Refugees party in Manchester

WITH summer on its way carnival season has hit the North West in the form of Manchester’s Exodus Festival.

A unique celebration of refugee arts and culture the festival, which takes place on 18 July 2010 outside Manchester Town Hall, is a vibrant mix of contemporary and traditional music, dance and culture from around the world and exciting cross-cultural collaborations.

Now in its ninth year, Exodus was set up to promote creative activity and social engagement for refugees and asylum seekers and local communities.

“Exodus is about challenging negative representations, supporting the arts and culture of people in exile and promoting cultural cohesion through cultural exchange, and most important creating a voice for refugees and asylum seekers in Greater Manchester,” Exodus coordinator Katherine Rogers told Manchester Mouth.

To read the rest of this story visit the  Culture section of Manchester Mouth’s main website.

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Folk the war

A LEGENDARY folk singer will be headlining a Stop the War benefit concert on Friday 21 May 2010.

Roy Bailey, who was described as “one of the great folk singers of the world” by Bill Hauritz director of the Austraila’s Woodford Folk Festival, will be playing at The Chorlton Irish Club in Manchester to raise awareness about the Stop the War Coalition.

A number of other artists will also be performing alongside Bailey, who returned his MBE for Services to Folk Music in protest at the Blair government’s foreign policy in 2006.

To read the rest of this article visit the cultural section of Manchester Mouth’s main website.

World music comes to Manc

GET INVOLVED with Manchester’s very first world music festival this weekend.

The Cultural Collage World Music Festival, set up by the voluntary group behind ALL FM’s Cultural Collage radio show, are inviting local people to come and join in the last two days of the event – which ends on Sunday 16 May 2010.

Music from from Mali, Senegal, USA, Cuba, Brazil, Bulgaria, Spain, Egypt, Jamaica, Palestine, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo has already been showcased at a number of prestigious venues across the city.

To read the rest of this story visit the culture section of the main Manchester Mouth website.

Salford to enjoy Muslim music

THE UNIVERSITY of Salford is hosting Greater Manchester’s first festival for Muslim World Music Day.

The day, which takes place on Thursday 22 April 2010, is an international event focusing on music that is usually excluded from Western perspectives. The free Salford event will explore the value of diversity through Muslim music and dance.

To read the rest of this story visit the Culture section on our brand new website.

Classical music gig builds bridges

UNITY: Windows For Peace UK aims to build bridges between Jewish, Palestinian and Arab communities

A CONCERT is being held in Manchester to increase understanding amongst Jewish, Palestinian and Arab young people.

‘The Concert of Musical Dialogue’, which is being organised by Windows for Peace UK, a charity that works to build bridges between these communities, is taking place at Withington Girls’ School on Sunday 18 April 2010.

Internationally famous violinist Ruth Waterman and established pianist Florian Uhlig will be exploring and performing the Mendelssohn Sonata as part of the concert, which is the forth of its kind to take place at the girls’ school.

“We are very fortunate to have such renowned artists giving their time and talent in aid of the charity,” Ken Singer, trustee for Windows for Peace UK, told Manchester Mouth.

“Previous events have been concerts of Klezma and Arabic music and a Jazz concert. The school has a wonderful auditorium in their Arts Centre and it has been extremely supportive of Windows for Peace.”

The Concert of Musical Dialogue will be divided into two parts which examine how the music mirrors the messages of the charity.

Singer added: “Mendelssohn’s radiant sonata, illustrating how the violin and the piano speak to each other, not always harmoniously, the dialogue passing through playfulness, challenge, conflict and unanimity. The piece and the way it is presented mirrors so much of what dialogue is all about. The first half of the evening is taken up by an exploration of the piece and in the second half it will be played right through.”

Tickets for the concert, which is part of a series of fund raising events Windows for Peace UK has organised up and down the country, cost £12.50 and £7 for students and benefit claimants.

It begins at 6.30pm at the school, which is situated on 100 Wellington Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6BL, and all the proceeds will help Windows for Peace UK to build bridges between communities.

You can book tickets by emailing tickets@windowsforpeaceuk.org or by using the On-Line Ticket Order Form.

To find out more about Windows for Peace UK visit their website.

Chinese Arts Centre curates London exhibit

ART: Birth and Belonging explores Chinese identity

MANCHESTER’S Chinese Arts Centre has curated a London exhibition which explores Chinese identity.

‘China: Birth and Belonging’ kicks off on Friday 26 February 2010 with a special performance and display of newly commissioned interventions at Wellcome Collection as part of larger exhibition ‘Identity: Eight rooms, nine lives’.

Chinese Arts Centre (CAC) CEO Sally Lai said: “Working with Wellcome Collection, Chinese Arts Centre is presenting an evening of intriguing performances that explore the complexity of identity.

“Reflecting a current trend in Chinese contemporary art of art as an event, the three performances offer unique perspectives that are at once playful, mesmerising and challenging.”

Accompanied on Saturday 27 February with talks by an international panel of speakers, Birth and Belonging will explore the complex nature of Chinese identity.

Questioning hot topics like the one child policy’s influence on family attitudes,  stem cell research and conflict in 20th- and 21st-century, the exhibition also brings together experts from the worlds of performance, humanities and science to provide exciting new insights into human identity.

Ken Arnold, Wellcome Trust’s head of public programmes, said: “As part of our ‘Identity’ season, we wanted to explore a completely different national identity. Is there an essence of Chinese identity? Is the nature of the individual within it distinctively different? Does ‘Chineseness’ remain unchanged when exported to ‘Chinatowns’ around the world? This symposium aims to go beyond common assumptions to delve into these fascinating questions.”

With a population of over 1.3billion, China is the most populous country in the world and therefore ideas of family and the individual differ dramatically.

According to various ancient philosophies, a person’s essence is founded in their interaction with the world. Life does therefore not begin at conception, but at birth. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the idea that the body is influenced by inheritance, the environment and Qi (breath of life).

CAC’s curation asks how these ideas influence an individual’s sense of identity and belonging? And how does examining another nation’s perspectives on identity affect they way we view our own?

The contributing artists include Brendan Fan and his practice of discreet gestures, actions and interventions, Yuen Fong Ling and her workshop that reconfigures the traditional notion of life drawing, and composer Seaming To, who will be accompanied by a variety of Chinese musicians.

As well as this Prof Therese Hesketh, of University College London, will be examining the impacts of the one child policy, while Vivienne Lo looks at food’s effect on identity and Prof Rana Mitter, of University of Oxford, explores how war has altered Chinese ideas of identity.

Diana Yeh, Visiting Lecturer, University of East London, will also be revealing rarely told stories of artists and writers of Chinese descent in Britain and Prof Jack Price, of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, will be looking at how China’s world leading stem research effects the country’s culture.

Zion centre hosts open day

By Will Astbury

MANCHESTER’S Zion Arts Centre is hosting a free community open day on Sunday 7 February 2010.

Staff and participants from the centre are putting on a range of free taster workshops including MCing, street dance and music classes.

There will be free refreshments to be had and drama, dance, comedy, music and arts acts to enjoy.

A statement from Zion said: “Come get to know us and what we do more! We want you to get involved and we want to hear your views on the centre and what you want to see done here!

“We want to meet our neighbours and members of the local community so we that we can make Hulme’s creative quarter a place for you!”

Festivities kick off at noon and finish at 4pm so get down the centre, 335 Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5ZA, early and do something productive with your Sunday afternoon.

For more details of all the activities that are going on at Zion visit www.zionarts.com.