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Brighton Festival 2022: The Riwaq & Our Place.

Music recordings, video and photographs from all our events with Brighton Festival 2022.

It's been a magical experience to have been included as a Programming Partner in the 2022 Brighton Festival.

Held during the month of May the festival is a major cultural event, highly regarded both locally and internationally. It's a much valued recognition of the many talented people we work with to be included. This years themes of Rediscover, Reimagine and Rebuild and of course the diverse line up of arts is something that strikes a chord with our work.

Huge thanks to everyone at Brighton Festival, the musicians & artists, and everyone who has helped, came and supported.

Scroll down for music recordings, galleries & artist details.

This page will be updated with photos, video and music recordings from all our events ASAP.

The Riwaq, Saturday 7th May:

Cohesion Plus Presents 4x4 Kings of Bhangra, & Jamal & Alaa.

Cohesion Plus Presents 4x4 Kings of Bhangra:

Cohesion Plus was established in 2008, and has a long and successful track record of producing outdoor festivals and culturally diverse performances. It aims to promote positive community relations and mutual understanding between the different communities, through the arts, public education and sport.

The dance element is led by Four by Four Bhangra, one of the leading Bhangra Dance Troupes in the UK; whilst percussion is led by Bill Singh, one of the most celebrated Dhol players outside India.

Jamal and Alaa are popular local Syrian musicians, more info can be found here

The Riwaq, Sunday, 8th May:

Bashir Al Gamar, Ilesh Patel & Jayesh Vaduhul,

Sklamberg & The Shepherds with

The Brighton & Hove, and London Russian Choirs & The Brighton & Hove Yiddish Choir.

Polina Shepherd was born in Siberia and grew up in a home where songs were regularly sung at a family table. Now an internationally renowned singer, she brings the songs of the Steppes and the Shtetl up to date with passion and haunting soul. Her singing, though based on traditional forms, cuts a sound deeply rooted in east European Jewish and Russian folk. Growing up in Tatarstan also placed her close to Islamic ornamentation and timbre, which can be heard in her unique vocal style and four-octave range.

Lorin Sklamberg, made a special guest appearance with Polina and her choirs. Lorin sings and plays accordion with New York Klezmer group The Klezmatics . He also collaborates with Polina and Merlin on a regular basis, including the recent 150 Voices project.

“The Brighton & Hove Russian choir is not affiliated with any political, ideological or religious body. Our choirs promote culture, music, peace, unity and build bridges through singing."

The choirs recently organised a “Choirs for Peace’ concert, which raised money for the Red Cross Ukraine appeal.

Yiddish, the 1000-year-old language of the Jews of Eastern Europe, is flourishing, as people young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, explore its rich cultural heritage. Yiddish songs are hugely varied. Some are spiritual and liturgical, rooted in cantorial and Hassidic music, particularly the nign – a spiritual melody that Hassidim believe changes consciousness. Others come from the Yiddish theatre and cinema or describe the diverse lives of Jewish people across Eastern and Central Europe and all the countries they have emigrated to – their history, hopes, memories, politics, celebrations and resistance to oppression. The Brighton & Hove Yiddish Choir Chutzpah explores all these traditions and builds on them, adding four-part arrangements of folk songs, contemporary compositions and some improvisation, while respecting and learning about the history, style and cultural contexts in which the music originated and developed.

Bashir Al Gamar was born in Sudan, he came to England in 1993, after being imprisoned for his poem 'Patience on a beach' Since then he has lived in Brighton.

He is a poet, songwriter and composer, since 1991 he has written and composed more than 40 poems and songs, mainly in Arabic. Most of them are well known in his home country, Sudan. Some of his songs have been recorded by Sudanese National TV and radio. At present he is working on a new collection of poetry called 'Rhythm and Resonance' He is also planning to perform his poetry in several countries with a Sudanese singer. Bashir has taken part in several art exhibitions and poetry readings in the UK, in Cardiff, London, Liverpool and Bristol. He is a well known proponent of the Oud. His poetry and music mainly deal with his homeland, exile, human suffering and love. He writes in either classical Arabic, or in Sudanese local dialect. The words contain many emotions, images and metaphors and are written in a musical rhythmic language.

Ilesh Patel and Jayesh Vaduhul

Ilesh Patel learnt Sitar initially from Sri Sachinda Dasgupta. At present, he is learning from Pandit Arvid Parikh (India) and Ustad Mehboob Nadim (UK)

He has is a popular performer at cultural events, and weddings and was a regular on the main stage at Crawley International Mela Festival.

Jayesh Vaduhul is well known UK based Tabla player and plays with Ilesh at many events.

The Riwaq, Friday 13th May:

Kourosh Kouchakpour & Jamal Alsakka.

Kourosh and Jamal played an improvised set, based on folk melodies from Persia. Before they played, there was a storytelling session by Zahra Afsah.

Kourosh kouchakpour is a Kurdish musician from Iran, he plays Tar (A Persian stringed instrument ‘Tar’ means ‘String’ in Persian). Here he plays a compilation of Kurdish and Iranian folk songs as well as a piece from the Lorestan region of Iran.

Many of the songs have not been written down, but are passed through generations by memory. They are well known to people from the region and the diaspora. The music is performed in different keys, depending on the mood and subject matter of the songs.

Kourosh also plays percussion instruments and performs with several musicians at concerts. He works with community projects to promote integration and greater cultural understanding.

The Riwaq, Friday 20th May:

Eugenia Georgieva & Zivorad Nicolic and Balamuc.

Eugenia Georgieva is internationally known for her work with Bulgarian a cappella group Perunika Trio, vocal fusion outfit YANTRA, exploring the intersecting points of Bulgarian, Indian and Renaissance English sacred and secular tradition, and her own five-piece band of virtuosos Eugenia Georgieva & Band. She has recorded albums for Sony Music Japan and Riverboat Records, amongst others. Her work for theatre notably includes Euripides’ Bakkhai at The Almeida with an original score by Orlando Gough, Opera for the Unknown Woman with Fuel Theatre and Remnants with Opera Erratica. Since 2013 she has been leading Veda Slovena Bulgarian Choir, a small amateur group of singers from all over the world, performing authentic and arranged Bulgarian folk song.

Zivorad Nicolic studied accordion in Kragujevac, Serbia before coming to London and graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2009. As well as being a Solo artist Zivorad is a member of Fugata Quintet, Accordduo, Paprika and She'koyokh Klezmer and Balkan ensemble. Being from Serbia, the Balkan traditional music has always been present in his life: ‘In Serbia if you play an accordion and you can’t play a traditional piece of music people don’t take you seriously.’

Balamuc are a unique collective of experienced musicians, with 7 members from countries in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific.

Their music originates from Eastern Europe but stretches way beyond the usual confines of their genre. They aren’t afraid to step into new territory (from Romania to Hungary via Transylvania!).

Although renowned for their fierce violin and heartfelt melodies, Balamuc are best known as their life affirming, uplifting party spirit and boundless energy. The 7-piece band features Agnes Branner on violin and vocals, Marie Faucher on clarinet, Alison Geasure on cello, Jon Clayton on double bass, Luke Tremlett on guitar, Semra Bulut on darbuka and Seppi on drums. Balamuc has established itself as one of the leading Gypsy folk bands on the live scene today.

With the name translating to "House of insane’ don’t expect to stay in your seat!

Designed by Marwa Al-Sabouni & Ghassan Jansiz.

"Riwaq is the Arabic word for colonnade. Architecturally, the Riwaq is a semi-open space, which juxtaposes the building and frames the surrounding open space. It offers a transitional phase between enclosed spaces and open spaces, becoming a threshold for exchange. That’s why it is often figuratively used in Arabic traditions as a referential space for culture and knowledge: the Riwaq of poetry, the Riwaq of culture, and so on.

In Brighton Festival, the Riwaq is going to represent this transitional space of exchange. It will not only embrace the wonderful performances and events which will take place on its stage, it will also host a wide array of great and exciting activities under its sinuous roof. The Riwaq will be buzzing, filled with people visiting, contributing and transforming it into a beautiful meeting spot on the charming seafront of Hove."

It's been an absolute pleasure to have been involved in Brighton Festival on their Riwaq stage. All the festival team have been great to work with, the artists we work with have done some fantastic performances and throughout the festival, audiences have supported enthusiastically. The space itself has developed a warm sense of community, with people coming together to share and enjoy the range of arts being showcased on the site. We've made some new friends, its everything a public space should be! We hope you enjoy these photos, video clips and music recordings and that they serve as a memory for the many people who came together to enjoy the space.

Our Place Super Saturday.

"Our Place is a free celebration of creativity, working in partnership with community steering groups to select, programme and produce art projects, performances and events for their communities, taking place in their neighbourhoods.
As part of the celebrations, Our Place will be hosting: an exciting programme of outdoor performances from Without Walls at Hangleton Park on the weekend of Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May; a series of Super Saturday events at local libraries in partnership with Brighton and Hove Libraries and Best Foot Music and across the month of May the communities will be creating public artworks through the artist in residence programme."

In addition to Jamal and Alaa's music and Manal's food, Super Saturday events also included Persian tile making workshops with Monir Amiri.

"Our Place, Super Saturday" at Whitehawk Library, Saturday 21st May:

Jamal & Alaa, plus food from Manal.

"Our Place, Super Saturday" at Hangleton Library, Saturday 28th May:

Jamal & Alaa, plus food from Manal.

Further Related Links.