Refugee Week UK closes with a flourish

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REFUGEE WEEK, the annual week-long, UK-wide programme of arts and cultural activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees came to a close with a bang at the Rich Mix Club in Shoreditch last week.

Having opened to a scaled-down and subdued Celebrating Sanctuary festival at the London’s Southbank, it was up to African musicians Diabel Cissokho and the band Harare, to sprinkle some fairy dust at the finish line.

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The gig at the intimate Rich Mix was impeccably organised by Focus Promotions, a rising group of dynamic London-based music promoters that brings together international musicians to create a series of culturally enriching events.

The show opened up with afro-obsessed DJ, AJ Holmes of The Hackney Empire banging some yesteryear Congolese Soukous hits and spinning some essential selection of Afrobeats vibes.

The band Harare, found and led by Kudaushe Matimba – a former member of the legendary Bhundu Boys, then raised the curtains for the live acts to the very appreciative crowd. A marimba virtuoso, the South London-based Matimba showcased new tracks from the group’s four-track EP, Tanaka.

Senegalese multi-instrumentalist, Diabel Cissokho who is a part of the great line of Cissokho griots was up next, belting tunes off the kora, acoustic guitar and djembes. Cissokho, whose fanbase is fast-growing in the UK, in the past, enjoyed a long stint as Baaba Maal’s kora player, as well as performing with acclaimed musicians such as Kandia Kouyate, Nuru Kane, Daby Balde and Abdou Diop.

Words by@makiwahenry

Photography by : Ryan Sherperd

Video by : British Red Cross