadcast. 

In the next issue (April/May 2013, #91), we will be taking a trip down the Nile to find out more about The Nile Project and the musicians involved, including Meklit Hadero and Dina El Wedidi

Meklit Hadero’s London dates:

Thursday, March 7     The Vortex, Dalston
Friday, March 8          Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre
Sunday, March 10      Dahlak, Stockwell

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Birds Eye View Film Festival ticket offer for Bushra el-Turk’s cross-cultural new live film score, March 7

Posted on February 28th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Exclusive ticket offer for Southbank Centre show

We are excited to offer you the chance to buy £10 tickets to see Lotte Reiniger’s feature-length animation The Adventures of Prince Achmed with an accompanying live score composed by multi-award-winning British-Lebanese composer, Bushra el-Turk.

Part of the Birds Eye View film festival and WOW (Women of the World) festival at London’s Southbank Centre, this will be the world premiere performance of the el-Turk’s accompaniment for Lotte Reiniger’s ground-breaking film, which is widely considered to be the world’s first feature-length animation.

Performed by a chamber ensemble combining classical Western and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, this is a unique celebration of multicultural musical styles.

To buy tickets at a discounted price use offer code ‘BIRDS’ click here

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