@OpenTheGate..Meet The Organiser!

Inter­view With Eric aka Fenomeno Show from ‘Open The Gate’ 

Q. Tell us a bit about Open The Gate, and the object­ives of the organ­isa­tion?

Open The Gate is a cul­tur­al organ­iz­a­tion whose object­ive is to pro­mote a pos­it­ive and con­tem­por­ary image of Afric­an & Dia­spora arts, crafts, music, design and cul­ture ; offer­ing access­ible cul­tur­al pro­grams across the com­munit­ies.
Open The Gate is a hub and plat­form for artists, musi­cians and cre­at­ive minds and also acts as a book­ing agency.
We host reg­u­lar events in London’s ven­ues, cinemas and squares but also get our bands and our The Afric­an Mar­ket hired for fest­ivals and oth­er events across Europe.

Q. On East­er Sunday you have 2 events lined up at the Rich Mix, an Afric­an Mar­ket and a char­ity gig for Gam­bia. Tell us a bit about them, and why people should come down and check it out?

Yes, usu­ally at Rich­Mix cinema we have the oppor­tun­ity to use their con­cert hall for 13 hours, from 12 mid­day to 1am so we repro­duce the clas­sic Open the Gate atmo­sphere by bring­ing togeth­er all its ele­ments: for the first part of the day 12 to 7pm The Afric­an Mar­ket dis­plays many hi-qual­ity stalls selec­ted between the best Afric­an design­ers in Lon­don, offers free drum­ming circle for chil­dren to be enter­tained as well as story telling per­form­ances and face-paint­ing!
Really and truly a per­fect day for the fam­ily, The Afric­an Mar­ket is one of the most pop­u­lar  free entry events in Lon­don!
For the second part of the event, the tick­eted one, we usu­ally offer a Live World Music con­cert , this time it will be also the offi­cial Lon­don launch of the Pen & Paper Cam­paign in The Gam­bia, that’s why per­form­ing on stage will be Jally Kebba Susso & Mand­ing Sabu which for the occa­sion is show­cas­ing new tracks and new band mem­bers for the first time! Also the DJs will be Gam­bi­ans.
Typ­ic­al West-Afric­an food will be served through all the day & night event.

Q. Whilst you plan many Afric­an cul­tur­al events here in the U.K, you are now set­ting up pro­jects in Africa. What is it that you are work­ing on out there?

Per­son­ally I find that the Afric­an Cul­tur­al events here in the UK are just the win­dow for pro­jects in Africa, that’s what I stud­ied for, Coöper­a­tion & Devel­op­ment Pro­ject Man­age­ment.
In many cases for Open the Gate the party can be an excuse to make people aware of some prob­lem or of a par­tic­u­lar crisis in some place of the world. Music is always been the bridge for the masses to reach a cer­tain level of con­scious­ness, unfor­tu­nately recently is being used mostly in the oppos­ite dir­ec­tion, and this should be our battle, where “us” means all the artists, sing­ers, pro­du­cers and espe­cially events pro­moters!

Q. What is the Paper And Pen cam­paign about?

The Pen & Paper Cam­paign is a very simple struc­ture that helps to solve more than one prob­lem at once:
It is a tool that allows tour­ists to devolve their dona­tions, sta­tion­ery and didact­ic mater­i­al in gen­er­al, in col­lec­tion points in sev­er­al hotels and res­taur­ant. Besides the aim of help­ing  the edu­ca­tion sys­tem by provid­ing the learn­ing mater­i­al to the pupils the Cam­paign also edu­cates the tour­ist on what they donate and how, mak­ing sure that the impact of tour­ism in devel­op­ing coun­tries is fair and not feed­ing men­tal depend­ence with­in the loc­al com­munit­ies.
All the dona­tions col­lec­ted by our team of Open the Gate Gam­bia are then dis­trib­uted dur­ing Dona­tion Cere­mon­ies by the hand of the loc­al teach­ers, between speeches by loc­al author­it­ies and tra­di­tion­al music per­form­ances.
The pro­ject is very func­tion­al and it’s applic­able in every devel­op­ing coun­try with a min­im­um of tour­ism.
The Gam­bi­an author­it­ies have much appre­ci­ated the idea and the aims of the pro­ject so we hope that soon the struc­ture will be self-suf­fi­cient as it was built to be, allow­ing us to bring the pro­ject in oth­er coun­tries with the same issues.


Q. Tell us about the immig­ra­tion advice clin­ics you run?

As a cul­tur­al organ­iz­a­tion we try to cov­er as many fields as pos­sible and we have wel­comed the idea of offer­ing also this ser­vice to the com­munity we live and work with, know­ing that many of our friends need assist­ance to apply or renew or change denom­in­a­tion of their or their famil­i­ars Visas.
We are gen­er­ally open to increase the num­ber of ser­vices that our organ­iz­a­tion can offer as long as they are per­tin­ent with the concept of Open the Gate itself. 

Q. What oth­er future pro­jects do you have planned?

Open the Gate is grow­ing fast , and looks like there will be more Open the Gate organ­iz­a­tions in oth­er European coun­tries, but I can­not tell you more about it right now, surely when it will hap­pen we’ll make sure that every­one we’ll hear about it!
We have a won­der­ful web­site www.openthegate.org.uk ‚made by my very tal­en­ted part­ner Sandrine Her­bert Razafin­jato  also cur­at­or of The Afric­an Mar­ket and moth­er of our Fash­ion label Open the Gate Hand­made; there you can find all the info regard­ing past , present and future events and pro­ject .
On the right column of the web­site is pos­sible to sub­scribe to our news­let­ter to keep yourselves updated. At last I would like to thank “I am Hip-Hop” magazine for this oppor­tun­ity to talk about our work and to reach such an inter­est­ing audi­ence!

Vis­it the Face­book Event page for more inform­a­tion on the The Afric­an Mar­ket + Char­ity Gig for the Gam­bia and Pen & Paper Cam­paign launch.



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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.

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