By Hannah Pillai, ArtReach.
As part of Refugee Week 2016, ArtReach hosted a live music and spoken word event – VOICED – to showcase the talent of the East Midlands refugee community, in association with the Platforma Network. The basement of The Exchange in Leicester became a glittering lair where the audience sat back, relaxed and enjoyed a jazz lounge vibe- a welcoming environment for all.
The evening began with a poignant poem by Bobba Cass, who reiterated the line of MP Jo Cox “Far More Unites Us than Divides Us,” both setting the tone for the evening – one of hope, potential, and peace.
Marcus Joseph kicked off the musical entertainment with his unique combination of saxophone and motivating spoken word. A new name was added to the network, Ethiopia-born singer-songwriter Haiki, who captivated the audience with her blend of soul, jazz and blues Readings from the anthology ‘Over Land, Over Sea – Poems for Those Seeking Refugee’, took place from a host of guests, including the co-editors, poets and Ambrose Musiyiwa, who also joined forces with Marcus Joseph for an improvised saxophone accompaniment later in the evening.
The evening was rounded off by an impromptu poetry reading from a Syrian Refugee who had recently been granted his Leave to Remain, which left the audience with a feeling of hope in times of struggle.
Photo credits: Ambrose Musiyiwa