February 2–17 2023
Rich Mix, 35–47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA
Certain Blacks, the East London arts development organisation returns for their 9th festival this February, having been awarded Arts Council England National Portfolio funding specifically to support diverse artists and programmes.
Certain Blacks presents Heroes, a festival set to inspire and entertain audiences beginning with a celebration of international female musicians Maria Uzor, Helen Adove Hawk, Daphna Sadeh & Eastern Strings. As well, Heroes boasts an exclusive event from legendry grime innovators Ruff Sqwad plus an evening highlighting the verbal skills, frankness and humour of John-Paul Zaccarini — LGBTQ+ poet, stand-up and academic. As a finale, Heroes welcomes a rare visit from LT Beauchamp (AKA Chicago Beau), the esteemed Chicago blues innovator who played on the seminal 1970 album Certain Blacks by Art Ensemble of Chicago, from which the London organisation takes its name.
Programme of events:
Thursday 2 February
Launching Heroes is an evening of beguiling, female musicians including Helen Adove Hawk, a multifaceted vocalist, composer and loop station virtuoso. Expect a dreamy fusion of sound, dance and performance, Hawk having started her career as a dancer.
On the same night, Daphna Sadeh & Eastern Strings join forces. Sadeh is an innovative double bassist and composer whose take on classical, jazz and Middle Eastern sounds has resulted in world-wide recognition. Her performance at Heroes will be complemented by Bristol-based Eastern Strings.
The line-up is completed by the striking sounds and visuals of multifaceted artist Maria Uzor, whose new single Over This blends seductive beats with gritty, energised elements of avant pop, dub and electro. Uzor is a Norwich-based electronic artist and producer. £10/8 8pm
An evening of music from outstanding female musicians features Helen Adove Hawk
Friday 3 February
John-Paul Zaccarini — The MixRace Mix Tape — A stand-up, hip-hop, spoken word journey of passion, hope and humour taking audiences on a lush poetic journey through everyday racism, homophobia and classism. Zaccarini explores the political and emotional minefield of Intersectionality with poignancy in this highly personal and provocative performance. John-Paul Zaccarini, Ph.D. is Professor in Performing Arts at Stockholm University of the Arts, an award-winning solo theatre artist and a poet. As if this isn’t enough, he is also, a ‘Dragademic’, working class, queer hip-hop, drama clown queen of colour. Homo-funky and street spunky, serving up South London shade and immigrant working class realness, he blends the ‘brains with the b*tch’ and the spectacular with the serious. £10/8 8pm
Saturday 4 February
Ruff Sqwad presents Lights Up
Founded by Grime Legends Prince Owusu-Agyekum (aka Rapid) and Ebenezer Ayerh (aka Slix), the Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation (RSAF) was set up in 2017 to help young people reach their full potential in creative careers and life. RSAF formalises and develops the work that Prince and Ebs have been doing since 2014. Lights Up will include spoken word, rap, Grime, dance, and musical and performative surprises from Ruff Sqwad members. Confirmed performances come courtesy of exciting new names Tofi The Poet, The Hitrz, Lil Shakz, Kween Deekay, Cassie, T Roadz and BZ. £10/8 8pm — 12am
Friday 17 February
L T Beauchamp
LT ‘Chicago Beau’ Beauchamp is a musician, writer and publisher who amongst many other achievements, was a major contributor to the album Certain Blacks by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Beau was born on the southside of Chicago in 1949, into a household where the music of luminaries Dinah Washington, Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Ivory Joe Hunter, Ruth Brown etc provided a constant soundtrack.
From the age of 10 until 15, Beau studied tap dancing with the great Afro-Cuban dancer and choreographer, Jimmy Payne. He participated in many Cabaret-type shows popular during that era. A show could consist of performances by Afro-Cuban dancers, magicians, tap dancers, jazz and blues performers, and drill teams. These inspirational shows offered young people an opportunity to participate with professionals in a community setting.
For Heroes, Beau will be backed by a band of high calibre UK musicians led by bass player Miles Danso. The evening will include a blues performance from Beau, readings and a Q and A opportunity to discover more about his work with Art Ensemble of Chicago and the making of the seminal recording Certain Blacks. £10/8 7.30pm — 10pm
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