Arts & Crafts Collective 2013 private view, We Are Norwich Fundraiser, Grapes Hill Community Gardens party, HOZA African Day at NAC, 26 May 2013 review, with Miserable Man, Sefo Kanuteh, etc.
I am so glad I found the time and energy to set up my wall space at St Margaret’s Church of Art for the Arts & Crafts Collective 2013 exhibition, which is open daily and runs until June 8. Having had a wall at the Art of Norwich 28 it seemed easier to set up my new space and pieces at the end of the Saturday, and bearing in mind the late night that was Bo Nanafana, this seems to have been a wise move!
Heading into Norwich on Bank Holiday Sunday lunchtime I was catching some of the Festival mood and extremely welcome warm sunshine. Unfortunately I missed most of the acts at the NAC HOZA day of African stalls, music, and food, but was able to get something to eat from the barbecue and also catch, once again, Sefo Kanuteh in the Arts Centre Bar.
Following his set I popped my head around the door of St Margaret’s where terrific work and preparation was going on for the private view at 5.30pm. The silver bunting was a wonderfully inviting touch. From here I planned to reach The Blueberry for the We Are Norwich coalition fundraiser. This is a collection of groups who formed in Norwich last November, to oppose the marching EDL and show that their views are not representative and not welcome in our fine city. Generally fighting fascism and racism the We Are Norwich movement has decided to continue working together and this was the first fundraising gig, with a full line up of bands playing throughout the day. There was also a raffle, with some fascinating Greek antifa artifacts, posters, badges, etc.
As I had the private view to attend I was only able to stay for a couple of hours or so, but caught some great dj sets, some speakers, and three or four acts. It was most unfortunate that I could not hear Hugh (Vagaband) or Girl in a Thunderbolt play, as these are the two acts I most wanted to hear, but it is impossible to be everywhere. There was a great and inclusive, supportive and appreciative mood around though, and I think the event was a great success, with hopefully another to follow up this one. It was very well attended too, and considering the vast number of events going on it shows what support there is. As well as the events I was attending there was also a Blues Festival at the Rumsey Wells, a massive Norwich Rocks at Gibraltar Gardens, City of Ale, an all dayer at Geldeston Locks and innumerable pub gigs around the city.
The third act on stage was Jonathan Marriott, in PiL t-shirt, who played passionate protest songs and even some punk classics in slowed down style, including the Pistol’s Submission. Unfortunately I had to leave towards the end of his set, but managed to have chats with many present, including Hugh and the organisers, and Ann who is a talented photojournalism photographer of Look, See, Click.
From here it was back to St Margaret’s for the private view. As I arrived I could hardly believe my eyes. The front garden was packed, and the church even more so, with probably a couple of hundred people in attendance. The view was open until 9.30pm so over the course of the hours I think there were a lot of people who passed through. I was pleased to see so many friends and acquaintances around and had lovely, lovely conversations and met some wonderful people. Massive thanks must go to Gerlinda, who is organising, and everyone who helped and worked so hard.
It was also a pleasure to see and hear Sefo again, a man with a smile as big and warm as his heart, who enchanted all with his kora playing, within moments of starting to play a huge crowd had gathered around to listen. The launch seems to have been a great success, and as it wound down, some good friends suggested we move on to the party at Grapes Hill Community Gardens, so after buying some wine at the off-license we made our way there. To my embarrassment I have never been to these gardens before but it is a lovely area and the atmosphere was really something special. Miserable Man was wowing a dancing audience with his popsteady reggae, and even was kind enough to perform my request (One Cup of Coffee, very early Bob Marley) in a great set. I have written more on Miserable Man here.
This was a lovely way to round off the weekend, which was tiring but hugely enjoyable, and so good to meet so many good people. The night tailed off with songs and talk around a patio wood-burner. Beautiful.
words and photos by richard shashamane (c) 2013
Miserable Man has made a beautiful album, with proceeds going to save the turtles at the Bolong’s Turtle Sanctuary
Download the album here: http://miserablemanmusic.bandcamp.com/
and read about his travels here: http://miserablemanmusic.wordpress.com/
and about the sea turtles here: http://gilimenoturtles.com/