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Posts Tagged ‘Africa in London

Ubuntu International Project: redefining African fashion?

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In this world, there are two kinds of people: those who see how far we’ve come and those who are fixated by how far we still have to travel.

At the Ubuntu International Project showcase at Vauxhall Fashion Scout,  I was unfortunately one of the latter. The show got off to a turbulent start, running close to an hour late and then frustrations growing as people jostled for seats. By the time the lights came down and Nelson Mandela’s voice rang out, defining the ‘ubuntu’ concept: “I am what I am because of who we all are,” my expectations were high but my patience was low.

The show got off to a good start with Clinton Lotter‘s collection of dogtooth shift dresses, fitted jackets, pencil skirts and finger gloves in black and forest greens. Fashion for sinister ladies-who-lunch. But soon I was more bemused than blown away. Jewellery by Frankli Wild was by turn both fascinating and – from the third row – somewhat reminiscent of a crafts project: all golf balls, copper wire and brightly coloured stones. By the end, I concluded that the show would have probably been be better appreciated with my eyes closed as I couldn’t fault the music but had no shortage of criticique for the designs. Read the rest of this entry »


Fixer – political theatre at Oval House

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A tale brilliantly told, Fixer is a play set in an unnamed town in northern Nigeria, situated close to an oil pipeline, which belongs to an unnamed consortium and travels up from the Delta region in the south and out of the country. In protest or simply for more self-interested reasons, a militant group called The Boys are starting fires along the pipeline and stirring Western media interest in the consortium’s activities.

Both journalists and corporate communication consultants are despatched to the area and need a fixer – someone who can broker a relationship with The Boys. They find Chuks, a man who knows everybody, apparently fears nothing and will do anything to make a buck for his family. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

July 4, 2011 at 6:09 am

Tuesday night troubadours – Wanlov at Rich Mix

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When only five of 15 musicians can play a gig because the others have had their visas declined for a festival that bills itself as helping you “discover the world and cross borders through music,” there’s a sad irony to it all. But one man’s border control is another man’s laissez passer.

On Tuesday 7 June, Ghanaian musician Wanlov the Kubolor took to the stage at the Rich Mix. Once the third act in a three band show, now headlining. The other bands – Kenya’s Winyo and Belo from Haiti, we’re told, are stuck in Italy, unable to gain access to the UK.

So it’s left to the self-professed ‘African Gypsy’ to entertain the crowd – and did he ever. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

June 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

Tuesday night troubadours

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Playing Tuesday night at London’s Rich Mix, as part of the Institut Francais’ Mosaiques Festival are Ghana’s Wanlov the Kubolor, the self-proclaimed African Gypsy (and other half of the Fokn Bois),  Kenya’s Winyo and BélO from Haiti.

Review to follow 

Sound bites:

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Written by Eliza

June 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm

sound bite: Sona Jobarteh – Jarabi

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A multi-talented musician in her own right, Sona Jobarteh is also the granddaughter of Gambian Griot and kora player Amadu Bansang Jobarte. She’s accompanied by jazz guitarist Femi Temowo and percussionist Robert Fordjour.

Written by Eliza

May 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm

M3NSA at the Shrine – A Royal Wedding party like no other

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Friday 29 April, MOBO-nominated rapper, M3NSA headlines the Afrocentric Rebel night ‘The Shrine’ at Rich Mix.

Playing to an intimate crowd (already buzzing after having watched the pidgin language musical Coz ov Moni,  featuring M3nsa himself and his FOKN Bois collaborator and friend Wanlov) the Ghanaian musician and his band The Light Offs, showcase tracks from his latest studio album, No.1 Mango Street. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

April 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Muntu Valdo – The One and The Many

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Resentment at the passing of a weekend too short-lived or exhaustion after one too well-spent make Monday night gigs a bit of a chore to attend. The sofa or one’s bed are, usually, a more tempting place to spend the evening.

As I arrive at a trendy east London venue on Monday 18 April to see London-based Cameroonian musician, Muntu Valdo, at the launch of his second album, the maxim seems to hold: there are only a handful of people puffing outside and a few more inside, drinking rather solemnly, in the way cool people do. But venturing past that lot and through a curtain, the mood is very different. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

April 22, 2011 at 9:00 am