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Celebrating Sanctuary 2008, Sunday 15 June, South Bank

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:00 am
by Charlie
Celebrating Sanctuary 2008

Free festival celebrating the work of refugee artists and launching Refugee Week in London

Sunday, 15 June 2008, 2 - 7pm

Bernie Spain Gardens, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 (adjacent to Oxo Tower Wharf), nearest train/tube: Blackfriars, Southwark, Waterloo


Celebrating Sanctuary, part of Refugee Week (16 – 22 June) and the Coin Street Festival, is a totally unique annual event which celebrates the work of refugee artists in the UK. Refugees and immigrants have a transformative and invigorating effect wherever they arrive, making a real contribution to the cultural life of their new home countries. The festival, now in its ninth year, gathers together musicians, dancers and artists who have arrived here from all corners of the globe and gives us a snapshot of our culture evolving. It abundantly demonstrates that such a vibrant panorama of sight, sound, aroma and taste would not exist had it not been for the UK’s hard won tradition of providing sanctuary to those fleeing persecution.

This year’s highlights include Indie rockers Noisettes tearing up the main stage and Book Slam who will bring a vibrant literary strand to the festival including exclusively commissioned work by Nikita Lalwani (her debut novel The Gifted is serialized this month on BBC Radio 4) and Mir Mahfuz Ali (one of Exiled Writers Ink’s emerging writers and refugee from Bangladesh). The festival will also feature Gypsy Soul from London-based Russian-born singer/songwriter Angelina currently making waves on Atlanta’s R’n’B scene, Congolese soukous from new Londoners Kasai Masai, Sephardic Flamenco by Los Desterrados and Mukka, probably the finest UK-based exponents of Romanian music. There will also be a multitude of stalls selling mouth-watering dishes and drinks from all over the world, a dedicated dance stage, workshops and activities for children (such as UK charity Afghanaid’s workshops to make kites likes the ones seen in the popular book and film The Kite Runner), plus information stalls in the Festival marketplace.


SANCTUARY STAGE - hosted by DJ Ritu (BBC London 94.9 FM) and Jamie Renton (FRoots)

Headlining the festival’s main stage are the Noisettes, one of the most unconventional and imaginative bands in modern rock, who perfectly articulate some of the points the festival is making. Their hugely talented vocalist and bass player Shingai Shoniwa is of Zimbabwean heritage - Zimbabwe has been decimated in the past few years and many Zimbabwean have had to seek refuge abroad. An effervescent actress and ex-choirgirl from a Zimbabwean single mother and the niece of one of the Bhundu Boys, London-born Shingai sings “like Billie Holiday on PCP while patrolling the stage like an Amazonian Warrior with an eye for fashion.â€