Monday, 18 June 2012

Sahara Nights review

The Roundhouse Studio-Theatre was filled to the brim last week for Sahara Nights on June 6. The multi-arts launch for the Studio-Live music empowerment project brought the house down with an array of film, photography, short story presentations and wonderful music to provide rich glimpses of the Saharawi world, culture and plight. 

Nigerian playwright and poet Inua Ellams,
Saharawi short stories readings, with Celtic violinist Lizzie Ogle and
Guinean kora player Mosi Conde © See Li

The launch was interlaced with fantastic first-class performances from a wide range of international artists...

Guinean kora player Mosi Conde
with photography by Ed Harriman © Tania Jackson

British-Congolese Binisa Bonner
from Ruby and the Vines © See Li
Venezuelan Luzmira Zerpa
from Family Atlantica © See Li

singer and guitarist
Suilma Aali and percussionist
Nico Roca © Bela Molnar

The evening culminated with a stellar performance from Aziza BrahimBorn in the refugee camps, educated in Cuba and now based in Spain, Aziza is considered the new musical voice of the Saharawis, dedicating all her songs to the struggle. Her music is inspired by her poetess grandmother Mabruk, the only Saharawi female poet who has dedicated all her poetry to documenting the 16 years of war and to whom Aziza has dedicated her new album (released June 11).

Aziza with Spanish guitarist
Gonzalo Ordás © Bela Molnar

Aziza and Gonazalo © See Li
Aziza Brahim © Julia Ridlington

Sahara Nights was capped with the mother of all jam sessions. Virtually all the musicians of the evening joined along with a few new guests from Algeria to rocket the night into another music stratosphere that got the room dancing with abandon.

Final jam session © Julia Ridlington

What people have said:

It was a rich and diverse gathering with original and soulful music and poetry (hearing Aziza live and discovering her grandmother was incredibly emotional). Your passion and dedication for the Saharawi cause and its people was truly palpable. Meriem Aissaoui

Aziza and the Sahara Nights crowd © See Li
A fantastic evening and very informative in a sensitive way. Thomas Elliot

What an amazing evening. Congratulations on such a success, and thanks so much for letting me show part of our film. You know how important your support was to us when we started filming so I'm forever indebted to you. Saeed Taji Farouky

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