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New Ipswich summer festival BetweenSpaces forges community links after lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:30 30 June 2020

Helen McDonald who is taking part in the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer   Photo: Arts La'Olam

Helen McDonald who is taking part in the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer Photo: Arts La'Olam

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Ipswich is hosting a new summer festival – BetweenSpaces – which looks to forge stronger community links and tackle problems with isolation which grew during lockdown

Anna Mudeka, part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer   Photo: Richard ShashamaneAnna Mudeka, part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer Photo: Richard Shashamane

The summer is festival season and 2020 is proving something of a challenge to event organisers but digital technology allows people to get creative and prove that ‘The Show Will Go On.”

Daisy Lee, one of the driving forces behind Art Eat, has curated, through her company Arts La’Olam, a new festival ‘BetweenSpaces’ a virtual cultural programme helping people hit hard by lockdown.

Arts La’Olam, based in Ipswich, has brought together a new programme of events, commissions and participatory online workshops that bring families and people of all ages together in a spirit of creative celebration, addressing social isolation and creating legacy artworks that commemorate these curious times.

Eight dedicated projects with artists, working in innovative ways, will bring the life-enhancing energy of the arts into our homes. Daisy said: “BetweenSpaces seeks to close the gaps we may be feeling acutely right now or just honour the simplicity and peace of our reduced surroundings.

Mariachi Las Adelitas, part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer   Photo:Betty Zapata PortraitsMariachi Las Adelitas, part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer Photo:Betty Zapata Portraits

“Thanks to a generous grant from Arts Council England (ACE), the Arts La’Olam mission to bring global arts and music to communities will reposition itself to the digital environment. The programme will now reach people nationally.

The BetweenSpaces programme:

Hannah Aria’s Everyday Household Art Workshops

Samira Elhenawy - The Mind Festival - part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer   Photo: Arts La'OlamSamira Elhenawy - The Mind Festival - part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer Photo: Arts La'Olam

Ipswich resident, Hannah Aria is a neuro-divergent artist dedicated to encouraging those living with disabilities to tap into their unique creative superpowers.

Artist-in-residence at Quay Place, Ipswich, where she delivers wellbeing art classes for Suffolk Mind, Hannah has devised a series of 30 minute interactive online workshops to be delivered on Friday afternoons at 1.30pm to support mental health service users and those struggling with lockdown.

Workshops are designed to be fun and inclusive, inspiring people to make art using simple objects around the home. Ultimately, the ambition is to display the artworks in an exhibition at Quay Place, Ipswich in March 2021, where participants stories and lived experiences of lockdown can unfold. No artistic talent or experience is required, this is great chance to have fun, create and connect.

The workshops run until September. You can access them here

Tim Germain of Bench Project, part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer   Photo: Paul DeboisTim Germain of Bench Project, part of the BetweenSpaces festival in Ipswich this summer Photo: Paul Debois

The Mind Festival

The first ever Mind Festival is an online event with a formidable line-up of 35 artists, DJs and therapists referencing highly personal stories of addiction, recovery and achieving mindfulness through talks, counselling sessions and the release of hip-hop, garage, funk, soul and reggae sets.

Raising funds for a number of regional mental health and substance misuse charities, the Mind Festival also celebrates the LGBTQ+ community. Suffolk Pride will give an empowering talk and invite conversation around identity, diversity, equality and social change.

Curated by DJ Samira Elhenaway and featuring sets from Jay Funk, live streams from Shutdown FM, fitness sessions with Warrior Woman, this is a festival switching up conventional perceptions of what recreational fun looks like, connecting with others, and encouraging an alcohol and drug free lifestyle.

The Mind Festival can be accessed on July 3-4 here

Tim Germain Bench Project

Co-produced with support from the Munnings Art Museum and Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ipswich designer and craftsman Tim Germain along with community arts project facilitator, Daisy Lees, will work with East Bergholt Equality and Diversity Committee and Munnings Art Museum advocates in two art consultation workshops to inspire the design of a healing bench as we recover from these unprecedented times.

Addressing themes of connectivity to others, self-expression, home and nature, 20 people drawn from local volunteer, parish, children and young people’s groups and the museum’s creative network will feed their thoughts and ideas into creating a palliative artwork.

The bench will be made from storm-felled oak from Ipswich parks, and installed in the grounds of the Munnings Art Museum by Spring 2021 to provide a place for contemplation, inspiration and wellbeing for generations to come.

Details about the workshops can be accessed here

You may also want to watch:

Helen McDonald’s Telephone Jazz Singalong

Acclaimed singer, storyteller and leading vocalist with the riotous Hi-life ensemble Yaaba Funk, Helen McDonald draws from the American Songbook to sing jazz standards and classic torch songs that inspire memories and nostalgia, which our elders can access by phone at any time.

Helen is making her number available to those at home or in care homes who yearn for a rendition of the rugged sensuality of Lady Day’s God Bless the Child or the vocal acrobatics of Ella Fitzgerald’s epic scat strewn How High the Moon, taking requests and singing along with participants.

Promoted in partnership with veteran senior citizen entertainers Duckie’s Posh Club, the Telephone Jazz Singalong offers a joyous and anxiety-releasing interlude from the daily void that social distancing can bring.

Call 01473 561027 or access via the internet until September 11, 2020. Mondays to Thursdays, 2pm-5pm.

Video link music workshops with Fiston Lusambo

Guitarist, arranger, producer and founder of Congolese dance band, Zong Zing, Fiston Lusambo is a technically gifted musician with years of experience that has seen him perform alongside Grace Jones, Sting and Mose Fan Fan.

As the parent of a grown-up son living with a learning disability, Fiston possesses a unique understanding of highly accessible teaching techniques appropriate to communicating methodologies and mastering chord progressions.

This series of workshops to be delivered online through video conferencing platform will encourage people of all ages living with disabilities to develop their musical skills and confidence both individually and with their families.

A master of Cavacha, the Central African high adrenaline dance music characterised by intricate guitar picking, driving percussion and tight three part harmonies calling out dance steps, Fiston embodies the evolving traditions of Congolese rumba alongside the likes of Kanda Bongo Man and Papa Wemba.

The workshops will run from July to October. More details are available from the website

Kaddish: Ana Silvera song commission

Arts La’Olam has also commissioned a Covid-19 legacy work inviting international singer songwriter Ana Silvera to draw from her Sephardic Jewish heritage, and as a source of inspiration meditate on the Hebrew Kaddish; creating a prayer for mourners in song for our times. The new song will be launched in October.

Ana’s sensuous and haunting vocals coupled with a unique lyrical delicacy makes her the perfect custodian of an important project that gives a voice to the bereaved and a space to grieve.

Ana’s ethereal brand of alt-folk has seen her perform at countless festivals and major venues including SXSW, the Roundhouse, Iceland Airwaves and Copenhagen Jazz Festival on the back of her two critically acclaimed albums, The Aviary and Oracles. Featuring master Kora player, and composer in his own right, Sefo Kanuteh from Gambia, thematically and collaboratively, it is a work that seeks to achieve true global resonance.

Further details will be available here from 1st October

African Choir of Norfolk: Moving online

Zimbabwe and Norfolk-based singer, songwriter, dancer, musician and artistic director, Anna Mudeka, has been commissioned by the Hostry Festival in Norwich to lead the African Choir of Norfolk. Inviting people of African heritage from across the county to lend their vocal talents, the choir will showcase the rich cultural heritage of Africa’s nations through a diverse repertoire.

The African Choir of Norfolk’s inaugural performance has been scheduled at this year’s Hostry Festival in October 2020. Not to be defeated by lockdown, Arts Council England and Arts La’Olam have enabled rehearsals to be transferred online, empowering members to unleash their full choral force in perfect harmonisation in time for the festival launch, and a follow up performance at the Norfolk Arts Awards. Join the choir here

Solidarity Music Video

Mariachi Las Adelitas are a seven-piece all-female Mariachi band from London. Named after the brave Adelitas who took up arms to support their husbands and sons during the Mexican Revolution, they were formed in 2013 in a spirit of challenging stereotypes about this traditionally male dominated genre.

The only women only Mariachi band in Europe, these gifted musicians and vocalists have performed for audiences on North American Spanish TV channels, Univision and Telemundo TV. They have also appeared alongside the Grammy award-winning Mariachi Divas at Los Angeles 2018 Women’s Mariachi Festival.

In customary style, their songs speak of love, death, revolution and family; rich in parables for our current times and being distanced from our loved ones. With the mission of continuing to play together and reach audiences, Las Adelitas will produce a music video, playing in their respective homes surrounded by children, pets and the domestic backdrop of lockdown, but of course, dressed in their Mariachi finery.

Further details will be available from September 1 here


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