ARTICLE: Celebrating Love & Building Bridges
February 2015, RichMix, Shoreditch
On the Eve of St Valentine's Day Celebrate Life Events hosted 'A journey through Love’ at The Rich Mix venue in Shoreditch - an evening where boundaries were dissolved for a cultural fusion of music, dance, storytelling and short films.
With such a wealth of musicians and performers from a wide range of countries, we divided the event into two halves: Middle Eastern and West African.
Greek musician Kalia is one of the leading ney players in London (the ‘ney’ is a Middle-Eastern reed flute) and she opened the evening with an exquisite solo melody which silenced the room. It was a fitting way to begin the event.
UK storyteller, Sarah Perceval was next to perform taking the audience on another romantic adventure with the Sufi story of Majnun and Layla, a well-loved tale of passion, loss and devotion.
Next came Vocal Global, comprising vocalist Noga Ritter from Israel and David X, beat boxer and multi-talented musician (France/Martinique) exploring music from their roots.
For this event they expanded their sound with guest musicians; Iraqi/Kurdish singer, Nawroz Oramari, Venezuelan percussionist, Elizabeth Nott and UK musicians, clarinet player, Susi Evans, and flautist, Rachel Hayter. This was their first performance as a group ,and the mix of styles performed by such talented musicians was astounding, lifting the night to another level with beats from Israel, Iraq, Kurdistan and back again. DJ Ossi took to the dance floor with her unique style of belly-dancing during a number of songs.
During the interval many in the audience headed over to try the delicious Palestinian food provided by Maramia Cafe. The first half of the concert had been a great success, everyone enjoying the occasion, taking the opportunity to meet, mingle and check out the information tables with leaflets about The Prem Rawat Foundation, Oasis of Peace and Amar International.
The second half of the event started with Sally Fisher, a Visual Artist and illustrator, introducing her animation 'Hey Bear'. This short humorous video had guests smiling.
Having heard this unique and moving perspective, the MC welcomed back Vocal Global for their second set, this time with the renowned Rwandan musician and supporter of peace and forgiveness Jean Paul Samputu, who added some African rhythms and style.
It was then time for the final act and we were fortunate to have a top London African band to finish the show. Afla Sackey, master Ghanaian percussionist and leader of Afrikbawantu, an 8 piece band. It didn't take long before everyone was up on their feet dancing the night away, to the blend of traditional Ghanaian music and Afro-beat grooves, irresistible bass lines and an animated horn section, a fitting finale to a another wonderful Celebrate Life Event.
Foundations and Charities represented:
Thanks to Carolyne Locher for the photos.